The 11th Macao International Environmental Co-operation Forum & Exhibition (MIECF) kicked off on Thursday, with Chief Executive Chui Sai On officiating the opening ceremony.
The three-day event brings together more than 50 speakers from various countries and regions.
The 2018 MIECF has an expo floor area of more than 16,900 square meters, and has attracted more than 490 exhibitors from 19 countries and regions to showcase products and solutions that curb air, water and soil pollution, as well as to build eco-cities.
The exhibition will also organize business-matching sessions, including one for the Greater Bay Area of Macau, Hong Kong and Guangdong, as well as a session for government procurement.
There will also be a one-on-one meeting between representatives of the Pan-Pearl River Delta Region and green technology suppliers from the European Union.
In his opening speech, the CE reiterated that Macau’s Five- Year Development Plan includes accelerating the construction of a liveable city, strengthening environmental protection and encouraging green living.
Chui said that Macau would push for the development of a green economy and seize opportunities arising from China’s major national strategies.
He reiterated Macau’s status as a platform for commercial and trade cooperation between China and Portuguese-speaking countries, which will be beneficial in reinforcing environmental cooperation between international entities.
“Macau will take these opportunities to actively strengthen collaboration on environmental protection and to develop a green economy,” said Chui.
We are dedicated to (…) enhancing the environmental sector of the Pan-Pearl River Delta Region to “Go Global” and “Bring in Investments,” he added.
According to the Macau Daily Times, Christiana Figueres, the vice-chair of the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy, gave the event’s keynote speech on “Shaping of Eco-Cities for Inclusive Green Economy”.
Figueres – a former executive secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, who sits on the board of the ClimateWorks Foundation – emphasized in her address that urbanization is not only China’s greatest challenge but also one of the greatest trials of this century.
China has built 650 new cities since 1950, with its population projected to swell to two billion people by 2023.
Although the cities were vital drivers of economic growth, they faced difficulties in dealing with environmental issues such as water, air and noise pollution, in addition to traffic congestion and space limitations.
Figueres said there will be six billion people living in cities by 2050, mostly in Asia and Africa.
“We’re going to be having more high-density cities like Hong Kong. We’re going to be having mega cities like Tokyo, Jakarta and New Delhi, and certainly we’re going to be having more and more mega city clusters in China’s Pearl River Delta,” she said.
It is no exaggeration to say that as Asia goes, the world goes – and certainly as cities in Asia go, so does the world.”
Although there is not yet a set definition of an eco-city, Figueres said that 60 percent of the infrastructure that the world needs has not yet been built.
She also advocated the removal of coal as the dominant source of energy and encouraged the use of renewables.
“That is why China is closing more than 100 coal plants in the cities in pursuit of blue skies. It’s also why Hong Kong is prioritizing renewable energy,” she said.
Figueres emphasized the importance of electric transport as part of an ongoing revolution, alongside investing in energy efficiency in public buildings and improving waste treatment.
“The decarbonization of the global economy is critical and is underway. However, as we decarbonize our urban space, we have to purposely rehumanize our development as well,” she concluded.
Figueres will hold an interactive session with the attendees today. It will cover potential ways in which to end cities’ reliance on carbon-intensive economy and consumption by promoting economic transformation.
She will also attend the event’s “Green Forum,” which features six panel sessions and one keynote speaker session. The sessions will address strategies and policies for the development of sustainable and resilient eco-cities, as well as the challenges related to their implementation.