Next stop: Guangyuan! Chinese city ready for eco-tourism

The CASS Forum 2017 – the International Forum on Low Carbon & Eco-preservation of Health was held in Guangyuan, China on 13 June. The Forum was jointly organized by the Institute of Urban Environmental Studies, the Chinese Academy of Social Science, and the Guangyuan People’s Government, and with the support of ICLEI.

Hosted by the Chinese Society of Social Science (CASS) – the highest academic research organization for social science in China – the CASS Forum is a high-level academic forum that focuses on global and domestic current affairs in China.

This year, the Forum was hosted in Guangyuan, with a special focus on low carbon and eco-preservation of health. Over 200 Chinese and foreign experts, scholars, and government officials of all levels gathered on the occasion to have an in-depth discussion on low carbon development, urban adaptation, and eco-tourism and provided professional suggestions to the city of Guangyuan.

As a national low-carbon pilot city and national ecological civilization demonstration zone, Guangyuan is one of the earliest batches of cities that promotes low-carbon development in China and has made remarkable achievements. The city has also been awarded the State-level Clean City, Top Tourist City, and National Forest City in China.

During the opening ceremony, Weiguang Wang, President of the Chinese Academy of Social Science, sent his welcome to attendees through a written speech, followed by a congratulatory speech given by Chunling Feng on behalf of the Deputy Director-General of the National Development and Reform Committee.

Steve Gawler, Regional Director of ICLEI Oceania, and Shu Zhu, Regional Director of ICLEI East Asia were invited to participate in the session Experiences Sharing of Low Carbon Cities Construction facilitated by Dr. Guiyang Zhuang, Researcher, Institute of Urban Studies, Chinese Academy of Social Science. Other speakers include Dai Yongbo, Deputy Director of the Sichuan Provincial Development and Reform Committee, Ye Changchun, Vice Mayor of Guangyuan, Pam O’ Connor, Council Member of Santa Monica, Stefan Hanna, Deputy Mayor of Uppsala City, and Qiu Jian, Deputy Head of Sichuan Provincial Housing and Construction Department.

Gawler began with a brief introduction of ICLEI and its Integrated Planning framework, which supports cities to adopt development plans with holistic consideration of mitigation and adaptation actions. The framework has been successfully applied by a number of cities worldwide, allowing them to better understand their situation, prioritize areas of improvement, and monitor the implementation of action plans. Zhu, on the other hand, introduced ICLEI’s thematic programs and tools in the Chinese context, hoping to support cities in China in identifying their needs.

Now that the city has earned its name as Low Carbon Guangyuan, the City Committee of the Communist Party of China is seeking to turn it into a city of eco-tourism, with a strong emphasis on health and a green environment. ICLEI East Asia will continue to support Guangyuan and other Chinese cities in mitigation and urban adaptation.

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