UNDP Asia and Pacific Director Addresses Issue of Green Cities and China
17 January 2011: In an op-ed published in the People's Daily in China, Ajay Chibber, UN Development Programme (UNDP) Bureau Director of Asia and Pacific, highlights that China has the potential of becoming a world leader in green urban development.
In the piece, titled "Green cities for blue skies in China," Chibber underlines that China faces the challenge of rapid urbanization, which is compounded by climate change. Noting that China is "forging new ground" on the road towards low-carbon, climate-resilient development, he stresses that "because of its size all eyes focus on it."
Chibber then outlines how China is leading in several dimensions of climate change, mentioning, inter alia: mainstreaming climate change into its development agenda, as reflected in the 12th Five-Year Plan (2011-2015); adopting energy efficiency targets; committing to reduce its emissions by 40-45% over 2005 levels by 2020; and investing significantly in renewable energy.
Underscoring that China's cities will add about 350 million people in the next 20 years, the author stresses the need to integrate climate change considerations in urban planning. In concluding, Chibber calls for turning the challenge of combining economic growth with low-carbon and climate-resilient urban development into an opportunity. Stating that China is already pioneering many innovative solutions that need to be shared across the world, he emphasizes that "low-carbon urban development is imperative for the survival and healthy development of our economies and societies." [The Op-Ed]