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Speech at the 4th Meeting of CCICED Phase III(Robert Greenhill)


  Honorable vice premier, minister, distinguished experts, colleagues,

  It is a great honor to participate in my first meeting of the CCICED. And let me just start by congratulating the vice premier on what I thought was a very sophisticated and thoughtful speech on environment, and I only wish that other national leaders around the world had this thoughtful completed view as the Chinese Leadership is starting to develop on this very important issue.

  Ever since this council is formed 14 years ago, each of my predecessors as president of Canadian International Development Agency has sat his chair and has come home full of praise for the unique qualities and impact of this distinguished high level Council. And two months ago, the president of China, in his visit to Canada, urged us and our two nations to forge a strategic partnership to achieve several common goals including sustainable economic development. So I'm very pleased to be here today, with such distinguished colleagues to discuss the daunting challenge of sustainable urbanization in the world's most populous country.

  Clearly, as the vice premier noted, sustainable urbanization is a particularly important topic here, but it's also a topic that affects each of us. Even in our relatively under-populated country such as Canada, we are seeing the phenomenon of our populations gathering in cities of 1 million or several millions and more. And clearly in the developing world, it would be one of the great challenges of the 21st century.

  Our meeting today reflects the importance we give to developing dynamic and prosperous cities that are diverse and tolerant, culturally dynamic, environmentally healthy, and therefore both economically and environmentally sustainable. These cities of today and in the future were anchor the entrepreneur cultures in which talents can flourish and innovation will thrive. Now today for the first time more than half of the world's population lives in cities, and according to the experts' projection, very soon more than half of China's population will live in cities. We think it is high time for the global community to pull our urban experience together, combined with our environmental expertise and share what the right solutions to the challenges in urban sustainability are. And this is exactly what we will be doing in the next three days. As a new comer to the CCICED, if not a new comer to China, let me congratulate all Council Members on supporting and promoting the evolution of this truly distinctive institution, which annually provides thoughtful, nonparty and objective, experienced and research policy advice to the Government of China on all aspects of environment and development. I believe it is truly a unique institution.

  It's not just unique in the ways I mentioned earlier, it also demonstrates an extraordinary capacity for this Council and for China to adapt to rapidly changing circumstances and challenges. Our experts who wrote the report of the Sustainable Urbanization Task Force and the Issue Paper would be given only one year to analyze this huge and difficult topic and make recommendations on how to analyze many of its complex aspects. And the work is complemented by the reports of other task forces on related topics. In my view, they've worked together quickly and effectively and produced some bold and relevant findings and policy proposals relevant not only for China, but for many of us all around this table. We still have a lot of work to do over the next three days, together we need to refine these proposals, we need to identify the issues which we think are the most important, and together we need to come up with the bold but practical policy recommendations, which will be providing to the Chinese leadership. I'm sure together we will accomplish this important task. I congratulate all members on the work so far and look forward to the Council's discussion of these reports and the craft in our final recommendations on this vital issue. Thank you very much.

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