XI'AN, China, Aug. 15, 2012 /PRNewswire-Asia/ -- The multi-stakeholder 2012 World Cities Scientific Development Forum (WCSDF) will take place 12 - 14 December 2012 in the historic city of Xi'an, China under the theme "Promoting Sustainable Urban Development through Urban Agriculture and Tourism".
Around 500 senior national and local government policy makers, NGOs and CBOs, research and training institutions, academic institutions, the private sector and international organizations from China and other countries are expected to participate.
WCSDFs are organized by the World Cities Scientific Development Alliance (WCSDA) and its partners every year. The 2012 WCSDF is organized by WCSDA, UNESCAP, Sister Cities International, the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences and the People's Government of Shaanxi Province. It will provide an important platform for urban actors to: Discuss emerging and critical urban development issues from the perspectives of different stakeholders; Share experiences on good practices and approaches; Explore cooperation and investment opportunities among cities and their partners.
Rapid urbanization is increasing pressure on cities to provide for the needs of all without sacrificing the gains that make cities attractive economic and social hubs for humanity. More than half the world's population of over 7 billion persons now reside in urban areas. While cities are engines of economic growth and centers of culture and creativity, they also exhibit enormous ecological footprints, concentrations of poverty and disparities, and vulnerability to natural and man-made disasters.
Shifting to sustainable urban development therefore means environmentally sustainable economic growth, sharing the benefits in a more equitable manner to meet everyone's basic needs, as well as enhanced resilience of cities and their populations to the broad spectrum of natural and man-made crises and disasters.
Urban Agriculture: The capacity of available resources and technologies to satisfy growing demand for food and other agricultural commodities remains uncertain. Agriculture must meet this challenge, mainly by increasing production on land already in use and by avoiding further encroachment on land that is only marginally suitable for cultivation.
Urban agriculture provides a complementary strategy to reduce urban poverty and food insecurity, plays a role in enhancing urban environmental management, contributes to local economic development and social inclusion of the urban poor and women and provides a buffer against both local economic insecurity and periods of conflict that can disrupt normal food flows. The challenges created with the growth of cities can be better handled by giving proper attention to the potentials of urban agriculture, which contributes to urban greening, heat reduction, waste management, storage of water and maintaining flood plains free from construction in peri-urban areas. Urban greening or promoting a green environment for cities is seen as a catalyst for sustainable development.
Urban Tourism: Tourism provides cities a way to increase their economic vitality without attracting more industry. For many cities, tourism is the number one industry, generating not only rising income but also underpinning many regeneration projects. Often a city's uniqueness lies with its cultural identity, cuisine, and landscapes. Many cities, particularly in Asia, have yet to tap their tourism potential.
Sustainable tourism including eco-tourism and cultural tourism development are seen as a means to enhance and promote a city's uniqueness via increasing the benefits from tourism resources for the population in host communities. Sustainable tourism works to maintain the cultural and environmental integrity of the host communities and enhancing the protection of ecologically sensitive areas and natural heritage.
Plenary sessions introduce issues, link various discussion strands and provide participants with a shared space for reflection.
Breakout sessions consist of parallel sessions organized by WCSDA and its partners to discuss urban issues, approaches, good practices and ideas, present their work and network.
Sustainable Urban Agriculture and Infrastructure Investment Forum is organized by WCSDA and the People's Government of Shaanxi Province to provide an opportunity for private sector companies and investors to discuss potential investment opportunities in China and other countries.
WCSDF Exhibition provides partners and other stakeholders with the opportunity to present their work and ideas and with space for networking.
Field Visits are organized by partners for participants to join as they wish.
Participation in 2012 WCSDF is free of charge with participants expected to organize their own visa, travel, accommodation and daily expenditures, unless they are sponsored by WSCDA and its partners. Interested self-financed participants are kindly requested to register at our webpage: http://english.wcsdf.org/template/aspx/userinfo/userreg.aspx.
Visit our website at http://english.wcsdf.org for more information and updates.
SOURCE World Cities Scientific Development Alliance