Rebeca Grynspan talks sustainable urban development at Macao Polytechnic Institute

18 Oct 2013

imageFollowing the 2013 Global Poverty Reduction and Development Forum in Beijing, Ms. Rebeca Grynspan travelled to Macao with a delegation including UNDP staff and Beijing ministry officials.

UN Under-Secretary-General and UNDP Associate Administrator Rebeca Grynspan delivered a speech on the sustainable development of cities based on the newly-launched 2013 National Human Development Report (NHDR) entitled “Sustainable and Liveable Cities: Toward Ecological Civilisation” during an event co-organised by UNDP China and the Macao Polytechnic Institute.

In her speech, Ms. Grynspan highlighted the relationship between UNDP and the Special Administrative Region (SAR) of Macao, boosted by the first-ever cooperative project between UNDP, the government of Macao, and the Beijing Forestry Carbon Administration. Known as the UNDP-Macao Initiative for Carbon Sequestration Through Sustainable Forest Management, the three-year project includes a financial contribution of USD 1 million from the Macao SAR to UNDP. The aim is to develop methodologies for carbon sequestration, to be based on sustainable forest management, on a national scale.

“The results from the project will open up a whole new market, where Payment of Ecosystem Services (carbon sequestration in this case) will be properly demonstrated,” remarked Ms. Grynspan.

According Ms. Grynspan, the UNDP-Macao Initiative will also create a platform for public awareness on environmental conservation and sustainable development, encouraging people to live a low-carbon lifestyle and be actively engaged in offsetting their carbon footprints through planting trees.

Ms. Grynspan went on to address why quality of life for the average citizen should be considered a priority in the process of urbanization. She remarked: “By 2025, 600 cities may be generating 65% of global growth, while half of that growth could come from 440 cities in emerging economies.”

In the midst of China’s explosive population growth, rural-urban migration has occurred on a national scale, with no signs of abating. “The urban population is predicted to rise to 70 percent by 2030, resulting in an additional 310 million new city dwellers in the next two decades,” added Ms. Grynspan. She expressed sentiments that echoed Premier Li Keqiang’s advocacy for “people’s urbanization,” a new, human-centred type of urbanization path.

According to Ms. Grynspan, the 2013 NHDR provides support “for optimal urbanization. [It] emphasizes the importance of effective governance, including through reforms in city management which encourage more citizen participation and ownership and performance monitoring of public officials.”

The improvement of quality of life for the masses makes human development a guiding principle. Ms. Grynspan noted that investment in renewable energy and good governance is crucial for Macao in particular to achieve sustainable urban development, especially outside of the casino industry. She added that opinions from the local community should be actively considered by policymakers.

After the lecture, the UNDP delegation moved to the Government Headquarters of the Macao SAR to hold a dialogue with Mr. Fernando Chui, Chief Executive of Macao, and Ms. Florinda Chan, the Secretary for Administration and Justice of Macao SAR. Both sides agreed that the UNDP-Macao Initiative is a good start for cooperation and the future exchange of ideas, expressing hope that UNDP and Macao can jointly make worthy contributions to China and the world.