VIENNA, 26 September 2017(UNIDO-UNIS-UNCAV-HORNA) – The second annual Belt and Road Initiative event that opened today at the Vienna International Centre is focusing on helping cities develop green economies.
This year’s three-day event, “Bridge for cities”, has brought together twice the number of participants, compared to last year, and a much wider representation, with a total of 131 cities from 65 countries taking part, as well as representatives of municipal governments, the business sector, development agencies and academia. The mayors or deputy mayors of Cairo, Lanzhou, Luxor, Kabul, Karachi, Nuremberg, Poznañ, and Tirana are taking part.
Organized by the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) and the Finance Center for South-South Cooperation, it was designed to support the implementation of the Belt and Road Initiative, hailed by the UN General Assembly as a vehicle for economic integration in participating regions for the advancement of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
“UNIDO is closely engaging with its Member States situated along the Belt and Road, and partners, encouraging cities to play a leading role in shaping the future of sustainable urban industrial development,” said LI Yong, the Director General of UNIDO, who spoke at the opening of the event.
“Industry must take centre stage, and help fundamentally transform the way we work, the way we live, and the natural environments around us. It can do so by creating new employment opportunities, promoting economic prosperity, and supporting green growth.”
“Through a multiplier effect, jobs in industry create jobs in fields such as public health, education and public administration. The growth in employment further creates economic spill-overs, revitalizing lagging economies and boosting social wellbeing. Industrial innovation is a major driving force behind the shift towards climate-neutral cities. This certainly can be advanced along the Belt and Road through the transfer, replication and upscaling of best-available technologies and manufacturing techniques between developing nations,” Li added.
This year, UNIDO and the Government of China signed a memorandum of understanding, agreeing to work together to further encourage investment; create competitive trade capacities; promote green industrial development, as well as the adoption of resource-efficient and cleaner-production techniques; and support the development of industrial policy advice.
“Bridge for cities” will feature, among others, a high-level policy dialogue of urban-development experts; discussions of urban-industrial solutions and business opportunities; and an exhibition show-casing innovative urban-industrial development solutions, methodologies, projects and partnerships. It will also offer matchmaking opportunities that will help overcome the urban-financing gap through access to the business sector, financial institutions and international development agencies; and study tours for participants to see Austria’s experience in innovative solutions for inclusive and sustainable urban-industrial development.