Co-hosted by the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), the Finance Center for South-South Cooperation (FCSSC) and the Advantage Austria, the first “One-Belt-One-Road Inclusive and Sustainable City Exhibition and Dialogue” opened at the United Nations Office in Vienna on October 17, 2016. The Chairman of FCSSC, Mr. Cai E’sheng, signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Mr. Li Yong, the Director-General of UNIDO during the event. According to the MoU, the two organizations agreed to promote inclusive and sustainable industrial development, help developing countries to facilitate green and new-type industrialization, as well as stimulate trade and investment flows along the “Belt and Road”. Mr. Jorge Chediek, the Director of the United Nations Office on South-South Cooperation, Ms. Bernadette Gierlinger, the Vice Minister of Foreign Economic Policy and European Integration at the Austrian Federal Ministry of Science, Research and Economy, and Ms. Shamshad Akhtar, the Executive Secretary of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific, and other related parties witnessed the signing ceremony.
The “One-Belt-One-Road Inclusive and Sustainable City Exhibition and Dialogue” brought over representatives of different city governments, the private sector and development agencies, as well as academia to look for cooperation opportunities between “Belt and Road” projects and sustainable development, so as to support the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The event would like to build a platform at municipal levels for development experience sharing, where representatives of different cities would be able to identify solutions to their development challenges and those of their partners by engaging in inter-regional, inter-city dialogue for inclusive and sustainable urban-industrial development. From 17 to 21 October, more than 450 participants attended the event, with approximately 50 cities from 25 countries represented.
The Chairman of FCSSC, Mr. Cai E’sheng, delivered a speech during the high-level forum. He emphasized the importance of cooperation between cities to connect and facilitate the “Belt and Road” initiative. “The FCSSC provides financial services to facilitate regional financial cooperation and ‘One-Belt-One Road’ (OBOR), as financial resources are key to support industrialization and sustainable development. Therefore, it’s important to utilize financial integration to innovate financial cooperation systems and develop financial mechanism, so as to effectively support the construction and development of OBOR. The FCSSC has made various efforts in that regard, for instance, we cooperate with the United Nations Social Impact Fund to facilitate industrial development in South-South countries through financial support, give full play to corporate social responsibility, as well as boost financial infrastructure construction and financial integration cooperation among South-South countries.”
What Chairman Cai said coincided with the official Issue Paper of the event, Cities at Crossroads: Unlocking the Potential of Industries in Sustainable Urban Development, which proposed the idea of innovative financial models. The paper emphasized the significant gap between the demand of urban development and the capacity to finance urban development. Therefore, it’s helpful to welcome the participation of the private sector and the capital market to contribute to urban development. Moreover, in order to increase the efficiency of financial cooperation, cities also need to explore the most effective ways to allocate their limited financial resources.
“Sustainable urban industrialization is crucial to realize the sustainable development goals,” said Director-General Li. “In order to develop sustainable urban industrialization, we have to strengthen the connectivity and cooperation between cities.” For that reason, the “One-Belt-One-Road Inclusive and Sustainable City Exhibition and Dialogue” would be held once a year, with the support of FCSSC. At the end of the event, the UNIDO announced the theme of the 2017 event: the challenges facing the implementation of Habitat III’s “New Urban Agenda”, and the highlight of the codification of success stories and sector-specific matchmaking activities for sustainable urban-industrial development.