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Past 30 years witness great progress in human settlements
Latest Updated at 2008-November-10 10:02:51

China has achieved great progress in human settlements for the past 30 years since the opening-up policy bring its economy into a fast track, the Executive Director of UN-HABITAT Anna Tibaijuka told Xinhua.

In a recent interview with Xinhua, Mrs. Tibaijuka said: "China has been a fast growing economy since it adopted the opening-up policy in late 1970s, and considering the huge population, I think tremendous achievements have been made by Chinese government in the field of human habitat, housing for example."

She also said that economic boom has both enhanced Chinese government's capability and awareness in human settlements. The housing problems of low income population are more and more seriously taken care of, and some Chinese cities have done commendable works in improving habitat environment and easing problems of housing for low-incomers, and won the Scroll of Honor from UN-HABITAT.

According to statistics of UN-HABITAT, there are fourteen Chinese cities which have won the Scroll of Honor since 1990s, and from 2001 to 2007, at least one Chinese city won this honor every year. In 1999, the city of Zhuhai in south China won the honor of "Best Practices in Human Settlements Improvement."

Tibaijuka said, with the economic growth, Chinese government become more and more open and positive in human settlement and more and more cooperative with UN-HABITAT's jobs. For example, the fourth session of the World Urban Forum will be scheduled in early November in Nanjing, a city with splendid history and with quick development in human habitat, and Shanghai will host the 2010 World Exposition.

Tibaijuka mentioned recent meetings with Chinese officials from central and local government, and said she was "deeply impressed by their professional knowledge and sincerity in the field of human habitat."

"China has experienced a rapid urbanization in these years, but in Chinese cities there are no large-scale slums within which people live without dignity and hope. I think this is a valuable experience which can be shared by many developing countries," she said.

In the upcoming fourth session of World Urban Forum, Tibaijuka said, one of the most important topics will be how to achieve a balance in the development of society, "this is equal to the recent concept of 'harmonious society' in China," she said.

In the Forum, the participants will discuss how to keep an eye on everybody in the process of urbanization, and help people from rural area adjust to their new environment so that nobody is left behind.

The World Urban Forum was established by the United Nations to examine one of the most pressing issues facing the world today: rapid urbanization and its impact on communities, cities, economies and policies.

It is projected that in the next fifty years, two-thirds of humanity will be living in towns and cities. A major challenge is to minimize burgeoning poverty in cities, improve the urban poor's access to basic facilities such as shelter, clean water and sanitation and achieve environment-friendly, sustainable urban growth and development.

During her stay in China when invited by International Olympics Committee to attend the opening ceremony of Beijing Olympic Games, Tibaijuka has traveled to Chengdu, Sichuan Province and discussed technical assistance and rehabilitation following an earthquake in May that claimed tens of thousands of lives and destroyed countless of homes.

She praised the Chinese government's reconstruction programme, and said this is a testification of maturity and high proficiency of Chinese government in human settlements. "It touches me greatly when I see the happy faces of displaced students found their places in new schools, the whole country has been successfully mobilized in the past few months to support people in earthquake- stricken places," she said, "the Chinese government has a very efficient mechanism when dealing with natural disasters."

Editor: Yan

By: Source: China View website
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