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Mother River Protection
Introduction to Mother River Protection
1. Purpose and Introduction of Mother River Protection
We face a very grim ecological environment and suffer from serious soil erosion with an infected area of 1.794 million square kilometers, accounting for 18.7 percent of the country's land area. Desertification expands at an annual speed of 2100 square kilometers. The area of desert, Gobi and desertified land in north China has exceeded 1.49 million square kilometers, accounting for 15.5% of the total land area. Ecological governance capacity lags far behind the rate of land degradation and our ecological deficit is growing gradually. Therefore, to protect and improve our ecological environment has become imminent.
Mother River Protection is a large environmental project initiated in January 1999 by All China Youth Federation (ACYF), China Youth Development Foundation (CYDF), Environmental and Resources Protection Committee of NPC, National Afforestation Commission, Population, Resources and Environment Committee of CPPCC, Ministry of Water Resources, State Forestry Administration, State Environmental Protection Administration (now The Ministry of Environmental Protection) and the Ministry of Agriculture. CYDF is in charge of managing donations and funded programs.
The purpose of this project is to promote the awareness of green civilization, raise money from the public to protect the ecological environment of Yellow River, Yangtze River and other rivers as well as sponsor the green projects in areas with harsh ecological conditions, thus promoting ecological protection and restoration in our country.
2. Funding and Eligibility criteria
CYDF and its authorized provincial branches will act as agencies of this project to raise money from home and abroad for Mother River Protection Fund.
The level of sponsorship for one mu of forest (about 0.16 acres) is 500 yuan.
For individual donors, a donation of 10 yuan is welcome to contribute one tree.
Donations will be used to help poor farmers and forest management organizations in the reaches of Yellow River and Yangtze River as well as other ecologically vulnerable areas to implement afforestation projects and integrated restoration projects, which will feature effective forest management methods. (10% of the funds will be used on the program management and general administration of CYDF).
3. Goal of the Fund-raising
The goal of raising this fund is to promote the awareness of green civilization, improve the ecological environment of the Yellow River, Yangtze River and other ecologically vulnerable areas as well as promote the ecological protection and restoration in our country.
4. Funding Process
5. Management Systems
The projects funded by Mother River Protection shall be implemented and managed in a careful and systematic way. Five basic management systems have been formulated with reference to National Ecological Environment Construction projects and the afforestation projects funded by the loans granted by World Bank:
- Project Application and Approval System. After the local governments submit project proposals, a panel of commissioned experts will conduct feasibility studies on the proposals. To ensure validity, only proposals with all the votes will be approved.
- Project Legal Person Responsibility System. Governments of county-level or above will act as legal person of the project and sign funding agreements with CYDF in order to clarify the responsibilities, rights and obligations of each party.
- Project Monitoring System. Experts will monitor the application of technology, use of fund in the project as well as the progress of the project to ensure quality, punctuality and appropriate use of funds.
- Reimbursement System. Proposed projects that have been approved by experts after their field inspection will receive 50% of the designated fund. The rest will be disbursed after the project is completed and considered qualified by the experts.
- Property Pre-confirmation System. The ownership of property shall be clarified before implementation to mobilize tree planters and protectors and protect their rights. Therefore, it shall be made clear that the right to use the forest and the ownership of the trees belong to tree planters and protectors.
6. Perks for Donors
6.1 Donors can apply for tax exemption with donation receipts. According to the document  No. 39 released by Ministry of Finance and the State Administration of Taxation, if taxpayers make donations to the cause of education through non-profit social organizations or government agencies within China, they are eligible to have the amount of donation deducted from their income before personal income tax is imposed. According to the documents  No. 160 and  No. 85 released by Ministry of Finance, State Administration of Taxation, Ministry of Civil Affairs, if enterprises make charitable donations, the amount of donation will be deducted from the income before enterprise income tax is imposed, but the deducted amount shall not exceed 12% of the enterprise’s annual profit.
