Opening Remarks at the Conference on Development and Cooperation of the Maritime Silk Road in the 21st Century
Christophe Bahuet, Country Director, UNDP China
12 February 2015, Fujian
Mr. Yao Shenhong, Director General of CICETE,
Mr. Zheng Xincong, Mayor of Quanzhou Municipal Government,
Distinguished participants, ladies and gentlemen,
I would first like to thank the Quanzhou Municipal Government for their hospitality and for hosting this meeting. I would also like to thank CICETE a long time and very close partner of UNDP, and its Director General Mr. Yao Shenhong for inviting UNDP to this meeting.
The “Maritime Silk Road in the 21st Century” and the “Silk Road Economic Belt” initiatives are becoming a key dimension of China’s cooperation with other countries. Together, they can bring multiple benefits to the development of participating countries and cities. They can also contribute to global development and poverty reduction.
The “One Road and One Belt” initiatives are coming at a time of change Economic globalization and integration, growing migration, trade and capital flows, and climate change are increasing the inter-dependency among States and calling for cooperation between Governments. At the same time and in complement to the State level, there are many opportunities for cooperation between provinces and cities. Urbanization, innovations development of services and new technologies give cities an increasingly important role in regional cooperation and in global development more broadly.
In that context, cities like Quanzhou in Fujian can be major players to promote international and regional cooperation thanks to their history, their economic development and their strategic geographical position as coastal cities as well as connecting points between the two roads, the land and the maritime.
From a UNDP perspective, the MCSR Cities’ Alliance can contribute to a new configuration in international cooperation, one that involves directly cities from both developed and developing countries, one that open up the possibility of sharing developing experiences at municipal level, especially within the South-south cooperation framework.
For these reasons, UNDP has a high interest in the initiative and we are delighted to participate in this preparatory meeting.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
UNDP together with CICETE have a few years ago developed two most successful projects for the revival of the Silk Road and the development of regional cooperation. Together, UNDP and CICETE have already been working with Governments and many cities of China and neighbouring countries. We have promoted greater awareness about the regional investment potential and organized several forum at Ministerial and mayor’s level for regional dialogue and identification of potential investment projects. Through the Silk Road project, UNDP and CICETE working with other UN agencies facilitated public private sector partnerships and improved policies and legal conditions for trade, investments and tourism development. Under the Silk Road project and many others in China, UNDP and CICETE are providing training and capacity building and supporting inter-city exchanges for sustainable urbanization and environmentally friendly cities. Those issues of economic development, investments, environment, urbanization, regional cooperation UNDP and CICETE are working on are relevant for the Silk Road initiatives and will be important for the successful development of the MCSR’s cities alliance.
The UNDP Office in China therefore hopes to join hands again with cities and other partners, including UN agencies, that are part of the Alliance to support Chinese city development and cooperation between cities in China and other countries. Together with CICETE, UNDP offers expertise, an international network and program management services to facilitate the implementation of the initiative as per the Draft Charter of the alliance and the Terms of References for the Preparatory Group.