Strengthening the effectiveness of the protected area system in Qinghai Province, China to conserve globally important biodiversity

The Challenge

From extensive alpine grasslands and wetlands to forests and deserts, Qinghai is home to a wide variety of globally significant but fragile ecosystems. Several major rivers also have their origin in the province’s highlands - rivers that cumulatively affect much of China and over a quarter of the world’s population. However the constituent flora and fauna of the province’s ecosystems are under increasing threat from a number of factors, including: a disconnect between the protected area system (planning and management) and other provincial development and sectoral planning processes; inadequate financial and human resources; weak institutional and staff capacities for conservation planning and Protected Area (PA) management; and limited participation of local communities in decision-making, environmental monitoring and sustainable land management.

The Response

The project will strengthen the provincial PA system, helping it fulfil its mandate to safeguard its globally significant biodiversity. With enhanced management effectiveness, the PA system will better protect internationally rare and endangered species including snow leopard, Tibetan antelope, wild yak, black-necked crane and other native wildlife, as well as maintain healthy grasslands and wetlands that are important both for local resource users and climate change mitigation through carbon sequestration. Central to the project are three primary approaches: (i) mainstreaming the PA system and its objectives into development and sector planning frameworks; (ii) strengthening critical institutional and human capacities; and (iii) promoting and extending models of co-management in PAs.


The global environmental benefits of the project are represented by the following indicative achievements. First, a significant reduction in the number or extent of threats to global biodiversity from incompatible development projects. Moreover, the project ensures the addition of an anticipated 250,000 ha of terrestrial landscapes under formal protection, including corridors and new PA territory. It will increase management effectiveness at the level of individual Pas, and improve overall institutional capacities. The project will also bring increased financial sustainability to the PA system.

Institutionalisation and increased support within the PA system for community-based environmental stewardship programs improve both the reach of environmental awareness campaigns and the human resources necessary to achieve widespread conservation. Developing or enhancing partnerships with local resource user communities also provides increased opportunity to learn from traditional knowledge and to integrate modern scientific approaches with local worldviews.

Through such collaborative work, and with mainstreaming and capacity building at multiple levels, the project will increase regional and global environmental security – incorporating the protection of biodiversity, sustainable use of environmental resources, community partnerships, and adaptation in the face climate change.

Who finances it?

Donor Amount
UNDP US$ 5,354,545
Government (cash) US$ 5,350,000
Government (In-kind) US$ 13,150,000

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