At the 17th CCP Congress, held October 2007 in Beijing, it was announced that environmental conservation and sustainable development, as well as the alleviation of poverty in rural areas, are to be among the most urgent policies to be implemented in the next five years.
Responding to the Congress’ declaration and the designation of Yunnan Province as a demonstration site for environmental conservation and sustainable development, the Center for United States-China Arts Exchange consulted with its colleagues in the Yunnan government and the Southwest Forestry College to initiate a two-day forum for discussion of sustainable development practices and policies. This was held in the City of Dali on June 30 and July 1, 2008.
The Yunnan Sustainable Development Forum showcased the impact of development and tourism through a focus on Yunnan. It involved an interdisciplinary team of scientists, architects, planners, heritage tourism and land use experts from the United States and Indonesia.
At the end of the forum, the following five recommendations were presented to the Yunnan Provincial Government, the central authorities in Beijing, and global organizations, including UNESCO:
Protect Yunnan’s fragile and limited natural and cultural resources or China’s opportunities for world leadership in sustainable development will be lost
Position China as a world leader in sustainable development
Raise awareness of China and Yunnan’s unique heritage and resources and break down misconceptions about the country
Use best practices and lessons learned from other destinations to guide Yunnan’s efforts in sustainable development
Build on foundation of collaborative work on Yunnan already developed through the Center for U.S.-China Arts Exchange
Joining the Center for U.S.-China Arts Exchange as principal organizers of the forum were the Yunnan Province Bureau of Tourism, the City of Dali, Southwest Forestry College in Kunming, and the Yunnan Province Office for Cultural Products. The Forum in Dali was made possible by a Conservation and Sustainable Development grant awarded to Columbia University and the Center for U.S.-China Arts Exchange by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.