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Comments by the Chinese Delegation on the Issue of Human Settlements at CSD12 Practice and Experience of Baotou City and Weihai City
(23 April 2004, New York)

2004/04/23


Mr. Chairman:

I would like to take this opportunity to give a brief presentation of the practices and experience of China's Baotou city in post-disaster reconstruction and of Weihai city in building an eco-city. I hope the meeting will find my presentation useful.

In 1996, Baotou was hit by an earthquake of grade 6.4 by the Richter scale, which caused serious damage throughout the city and rendered nearly one million people homeless. In the aftermath of the earthquake, the city of Baotou decided to integrate disaster relief and reconstruction into its overall plan of old city renewal and low-cost housing project. The large scale reconstruction and renovation of the badly damaged central area of the old city were guided by scientific planning, aimed at creating a fine eco-environment and focused on the construction of good-quality housing and high-standard infrastructure. The government decided on the allocation of land through administrative planning and paid for the construction of infrastructure. Tax breaks or exemptions were granted to 37 items involved in the construction programme and the approach to financing was a combination of government subsidies, bank loans, social financing, outside investment and individual financing by residents themselves. All this helped expedite the construction process. As a result, just three years after the devastating earthquake, a brand new modern city emerged on the relics of the past and the long-standing problem of old city revitalization has been solved.

In August, 2002, Baotou city hosted the International Conference on Medium and Low Income Housing, which was jointly convened by the UN-HABITAT,  China's Ministry of Construction and the municipal government of Baotou.

In 1987, Weihai, an erstwhile sea-side town, set for itself  the goal of building a sea-side eco-city specializing in high and new technologies. In order to improve the living environment, the city raised 2.7 billion US dollars through various channels, including financial allocation, bank loan, municipal bond and donations from various circles. The building of the eco-city involved all residents of the city and enjoyed active support from the central government, international organizations and other cities both inside and outside China.

After more than a decade of work, Weihai has become a famous sea-side eco-city in China. In 2002, the per capita GDP of Weihai reached 3000 US dollars and the per capita disposable income reached 1200 US dollars. A universal medical insurance system has been set up, and a public health contingency mechanism has been established to cope with sudden outbreaks, with a health service station in each and every residential community. All residents enjoy adequate housing and sufficient clean water.

At present, Weihai is equipped with an ecological system under meticulous maintenance, a production system with low resource usage, a living system with moderate consumption and an economy with steadily increasing profitability. It is hailed by the state as a model in the improvement of the living environment and twice won the UN-HABITAT " Dubai International Award for Best Practices in Improving the Living Environment".

In November of 2003, the UN-HABITAT, the Ministry of Construction of China and the city of Weihai jointly held the International Conference on Urbanization Strategy for Sustainable Development in Weihai.

Thank you , Mr. Chairman.

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