The first Small Grant Project, implemented by Xinjiang Association of Botany from Global Environment Facility (GEF) was launched on March 29, 2010. The project is, in the method of the local farmers and herdsmen participation, to protect and implement biodiversity and sustainable management of the Junggar Desert. Mr. Zhang Guoliang, the vice director of People's Congress of Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region and also the Chairman of the Xinjiang Association of Science and Technology, took part in the startup ceremony and presented a speech.
Professor Pan Borong, the director of Xinjiang Association of Botany from Xinjiang Institute of Ecology and Geography, introduced that the project will establish a common sharable database of the biodiversity for the ecological system of the Junggar Desert, carry out biodiversity assessments and gap analyses for chosen typical regions. The project chose Qitai County and Jimsar County as the demonstration areas, cooperates with the local farmers and government and determines the biodiversity as an objective of conservation. By a training of relative capacity, the project will promote a productive method of sustainable agriculture and animal husbandry, which is benefit to conservation of biodiversity and prevention of soil degradation, increasing the income of local farmers and obtaining the biodiversity conservation and sustainable management together with the community participation. The project will achieve ecological and economic benefits simultaneously through establishing shelter forest and planting medicinal plants such as Cistanche, Bulbusfritillaria, Radix glycyrrhiza, Herbalephedrae.
Relative leaders and representatives on the ceremony are from the Xinjiang Association of Science and Technology, the Xinjiang Institute of Ecology and Geography, the Xinjiang Association of Botany, the Xinjiang University, the Xinjiang Normal University, the Changji Prefecture, Jimsar County, Qitai County, the Laotai Village of Jimsar County, Xidi Village and Xibeiwan Village of Qitai County.
GEF is founded jointly by the United Nations Development Programme, the United Nations Environment Program and the World Bank in 1991. The objectives of GEF support are related to biodiversity, climate change, international water areas, land degradation, consumption of the ozone layer, and persistent organic pollutants. In 1992 GEF established Small Grant Project to support the non-governmental organizations and community organizations. In April 2002, the Chinese Ministry of Finance and Ministry of Environmental Protection established jointly the Chinese GEF Secretariat, and then joined the Small Grant Project in 2006. The application of the project was formally started in 2009. The project of Community Participation in Biodiversity Conservation and Sustainable Management of the Junggar Desert in Xinjiang applied by Xinjiang Association of Botany, together with other 21 projects, were approved as the first batch of projects.