The Ministry of Housing of China and UN-HABITAT held a press conference in Beijing on the fourth session of the World Urban Form to be held in Nanjing from 3-7 November 2008.
Representatives from some 80 international and national media organizations attended the press conference. It was addressed by the Vice Minister of Housing and Urban-Rural Development, Mr. Qu Ji, the Vice Governor of Jiangsu Provincial Government, Mr. He Quan, the Vice Mayor of Nanjing Municipal Council, Mr. Lu Bing, and UN-HABITAT’s Director of External Relations and Secretary to the agency’s Governing Council and the World Urban Forum, Mr. Rolf Wichmann.
Vice Minister Qu Ji highlighted the international importance of the Forum and this year’s theme of Harmonious Urbanization which will focus on integrated social, economic and environmental development as well as the overall harmony between urban and rural, new and old and social harmony. He described the different events of the Forum which range from peer round-tables, high level dialogues, networking event and a 20,000 square meter exhibition showcasing the latest concepts, technologies, techniques, research and cases studies of sustainable urban development.
Mr. He Quan, the Vice Governor of Jiangsu Province, whose urban population is over 53%, and which has five mega cities, and 29 large and medium cities, said the Forum was particularly relevant to his province. The meeting, which brings thousands of decision makers and experts to Nanjing, offers the province rare opportunity because Jiangsu is at a critical stage in transforming to a more industrialized urban economy with stronger links to international markets and economies.
The Vice Mayor of Nanjing Municipal Government, Mr. Lu Bing, welcomed the press to Nanjing to promote conference and the city, one of China’s four most famous ancient capitals. A crossroads of ancient civilization and modernization, Nanjing, located in the east of China in the Yangtze River delta, has a history of over 2,480 years. The city has won prizes in China for its cleanliness, gardens, tourism, and forestation.
Representing UN-HABITAT, Mr. Wichmann, said the World Urban Form was a unique meeting place for leaders and experts from all levels of government, civil society organizations, academic and research institutions and the private sector to exchange views and experiences on sustainable urban development and make recommendations to the international community on the way forward. The fourth World Urban Forum in China would highlight how the country’s success in managing the transition to one of the strongest an urban based modern economy in a matter of a few decades – an achievement that is unique in modern times. He explained that theme of the Forum, Harmonious Urbanization expects to come up with policy recommendations on issues ranging from environmentally sustainable urban economic growth and social equity to the preservation of historic neighbourhoods – issues facing the majority of countries as we enter humanity’s urban century. UN-HABITAT and the Government of China expect the forthcoming Forum to be an exciting and stimulating event - a showcase for innovations, small and large, in urban policy and practice, for new urban technology and for community-based solutions, and a meeting place between the public and private sectors and civil society – all joined by a common purpose: Sustainable growth and harmonious urbanization.