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Desert Economics Marks a New Era of Creating Oases

Desert Economics Marks a New Era of Creating Oases

On December 5, 2017, Wang Wenbiao, Chairman of Elion Resources Group who leads the Kubuqi desertification control, was awarded the Champion of the Earth in the Lifetime Achievement category by the UNEP during the 3rd UN Environment Assembly in Nairobi, Kenya. Wang becomes the first Chinese to receive the award. When receiving the award, Wang presented his book Desert EconomicsPractices in Kubuqi (the Desert Economics), which is based on his 30-year experience and is the world’s first economic work on desert, to the Assembly and global desertification fighters.


“Green mountains with clear water are silver and gold mountains”, a prominent concept proposed by General Secretary Xi Jinping, appeared in the title of the report launched by the 2nd UN Environment Assembly, marking Chinese ecological civilization concepts are accepted by the world. Guided by General Secretary Xi’s great concept and based on 30-year experience in combating desertification in the Kubuqi Desert, the Desert Economics has finally debuted at the 3rd UN Environment Assembly.


Heine said, “Thought precedes action as lightning precedes thunder.” The debut of the Desert Economics marks desertification prevention and control enter a new era of creating oases.

Four firsts of the Economics Desert

The Desert Economics has created many firsts, during which the following four are the most prominent: firstly, it is the world’s first economic work summarizing the comprehensive development and utilization of the desertified land; secondly, it gives the first positive evaluation of the value of the desert, which is based on 30-year experience in desertification control and economic development rather than academic research and calculation; thirdly, it proves with facts for the first time that with government policy support, industrial investment and market-oriented participation of farmers and herdsmen, it is possible to not only achieve sustainable improvement of desert ecosystems but also utilize desertified land to lift people out of poverty; fourthly, after the concept of “green mountains with clear water are silver and gold mountains” was mentioned once again by General Secretary Xi Jinping in his report delivered at the 19th CPC National Congress, this is the first work that shares successful examples of Chinese ecological civilization construction and made its debut on the UN’s stage.

Desert Economics: the collected wisdom of experience     

Whether the desert is a threat to the life of humankind or a huge opportunity for development? This is not only a centuries-old question but a severe problem facing over 2 billion people who are affected by desertification. Wang Wenbiao, born in the Kubuqi Desert, gave his answer to the question in his Desert Economics which summarizes 30-year active exploration and persistent efforts: desert, having lots of economic potential, is an opportunity for development.

Guidelines for Desert Economics

Upholding the concept of “green mountains with clear water are silver and gold mountains” and sticking to the strategy of “ensuring harmony between human and nature” are ecological civilization guidelines from the report delivered by General Secretary Xi at the 19th CPC National Congress which will guide the course of Chinese desertification prevention and control.

The Desert Economics includes following five core concepts: 1. Desert can be transformed into fertile land which can produce organic food and create ecological wealth. 2. Large-scale, systematic and long-term approaches have to be adopted to control desertification to create oases, improve ecological environment and climate conditions, increase bio-diversity and realize coordinated development of ecosystems. 3. Desertification control should be economical and follow principles of nature, economy, industry and desert green economy. 4. 5. Desertification control must be backed by science and technology. It is essential to innovate techniques for germplasm, water saving, improvement of polluted soils and green agriculture. 5. Desertification control needs innovation in concepts and mechanisms, should be engaged by stakeholders such as governments, businesses and local herdsmen and farmers and adopt an ecological business model which integrates public benefits, market-oriented operation with industry-based growth.

Green dream of the Desert Economics

Wang Wenbiao, the author of the Desert Economics, is one of the main founders of the Kubuqi International Desert Forum which is the only international forum that is dedicated to desertification control. Being founded in 2007 and held every two years, the forum has been held 6 times at its permanent venue, the Seven Star Lake in Kubuqi Desert. Each time, the Kubuqi International Desert Forum attracts a large number of high-ranking government officials, experts and scholars to identify ways to combat desertification for human well-being.


In July, 2017, General Secretary Xi Jinping wrote in his congratulatory letter to the 6th Kubuqi International Desert Forum, “Desertification is a severe challenge facing the whole world and controlling desertification will benefit generations to come. China has always paid great attention to desertification control and made remarkable achievements, which contribute to constructing a more beautiful China and are Chinese experience for international community to tackle environmental issues. Kubuqi Desertification control is one of the successful stories. Since it was initiated in 2007, the Kubuqi International Desert Forum has been an important platform for countries to exchange their experience in preventing and controlling desertification and to promote implementation of the UN 2030 sustainable development goals. With the theme of “Build Green Belt and Road, Share Desert Economy Experience” and aiming to strengthen cooperation between countries and regions along the “Belt and Road” to combat desertification together, the 6th Forum is of great significance.”  


Wang Wenbiao is not only the author of the Desert Economics but the desertification fighter who has made the green dream described in the book come true. The Kubuqi Desert is the first desert in the world to achieve large-scale successful control. Elion Resources Group has grown Sabina vulgaris to demonstrate the concepts of “green Chinese dream” and “green mountains with clear water are gold and silver mountains”. During the 13th session of the conference of parties to the UNCCD, the UNEP invited delegates from 65 countries, during whom there are ministers from 8 countries, to visit Kubuqi Desert to share Kubuqi’s achievements. The delegates hoped that the Kubuqi Model could be promoted to more countries and regions affected by desertification.

China has been the first country in the world to achieve zero net land degradation. Wang Wenbiao and his team have received significant recognition at home and abroad for their 30-year dedication to desertification control which has created large amount of ecological wealth and transformed desertified land into oases. After the 19th CPC National Congress, the Desert Economics made its debut at the UN Environment Assembly to present great concepts that guide successful Chinese ecological civilization construction to the world. The Desert Economics tells the world that China’s desertification control, guided by the great concept that “green mountains with clear water are gold and silver mountains”, has identified ways to transform desertified land into oases which can create wealth. 

Wang Wenbiao told media in an exclusive interview after he was honored as the Champion of the Earth that his only life goal was to combat desertification for a greener world. He also hoped young people could strive to transform desert into habitable land rather than only focus on looking for a second home in the universe. He pointed out that the desert around us could be transformed into beautiful homeland and oases with great economic potential. The UN Environment Assembly enables Wang Wenbiao to share Chinese experience in desertification control with the rest of the world through his Desert Economics which marks desertification control enters a new era of creating oases. 

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