The third annual "BRIDGE for Cities" event opened today at the Vienna International Centre with a focus on how sustainable industrial development can be achieved at an urban level, fostering, in a virtuous circle, economic and infrastructural growth.
The three-day event, "BRIDGE for Cities", has brought together a total of 1057 participants from 188 cities in 87 countries.
Organized by the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) and the Finance Centre for South-South Cooperation, the event is designed to support the implementation of the Belt and Road Initiative, which aims to improve regional cooperation and connectivity on a trans-continental scale.
In his opening address, LI Yong, the Director General of UNIDO, said, "The Belt and Road Initiative, with its emphasis on inclusive partnership and cooperation, can serve as an effective tool for the advancement of the 2030 Agenda."
Li remarked, "As the UN Secretary-General António Guterres aptly put it during his speech at the opening of the Belt and Road Forum in 2017, both the Belt and Road Initiative and the 2030 Agenda strive to create opportunities, global public goods and win-win cooperation, with sustainable development as their shared overarching objective."
The UNIDO Director General explained that in advance of the BRIDGE event, four case cities had been selected through a nomination process organized after a briefing to UNIDO Member States namely Trieste, Italy as Sustainable City; Shanghai, China as Smart City; Vienna, Austria as Liveable City; and Chengdu, China as Park City. Each city, based on its development priority, had been matched with a specific UNIDO department to develop detailed cases and project portfolios.
Li said that the event, at which representatives from the central and local governments, from the business sector, academia from all four cities participated, will help UNIDO to provide these cities with professional, in-depth technical services in UNIDO’s areas of expertise.
During the opening ceremony, representatives of UNIDO and of the World Trade Centers Association (WTCA) signed an Memorandum of Understanding to cooperate on identifying new channels for UNIDO to promote joint projects and activities, notably in the field of South-South and Triangular Industrial Cooperation. The WCTA is a network of 320 mutually-supporting business centers present in 90 countries around the world.
With the second day highlighting the specific projects implemented by the four case cities, the third day of the event is devoted to developing people-to-people bonds through workshops and study tours, so that business sector representatives and development stakeholders can transform the theory into practical outcomes.