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Xi calls on cities to work for sustainable development

China Daily | Updated: 2022-11-01 07:09
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Tourists gather at the downtown area of Shanghai. [WANG GANG/FOR CHINA DAILY]

President Xi Jinping sent a congratulatory letter to the opening ceremony of the World Cities Day Global Observance on Monday and called for global cities to actively work together for sustainable development.

Xi said in the letter that World Cities Day adheres to the concept of "Better City, Better Life" and is committed to promoting the sustainable development of global cities, which is of great significance in jointly creating a development pattern featuring inclusive benefits and balance, coordination and inclusiveness, win-win cooperation and common prosperity.

Xi said it is hoped that global cities will actively participate in the Global Development Initiative and accelerate the implementation of the United Nations' 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the New Urban Agenda, facilitate effective economic recovery, improve the quality of the ecological environment, enhance the efficiency of urban governance, and jointly promote global sustainable development.

Recognizing China's great progress in the provision of housing and fighting poverty in the past decade, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called on cities across the world to work together in facing issues including escalating climate change, growing poverty and rising inequalities.

In the past nine years, China has built over 45 million units of government-subsidized housing, which benefited more than 110 million people across the nation, according to Minister of Housing and Urban-Rural Development Ni Hong.

World Cities Day is celebrated annually on Oct 31. It was designated by the UN in 2013 and first celebrated in 2014 in Shanghai. Being a legacy of the World Expo Shanghai, World Cities Day is the first city-themed international day established by the United Nations, and also the first international day initiated by the Chinese authorities.

While building itself into a center of finance, trade, technological innovation, Shanghai is making great efforts in high quality and sustainable development, said Wu Qing, executive vice-mayor of Shanghai.

In the past 10 years, per capita green space in the city has increased from 7 to 8.8 square meters, according to Wu.

In the meantime, Shanghai's green building — buildings whose design, construction or operation reduces or eliminates negative impacts, and can create positive impacts, on the climate and natural environment — has reached 315 million sq m in gross floor area, and the city is taking a lead in promoting new energy vehicles by having more than 820,000 new energy vehicles in operation.

With the theme "Act local to go global", the Global Observance of World Cities Day 2022 and the Second Sustainable Development Goals Cities Global Conference, began on Sunday and runs through Tuesday in Shanghai.

The three-day event is co-hosted by the Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development, the Shanghai municipal government and the United Nations Human Settlements Programme. Offline and online activities include an opening ceremony, exhibitions and forums on the low-carbon economy, city governance, urban history and culture, and new cities.

A handbook illustrating exemplary examples of sustainable development in the fields of economy, society, environment and culture in Shanghai in the 21st century was released at the opening ceremony.

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