【ISIF News】The 2016 Imperial Springs International Forum Gathers Political Leaders and Scholars from around the World to Discuss City Development in the “Belt and Road” Initiative

Text source:ISIF     Release date:16.05.29     Views:

The 2016 Imperial Springs International Forum Gathers 

Political Leaders and  Scholars from around the World 

to Discuss City Development  in the “Belt and Road” Initiative




On May 29 and 30, 2016, the 2016 Imperial Springs International Forum was held at Imperial Springs International Convention Center in Conghua, Guangzhou. Mr. Hu Chunhua, Member of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee and Secretary of the CPC Provincial Committee of Guangdong, together with Mr. Zhang Baowen, Vice Chairperson of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress, were present at the opening ceremony. More than 100 former heads of state and government, scholars, experts and business leaders from over 20 countries attended the forum. Among them were Madam Vaira Vike Freiberga, Former President of Latvia; Mr. John Howard, Former Prime Minister of Australia; Mr. Jorge Quiroga, Former President of Bolivia; Madam Jenny Shipley, Former Prime Minister of New Zealand; Mr. Esko Tapani Aho, Former Prime Minister of Finland; Mr. Han Seung - soo, Former Prime Minister of the Republic of Korea; Mr. Benjamin Mkapa, Former President of Tanzania; Mr. Olusegun Obasanjo, Former President of Nigeria; Mr. George Andreas Papandreou, Former Prime Minister of Greece; Mr. Andrés Pastrana, Former President of Colombia; and Mr. Petre Roman, Former Prime Minister of Romania. 

Co - hosted by The Chinese People’s Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries (CPAFFC) and The Australia China Friendship and Exchange Association (ACFEA), this Imperial Springs International Forum was themed “Inclusive, Sustainable and Resilient Cities in the Belt and Road Initiative.” Attendees discussed common opportunities and challenges that Chinese and foreign cities face in the context of the “Belt and Road” Initiative, and explored how best to cooperate, as well as ways to create the harmonious development of cities and a bright future for mankind. 
 




At the opening ceremony, Mr. Hu Chunhua, Member of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee and Secretary of the CPC Provincial Committee of Guangdong, pointed out that Guangdong is a strategic and economic hub and trade center, as well as a key engine of the “Belt and Road.” The theme of this forum conforms to the reality of Guangdong’s development and gives Guangdong an opportunity to draw further experience from other countries and cities in their drive to create a better quality urban environment. Based on sister cities and other exchange platforms, Guangdong will be able to enhance cooperation and communication with cities along the “Belt and Road” to achieve win - win development. Mr. Hu Chunhua also commended the Imperial Springs International Forum for becoming an increasingly high - end exchange forum for Guangdong to strengthen mutual understanding and trust with the rest of the world. Since its inauguration, the forum has, on a yearly basis, invited senior political leaders, scholars, experts, entrepreneurs from different countries, and representatives of international organizations to hold in - depth discussions on pressing global and regional issues. The forum has become more and more influential, and is bound to play a positive role in driving Guangdong’s opening - up further. 

Mr. Zhang Baowen, Vice Chairperson of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress, pointed out that the “Belt and Road” Initiative is in the common interest of all countries, and conforms to the development trends of the world. The Chinese Government has inherited and promoted the Silk Road Spirit of “peace and cooperation, openness and tolerance, mutual learning and mutual benefit, ” and calls for the integration of the Chinese Dream with the dream of all peoples along the “Belt and Road.” China welcomes all countries to take part in “Belt and Road” development, to catch the fast train of China’s development and realize common development goals. 

Madam Li Xiaolin, President of the Chinese People’s Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries, pointed out that cities are important carriers of foreign exchanges that CPAFFC conducts. It was her hope that cities along the “Belt and Road” will seize the opportunities, promote connectivity, and realize mutual benefit and win - win. She also hoped that cities will face challenges bravely, create new growth momentum and find new energy. 




Dr. Chau Chak Wing, President of Australia - China Friendship and Exchange Association and Chairman of KINGOLD Group, observed in his speech that cities are not only economic centers, but cultural centers, and one of their important roles is to set an example and influence areas beyond the cities.. This year’s Imperial Springs International Forum focused on the very practical topic of city development, with the aim to build greener, more sustainable and resilient cities, and it was very constructive. 

Madam Vaira Vike Freiberga pointed out that China’s “Belt and Road” Initiative has created an excellent platform for global trade, economic and cultural cooperation. All countries that have joined the initiative hope to conduct closer cooperation with China to share opportunities, tackle challenges and achieve common development. 

Keynote speeches were delivered by Mr. John Howard, Former Prime Minister of Australia; Madam Jenny Shipley, Former Prime Minister of New Zealand; Mr. Olusegun Obasanjo, Former President of Nigeria; and Mr. Montek Singh Ahluwalia, Former Deputy Chairman of the Planning Commission India. 

The “Belt and Road” Initiative was proposed in 2013, and after more than two years of planning and preparation began full - fledged implementation in 2015. ‘How can cities seize new opportunities as a result of the “Belt and Road” Initiative?’ was therefore an important topic for the 2016 Imperial Springs International Forum. The forum lasted for one and a half days and consisted of opening and closing ceremonies, a keynote speech session and four breakout sessions. In - depth discussions were conducted on the themes of implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development: city cooperation, infrastructure development, resource development, and investment. Participants from home and abroad had interactions and exchanges to share ideas and seek consensus. 

Mr. Zhu Xiaodan, Vice Secretary of the CPC Provincial Committee of Guangdong and Governor of Guangdong Province; provincial leaders Mr. Zou Ming, Mr. He Zhongyou and Mr. Wen Simei; together with Mr. Wen Guohui, Mayor of Guangzhou; and Mr. Xu Qin, Mayor of Shenzhen took part in the forum. Also attending were senior officials from relevant ministries and central commissions in China, and relevant provincial and municipal departments of Guangdong Province. 


[Further Reading] 
Imperial Springs International Forum was initiated from the Imperial Springs International Summit in August 2011, and was officially established in 2015 with the approval of the Chinese government. It is currently co - hosted by The Chinese People’s Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries (CPAFFC) and The Australia China Friendship and Exchange Association (ACFEA). As an important platform for people-to - people diplomacy and international exchange, the forum aims to enhance understanding and expand consensus among parties through discussions on hot topics in economy, politics and culture, thereby facilitating regional and global cooperation. Imperial Springs International Forum is hosted in the beautiful Imperial Springs International Convention Centre, Conghua, Guangzhou. With an ideal environment for high - level forums, Imperial Springs International Convention Centre has hosted a number of important international conferences over the past five years, including the Global Economic Forum, Global Leadership Summit of SME Leaders, and Going to Latin America Forum. Former U.S. President Bill Clinton and former Australian Prime Minister John Howard have been to Imperial Springs and delivered speeches.