6.2. Donors who donate more than 100,000 yuan will have the right to name the Mother River Protection program in certain locality and have the name tag erected near the project.
6.3. A Mother River Protection report will be presented to donors upon completion of the project. The report will contain project application, proposals, implementation report and project review report compiled by the expert panel.
6.4. CYDF will help donors establish contacts with the beneficiary regions.
In the past 15 years since its inception, Mother River Protection has drawn attention from all sectors of the community, especially the young people. Tens of millions of people across the country have participated in its promotion and the project itself. Nearly a thousand newspapers across the nation ran ads for the project for free and hundreds of magazines jointly launched a campaign called “Protecting Mother River, Build Readers’ Forest”. Nine social groups in Hong Kong initiated a campaign called “Drinking from the Same River, Building a Forest for Hong Kong Together". Our communist party and government have also attached great importance to this project. State leaders including Jiang Zemin, former leader of the CCP, Li Peng, the fourth premier of China and Zhu Rongji, the fifth premier of China, have donated money to this project. Up to now, CYDF has received about 80 million yuan of donation for this project from home and abroad. The donation will go to 82 reforestation projects in Beijing, Shandong, Shanxi, Hebei, Henan, Hubei, Hunan, Anhui and Guangdong, and all the projects will cover up a total planned area of over 1500 thousand mu (about 247,105 acres).
What we have achieved can be classified into the following categories:
7.1. Mother River Protection has shed light on new ways to raise young people’s environmental awareness. We named one day or one week out of the year “Mother River Protection day” or “Mother River Protection week”. On that special day during that week, we held a series of awareness activities such as “Mother River, We Walk with you”, “Supporting Olympics Bidding through Small Eco-friendly Acts”, “Cleaning the Water, Protecting Mother River”, “Pledging to Protect Mother River Everyday” and “Let’s Go Green Everyday”. In addition, we also promoted the idea of coexisting harmoniously with nature and the concept of ecological civilization through newspapers, television, Internet and other media to arouse young people’s sentiments for our Mother River.
7.2. Mother River Protection has built a new platform for the general public, especially the young people, to participate in the ecological environment construction. We created conditions enabling young people to take part in the cause of environmental protection in a simple and convenient way. For example, in the “500 yuan for one mu of forest” activity, people can contribute to the protection of ecological environment without leaving their home; in “Protecting Mother River through Small Acts” project, people are encouraged to pitch in through little gestures such as saving water in our daily life, planting flowers and cleaning our environment; in order to motivate enterprises, institutions and organizations to join the cause of protecting our Mother River, we granted donors the right to name the forest planted with their donation. Through this platform, more people from the society, especially young people, gained access to more ecological environment activities and were able to get more involved in this great cause. For example, from 2012 to date, CYDF and China Ping An Group have implemented "Ping An (safe and peaceful) Forest" project in 12 provinces or autonomous regions. Each project contains a planting area of 1,000 mu (about 165 acres). We successfully held launching ceremonies in the 12 provinces. A turnout of more than 2,000 people showed that these projects were well-received by the society.
7.3. Mother River Protection has built a bridge for international exchanges and cooperation in environmental protection. We promoted Sino-Japanese cooperation in environmental protection by setting up Obuchi Fund, organizing Sino-Japanese folk Water Forum and building more Sino-Japanese Youth Afforestation Demonstration Forest. We also expanded similar cooperation with other countries through building Sino-Egyptian Youth Friendship Forest, establishing Asia-Europe Cooperation Fund and implementing Lancang--Mekong Youth Friendship Boat program. Through applying for the United Nations Environment Programme’s Champions of the Earth Award and participating in the Global Youth Forum, International Forum on Sustainable Development Partnership, World Bank’s annual meeting as well as Youth and Globalization Forum, we actively promoted Mother River Protection Operation to the world. Under the framework of Mother River Protection Operation, we carried out cooperation with young people from more than 30 countries and regions, and thus has won Mother River Protection Operation more recognition around the world.