Site:WEC 2016 Annual Summit >> Expert Advice
Zhang Zhenshan, United Nations Human Settlements Programme’s Representative in China

United Nations Human Settlements Programme is responsible for promoting sustainable urban development. In 2008, the urban population reached more than half of the total population globally. China's current urban population reached 56.1% by the end of year 2015. The process of urbanization was very fast and will stay fast in the future, especially in Asian and African countries.

City land accounts for about 2% of the world's total land area, with over half population proportion, more than 70% resources consumption, 80% greenhouse gas emission, and 80% of GDP, as the center of economic development. The development of city creates lots of jobs, but is also faced with many problems, such as traffic jam and environmental pollution. Therefore, cities play a critical role in emission reduction and sustainable development.

In the September of 2015,UN passed the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and the《Paris Agreement》,which are binding on the adaptation to the climate change and emission reduction. In the October of year 2016, the United Nations Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development (Habitat III) took place in Quito, the capital of Ecuador, and passed the《New Urban Agenda》,providing guiding framework to the urban development in the following 20 years.

《New Urban Agenda》 highlights the inclusive and sustainable economic growth and aims to achieve cities and human settlements where all persons are able to enjoy equal rights and opportunities, as well as their fundamental freedoms.

In the past 30 years, the urbanization has developed rapidly almost at a speed of 1% annual rate in China. At present, we should pursuit the quality instead of quantity, especially the updating of the cities. In February 2016, the State Council, China's Cabinet, released a document on strengthening the administration of urban planning, which set a clear guideline of how the country's urban development should be regulated to make it more healthy and sustainable.

Low carbon and green are vital aspects in the sustainable development of cities, which are also the way we should undertake. About traffic, we should create community on foot, create conducive prevailing conditions to bicycles, and promote the combination of urban public transportation and other ways of transportation. We should make the best of the resources in the city, recycle the water and energy, and  use more renewable energy. In urban construction, we need to make the development of our city truly low-carbon and green with more innovative design concept and the application of more energy-saving material.

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