SHANGHAI, PEOPLE'S REPUBLIC OF CHINA - With more than one billion people in the Asia and Pacific region expected to join the urban population in the next 20 years, sustainable economic development is not possible without sustainable urbanization, said a senior official from the Asian Development Bank (ADB).
In his speech to the Regional Workshop on Sustainable Urbanization, Klaus Gerhaeusser, Director General of ADB's East Asia Department, said rapid urbanization presents significant challenges for ADB's developing member countries.
The five-day workshop brings together about 50 senior government officials and resource speakers to share best practices in urban planning, urban renewal and expansion, and urban finance. It was organized under the umbrella of the PRC-ADB Knowledge Sharing Platform - an initiative of ADB and the PRC's Ministry of Finance - which facilitates development dialogue and mutual learning from PRC and ADB's other developing member countries.
Besides the People's Republic of China (PRC), developing member countries represented in the workshop are Bangladesh, Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Mongolia, Pakistan, Philippines, Thailand and Viet Nam. The workshop was opened by Mr. Gerhaeusser and Mr. Jinkang Wu, Deputy Director General of the International Department of PRC's Ministry of Finance, and Chunhua Tian, Deputy Director General of Shanghai Finance Bureau.
Mr. Gerhaeusser said urbanization strategies should be "green" with a strong emphasis on energy efficiency, public transport, and sound urban planning and construction.
"Only through a green approach to urbanization is it possible to ensure the quality of air and water, and effective waste treatment, which are essential to a healthy living environment, and to mitigate the impacts of climate change," he said.
He also stressed that urbanization must be inclusive in its integration with rural development, take place in partnership between the public and private sectors, and be linked to regional development initiatives, with successful experiences and lessons to be shared among cities and countries.
"ADB is very pleased to co-sponsor the knowledge sharing platform," said Mr. Gerhaeusser. "The initiative reflects PRC's economic maturation, and its aspiration to make a greater contribution to public goods for regionally inclusive and knowledge-driven development."
Knowledge cooperation is a priority of ADB's Country Partnership Strategy for PRC. The two-way nature of the platform underscores the continued importance that China accords to learning from other countries to promote inclusive and environmentally-friendly development, while at the same time sharing its own development experience.