UNEP-China Cooperation Solidifies With Shanghai Agreement on Green Economy, Wildlife Protection and Youth Engagement Sat, Feb 16, 2013

Senior Chinese and UNEP Officials Ink Deals at Opening of Green Shanghai Art Photography Exhibition on Eve of Governing Council Meeting

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At the unveling of the Green Shanghai Photography Exhibition from Left: Chinese Ambassador to Kenya, Director of Publicity Department of Shanghai, Director of Communications, UNEP Executive Director and Deputy Permanent Representative.

Nairobi, 17 February 2013 - China emphasized its growing focus on environmental issues and strengthened its links with the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) today when senior officials from Shanghai Municipality signed agreements with UNEP on the green economy, wildlife protection and supporting youth engagement.

The expanded collaboration was signed at the launch of the Green Shanghai Art Photography Exhibition in UNEP's Nairobi headquarters, which is aimed at sharing the experiences and lessons of Shanghai's green development with delegates at a meeting of UNEP's Governing Council.

The council is meeting for the first time under universal membership, the first step in the process to strengthen and upgrade UNEP called for at Rio+20 and approved by the UN General Assembly in December 2012.

Shanghai, one of China's most-populous cities with an estimated 24 million inhabitants, pledged to use its considerable resources to sensitize the public to UNEP's work and cooperate with UNEP's youth engagement programme, known as Tunza.

This follows on from the establishment of two collaborating centres in Beijing - the Global Efficient Lighting Centre, founded with the Chinese National Lighting Test Centre, and the International Ecosystems Management Partnership, established with the Chinese Academy of Sciences. China also pledged US$6 million to UNEP in 2012.

"We are delighted to cooperate with Shanghai on these initiatives, which will push forward the agenda of an inclusive Green Economy in the context of sustainable development and poverty eradication in one of the most influential and populous cities in the world at the hub of one of the most dynamic and rapidly expanding economies," said UN Under-Secretary-General and UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner.

"As UNEP heads into a new era of universal membership that will enhance our role at the centre of the environment, it is hugely encouraging to see China once again demonstrate that it is increasingly evolving its long-standing understanding of the importance of environmental governance."

Mr. Yang Zhenwu, Minister of the Communist Party of China Shanghai Committee's Publicity Department, said the city of Shanghai had already shown it was committed to building a greener future.

"Shanghai will control the intensity of development; protect ecological space; further promote energy conservation, emission reduction and environmental protection; reduce energy consumption; reduce the emissions of carbon dioxide and major pollutants; establish and improve the long-term system of ecological civilization; and guide society to promote green and low-carbon development and make Shanghai a beautiful, ecological and liveable city," he said.

Nick Nuttall, UNEP's Director of Communications and Spokesperson, and Tomoko Nishimoto, Director of UNEP's Division of Regional Cooperation (DRC), signed the two agreements on behalf of UNEP.

Shanghai agreed to use its large-screen displays in the city centre and posters in stations of the extensive Shanghai Metro rail network to demonstrate UNEP's prioritized themes, including the campaign for wildlife protection launched this year in collaboration with the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species.

UNEP in turn said it would use its resources to promote Shanghai's continued efforts on mainstreaming environmental protection and green development.

Under the Letter of Intent signed with DRC, Shanghai acknowledged its intention to mobilize its youth to take part in the Tunza process, organize a Youth Green Economy exhibition, and create animations from the top eight paintings in UNEP's International Children's Painting competition to inspire youth and children to act on Sustainable Development Issues.

The signing ceremony took place during the launch of the Green Shanghai Art Photography Exhibition, which was attended by H.E. Mr. Liu Guangyuan, Chinese Ambassador to Kenya, and Mr. Zhang Lei, Chinese Deputy Permanent Representative to UNEP.

The 53 images showcase the green economy development themes in Shanghai, including green city, resource efficiency, green agriculture, ecosystem management, and green industry.

UNEP in 2011 released its Final Environmental Review of the 2010 Shanghai World Exposition, which represented a complete appraisal of the environmental and social impacts of the six-month long event with recommendations that could be replicated in future international mass events.

The report acknowledged extensive efforts by the city in nine key areas: air quality, transport, energy, solid waste, water, green coverage, protected areas, climate neutrality and the overall situation of the Expo site.

Shanghai officials also handed over books and stationary to the MCEDO-Beijing school, which operates in the heart of Nairobi's Mathare slum, to assist the 700 students in their environmental studies.

The Chinese Embassy provided funding to the Mathare Community Education and Development Organization (MCEDO) to set up the school.

Further Resources

UNEP's report on the 2010 Shanghai World Exposition: http://www.unep.org/newscentre/default.aspx?DocumentID=2659&ArticleID=8964

A green economy is one that results in improved human well-being and social equity, while significantly reducing environmental risks and ecological scarcities. To find out about UNEP's work on the green economy, visit http://www.unep.org/greeneconomy/

For more on Tunza, UNEP's programme to engage youth in environmental activities through competitions, conferences and publications, visit http://www.unep.org/tunza/

For media enquiries, please contact:

Hao Chen, Public Information Officer, UNEP, +254 0733 246 097, Hao.chen@unep.org

Tang Shifen, Information Office of Shanghai Municipality,  +86 139 1662 9693, tsf1125@yahoo.com.cn

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