|Closing Remarks by Ambassador Liu Jieyi, Permanent Representative of China to the United Nations, at the Celebrations Marking the World Cities Day|
Photo by Niu Xiaolei / Xinhua News Agency
Ladies and gentlemen,
I wish to congratulate you all on your fruitful and inspiring discussion of the people-centered urbanization and ways to manage social inclusion in today’s cities. The experience, best practices and perspectives shared on sustainable development of cities have been valuable. To me, there is no better way to celebrate the first World Cities Day.
As highlighted in discussions this morning, sustainable development of cities is one of the most pressing challenges the world is facing. Cities’ development brings material, social and cultural wealth to human society. At the same time, rapid urbanization, if not well managed, may result in resources scarcity, widening gap between the rich and the poor, environmental pollution and many other problems. We must go all out to keep urbanization on the right track, maximizing the benefits and avoiding pitfalls. It is most encouraging that today’s dialogue has led us to the following common understanding.
First, people-centered urbanization is the keyword. In the urbanization process, priority should be given to addressing problems that directly bear on people’s livelihood, such as education, employment, social safety net and public health so as to promote social inclusion, cultivate modern urban civilization and let everyone share the dividends of development.
Second, quality is essential to sustainable urbanization. Urbanization should be advanced in a proactive, steady and well-managed manner. Efforts should focus on optimizing the urbanization layout so as to achieve a suitable structure of production, living and ecological spaces. Time-honored cultural traditions should be preserved so that history will not be buried in urbanization.
Third, sustainability is the goal of urbanization. Importance should be placed on achieving harmony between cities’ development and Mother Nature, and on promoting coordinated economic, social and environmental development through intensive, efficient, low-carbon and ecologically friendly use of resources.
Fourth, sustainable development of cities is closely related to the international development agenda. “Rio+20” has made sustainable cities one of the priority areas. The Open Working Group on Sustainable Development Goals has incorporated inclusive and sustainable cities in the proposed set of sustainable development goals. All this serves as a good foundation for the formulation of the Post-2015 development agenda. China supports the inclusion of sustainable development of cities and sustainable urbanization in the Post-2015 development agenda.
The World Cities Day is the first international day designated by the United Nations at China’s initiative. It shows the importance China attaches to sustainable development of cities around the world. On this occasion, I wish to thank our co-hosts, the Permanent Mission of Italy to the UN, UN-HABITAT and the UN Alliances of Civilizations, for their hard work and great cooperation. I also wish to thank you all for your contribution. China stands ready to continue to work with the international community to jointly promote sustainable development of cities around the world.