Thousands of people both from China and abroad at the weekend thronged the opening of the Second Weihai International Habitat Festival, aimed at promoting the exchange of ideas on improving the living environment.
The annual festival was established by the Weihai Municipal Government in 2004 to promote international cooperation and provide a platform for exchanging lessons and best practices on building sustainable human settlements. Weihai launched the festival following the successful completion of its comprehensive development project to improve Weihai city, located in China's Shandong Province.
The project has led to faster economic development of 18 percent per annum and increased of tourism to the city. It was awarded the Habitat Scroll of Honour in 2003 for managing pollution, protecting the environment and improving the living conditions of its residents.
In his opening speech, the Vice-Governor of Shandong Province, Mr. Zhao Kezhi, said he hoped that the festival would "multi-lateral exchanges, cooperation and prosperity in the field of human settlements".
Mr. Cui Yeuchen, Chairman of the Weihai Municipal People's Congress stressed the festival's role in strengthening the concept of environmental protection. The Mayor of Weihai city, Mr. Song Yuanfang, said a balanced urban development approach hinged on environmental conservation provided the best conditions for increased tourism, trade, local and foreign investment and prosperity for its people.
UN-HABITAT's representative Ms. Jane Nyakairu, congratulated Weihai for being in the forefront in promoting sustainable human settlements development internationally by setting a good example to other cities and for the efforts the city has made in improving shelter conditions and its urban environment.