The Third International Forum on Urban-Rural Linkages successfully held in Songyang, Zhejiang

Officials, experts and scholars from 17 countries and 18 international organizations exchanged views on the theme of Enhancing Urban-Rural Connectivity to Build Better Livelihoods at the third International Forum on Urban-Rural Linkages unveiled in Songyang County, Lishui City, Zhejiang Province, on 30 October. The event was sponsored by the United Nations Human Settlements Program (UN-Habitat), Zhejiang Provincial Department of Housing and Urban-Rural Development, Zhejiang Provincial Department of Transport and Lishui Municipal People’s Government, and organized by the Songyang County People’s Government. In his speech, Michal Mlynár, UN assistant secretary general and deputy executive director of the UN-Habitat, said that the forum has become an important dialogue platform for global urban-rural linkages. At the forum, participants exchanged ideas, shared experiences and moved forward firmly toward the goal of sustainable regional development. Songyang is a place that tactfully blends urban and rural features in harmony, vividly demonstrating the power of urban-rural connections, he said, adding that it allows people to see the wonderful sparks of local knowledge, culture and innovation, and shows how to achieve common prosperity by narrowing the gap between urban and rural areas. Remy Sietchiping, chief of Policy, Legislation and Governance Section of the UN-Habitat, said that the theme of this year’s forum aptly echoes the UN-Habitat’s goal of ‘reduced spatial inequality and poverty in communities across the urban – rural continuum.’ Zhejiang is a province with 701 Chinese traditional villages and three demonstration counties for the concentrated and contiguous protection and utilization of traditional villages. As one of the first batch of such counties in China, Songyang coordinated and promoted the Saving the Old Houses Action and the ecological restoration action of traditional villages. The county uses culture and architecture as the starting point to promote material renewal and cultural revitalization, and achieve healthy urban and rural development through the implementation of what has come to be known as the Songyang Model. As the first pilot county for the development of smart transportation industry in Zhejiang, Songyang puts special emphasis on technological innovation and digital technology application, and has become a demonstration area where transportation connects urban and rural development and promotes common prosperity. Mo Liang, secretary of the CPC Songyang County Committee, said in his speech that the forum is a platform for inspiring ideas. He hoped that through the exchanges and discussions at this forum, the world’s advanced concepts and practices can bring inspiration to Songyang’s urban and rural construction and development. In recent years, Songyang has actively explored sustainable development paths for urban and rural areas. In May 2019, at the invitation of the UN-Habitat, the Songyang County People’s Government, as the only county-level representative, participated in the first United Nations Habitat Conference and signed a letter of intent for cooperation. The first two editions of International Forum on Urban-Rural Linkage were held in Songyang in November 2019 and October 2021, and it was agreed to hold the forum every two years in the future.

Source: Ghana News Agency