ESRI, the world's largest Geographic Information Systems technology provider, has donated ArcGIS software worth about CNY6.08 million to eight demonstration areas of the South China Coast Biodiversity program.

The ceremony held at the State Oceanic Administration of China was presided over by Liang Fengkui, director of the International Cooperation Division of SOA. Chen Yue, deputy director of the division said that GIS is a new area in nature reserve planning and management and the GIS software donated by ESRI will be conducive to exploring a new way to achieve sustainable oceanic development and promoting SCCBD program as well as enhancing the management capacity of the nation for ocean reserves.

In addition to donating the software, ESRI will provide one year's worth of free technical support and software maintenance as part of the donation.

SCCBD is a national project funded by the Global Environment Fund and implemented by the United Nations Development Program. The project was initiated in 1994 but it wasn't approved by GEF until 2002. Through careful inspection and strict selection, Nanji Islands in Zhejiang Province; Coral Reef National Protection Zeon in Sanya, Hainan Province; Hongshulin Protection Zone in Shankou, Guangxi; and the Dongshan-Nan'ao Biology Swimming Corridor in Dongshan that lies on the border of Fujian and Guangdong have been set aside as demonstrative areas for the program, which lasts eight years from 2005 to 2012.

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