UNDP China launches 2013 National Human Development Report on Sustainable Cities

Aug 27, 2013

China’s accelerating urbanisation is approaching a critical stage, and how this is managed will have wide ramifications for the outcomes many of China’s present development challenges, according to United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in China’s 2013 National Human Development Report (NHDR), launched today. UNDP Administrator Helen Clark joined UN Resident Coordinator/ UNDP Resident Representative Renata Dessallien along with Vice-Chairman Xie Zhenhua of the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), President Wang Weiguang of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences and the report’s lead authors at an event in Beijing to release the report.

“China is experiencing urbanisation at a speed and scale that is unprecedented in human history”, said Helen Clark, UNDP Administrator, at the report launch in Beijing. The report states that in 2011, there were more people living in China’s cities than in its countryside for the first time, when only six decades earlier a mere 10 per cent lived in an urban setting. “By comparison, this same demographic transition took 150 years to occur in Europe and 210 years in Latin America,” said Clark.

Framed in the context of urbanisation, the 2013 NHDR examines the interconnectivity between China’s economic, social and environmental challenges, and stresses that all three are pillars contributing to the government’s focus on human development.

According to the report, China’s urbanisation comes at a critical time on all three fronts, with pressures accumulating in matters such as the efficient use of natural and energy resources, the development of urban governance systems, employment, transportation, housing and access to basic social services, security, the livelihoods of migrant workers, an ageing population, structural economic transformation, and air and water pollution. How urbanisation is managed in China will determine the outcome of many of these challenges.

It is hoped that this report will contribute to the current and future policies that will guide China through this historic period of unprecedented urbanisation towards the goal of sustainable and liveable cities.

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