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Opening Remarks by Ambassador Liu Jieyi, Permanent Representative of China to the United Nations, at the Celebrations Marking the World Cities Day

2014/10/31

 

Photo by Niu Xiaolei / Xinhua News Agency

Your Excellency Mr. Sam Kutesa, President of the 69th UN General Assembly,

Your Excellency Ambassador María Emma Mejía Vélez, Vice President of ECOSOC and Permanent Representative of Columbia to the UN,

Your Excellency Ambassador Sebastiano Cardi, Permanent Representative of Italy to the UN,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Today marks the first World Cities Day. The Permanent Mission of China to the United Nations is delighted to co-host, together with the Permanent Mission of Italy to the UN, UN-HABITAT and the UN Alliance of Civilizations, this celebratory event themed on “people-centered urbanization and managing social inclusion in today’s cities”. Let me thank you all for honoring this event with your presence.

As urbanization is picking up speed in many parts of the world, we must take a collective look over the horizon. What is the path to sustainable urbanization? How to achieve harmony between Man and Nature? These are but a few of the challenging questions that must be answered by all countries. At China’s initiative, the 68th UN General Assembly adopted a resolution and designated October 31st as the World Cities Day to be celebrated every year starting from 2014. Such a designation has increased international attention to the global urbanization process and promoted international cooperation on sustainable development of cities.

China’s endeavor to advance a new type of urbanization and promote the conservation culture shares the same philosophy behind the World Cities Day. Urbanization in China is now in a crucial period. Last year, China recorded 730 million people living in towns and cities, which means an urbanization rate of 53.7%, a level close to the world’s average. A new type of urbanization is the path we choose. Its blueprint is mapped out in our National New-type Urbanization Plan (2014 through 2020). Its salient features are as follows. First, it is a people-centered, inclusive urbanization that focuses on improving urban dwellers’ quality of life in all aspects. Second, it is a sustainable urbanization that focuses on improving cities’ capability to achieve sustainable development through the cultivation of a conservation culture and striving for harmony between cities’ development and Mother Nature. Last but not least, it is a highly efficient urbanization which realizes economic growth and transformation through optimized use of resources of production and promotes economic, social and environmental development and prosperity.

China’s urbanization will bring the world important opportunities. It will generate tremendous internal demands and greatly expand the market. This entails enormous trade and investment opportunities for all countries and boost economic development of the world. Urbanization in China also means wider and deeper cooperation with other countries on sustainable development of cities. We will share our experience and work with all other countries to grasp the opportunities and meet the challenges brought about by urbanization.

Enhancing international cooperation is an important way to achieve sustainable development of cities, particularly in developing countries. Common development of all benefits all. Political resolve and concrete steps to create an enabling environment for urbanization in developing countries is a good investment on our common future. Financial, technological, human resources and other help as well as market access and debt relief are essential to raising developing countries’ capability to achieve sustainable development of their cities. Let us work together.

I am delighted to see some many representatives from the government, the private sector, civil society, academia and media gather here today to celebrate the World Cities Day. I hope you will have a free and in-depth exchange of views on the trends and challenges of global urbanization, share experience and best practices, and contribute your share for sustainable development of cities around the world.

Let me conclude by wishing today’s event a success.

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