The MoU was the culmination of a visit to UN-Habitat headquarters by a delegation from Xuzhou Municipal Government led by the Secretary of the Communist Party of China Committee of Xuzhou Municipality, Mr. Zhou Tiegen, and Deputy Mayor, Mr. Zhao Liqun. The delegation was welcomed by the Deputy Executive Director of UN-Habitat, Dr. Aisa Kirabo Kacyira, along with the Director of Programme Division and branch representatives. The two parties signed a Memorandum of Understanding on bilateral collaboration in the following areas:
- Contribute to planning and urban design for the North Ecological New Town of Xuzhou City;
- Develop guidelines and standards for the ecological restoration and sustainable urban and territorial development;
- Establish a joint mechanism for exchanging staff for the purpose of training and capacity building between UN-Habitat and Xuzhou Municipal Government;
- Co-organize forums, workshops and expert group meetings in Xuzhou.
Xuzhou is located in the Jiangsu Province of the People’s Republic of China and is considered an important centre in the province and the wider eastern region of the country. It is also a node city as demonstrated in the ‘Belt and Road’ Initiative. Xuzhou City has a total population of 10.4 million, including 3.4 million urban dwellers. As an important historical and cultural centre, Xuzhou has a significant legacy in coal mining and is now the central city in the Huaihai Economic Region. In recent years, Xuzhou has achieved remarkable results in the field of urban development and governance, ecosystem restoration, and water environmental management and its Municipal Government has been largely successful in the eco-restoration of previous mining zones, including the planning of sites where the underground collapsed.