China pledges support to UN-Habitat urban development strategy

GMT 13:12 2015 Saturday ,18 April

Arab Today, arab today China pledges support to UN-Habitat urban development strategy

Chen Dawei, Chinese Vice Minister
Nairobi - XINHUA

China has welcomed the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat) proposal for the inclusion of an urban financing strategy in the proposed Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, driven by Beijing, to inject funding into public investment ventures.

Chen Dawei, Chinese Vice Minister for Housing and Urban-Rural Development, said on Friday during talks in Nairobi with Joan Clos, the Executive Director of the UN-Habitat, that Beijing was open to collaboration with the UN agency in expanding "opportunities in this aspect".

China is leading efforts to launch the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, an initiative hailed by the UN-Habitat as an important aspect in the efforts by the UN to finance aspects of sustainable development.

The UN Habitat requested Beijing to send more Chinese nationals to inject China's advanced urban planning initiatives into the UN system. UN-Habitat requested Beijing to send urban planners, lawyers and local authorities' planners to serve in senior positions within Habitat.

"We shall have an official response to the request which we really support," Chen told UN officials during talks focused on the change of strategies in tackling urbanization challenges.

"We are changing our strategic plan and moving from pro-poor housing strategies and slum upgrading to supporting urbanization strategies. That is why we are interested in this Chinese model. That is why we would like to have more Chinese staff in UN-Habitat, " Clos said.

UN-Habitat officials were more impressed with a presentation about the new Chinese model of urban development called the "sponge technology", which allows collection and preservation of rainwater for re-use during dry spells.

The technology is meant to address environmental challenges caused by excessive rain from the southern part of China.

Meanwhile, China has pledged to revise an agreement with the UN- Habitat for the opening up of offices in Beijing in the face of its planned rollout of a new strategic plan.

"The new strategic plan needs us to re-elaborate areas of cooperation with China. The initiatives we have require us to also revise our Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in view of future collaboration," Clos said.

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