Many of the world’s largest cities are located on the coast and about half of the world’s population lives within the coastal zone. Maritime transport is essential to the world’s economy as over 90% of the world’s trade is carried by sea and it is, by far, the most cost-effective way to move en masse goods and raw materials around the world. Therefore, maritime activity has a key role to play in the alleviation of extreme poverty and hunger as it already provides an important source of income and employment for many developing countries, such as the supply of seagoing personnel and ship recycling, ship owning and operating, shipbuilding and repair and port services, among others.

In 2013, Chinese President Xi Jinping introduced the concept of the Belt and Road (B&R) initiative to enhance complementarity and synergy of development strategies and promote common progress of participating countries through closer international cooperation. Furthermore, the B&R initiative promotes economic engagement and investment along two main routes – the Silk Road Economic Belt and 21st Century Maritime Silk Road which would cover almost two-thirds of the world’s population, around 4.4 billion people living in about 65 countries (including Asian region), and one-third of global GDP. Although the initiative has not officially linked to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), however many of the components of this initiative embody certain principles required to achieve SDGs that will guide global action on sustainable development (i.e. Environmental Sustainability, Economic Sustainability, Social Sustainability) until 2030.

Having advantage of its strategic location and position along B&R route, Asia Pacific region has a pivotal role in enhancing and strengthening regional cooperation and collaboration for sustainable economic and environmental development that would also be impactful for sustainable urban development. In addition, the Asia Pacific region will be of great importance in promoting and supporting the localization of SDGs to those cities and local governments along B&R route in particular, and within the region in general. In light of this, UCLG ASPAC Executive Bureau, at its previous meeting in April 2017 in Catbalogan, endorsed the establishment of two Standing Committees of UCLG ASPAC focusing on B&R initiative, they are “21st-Century Maritime Cooperation Committee” and “Belt and Road Local Cooperation Committee.” The establishment of both Committees was intended to provide a regional platform for cities and local governments in the region and beyond to share ideas, experiences and practices, to identify opportunities for collaboration, to implement initiatives, programmes and projects that advance social welfare, environmental protection, economic development and cultural preservation, to promote the exchanges and cooperation, and to offer practical advice and suggestions on various fields.

To boost and leverage the 21st-Century Maritime initiative and its newly established platforms, UCLG ASPAC will conduct a Symposium on Marine Economy and Urban Development that will be taking place within the framework of 2017 UCLG ASPAC Council on 8-10 November 2017 in Fuzhou, China. Historically, the host City Fuzhou was an important trade port along China’s southeast coast and a crucial portal of the Maritime Silk Road. Now, the City is earnestly building into “Maritime Fuzhou” which would expand the City to the sea and develop its maritime industries. For this purpose, the City is developing collaborations and closer ties with numerous countries and regions along the 21st-Century Maritime Silk Road.

Essentially, the symposium, that will gather local government leaders, representatives and other stakeholders, aims to bring up and discuss on enhancing marine cooperation and boosting sustainable urban development and also to share exemplary practices and experiences on the development of marine economy regionally and worldwide. The identified prominent experts will provide advice and guidance that focus on policy and technical approaches and measures on development of marine economy for a sustainable urban future.


The expected objectives of the symposium are:

  • To encourage marine cooperation among cities and local governments in the region;
  • To inculcate relevant objectives and goals of SDGs in building up and developing marine cooperation and collaboration in the region;
  • To grow towards a dynamic, sound and viable maritime economy in the 21st-century for sustainable urban development in Asia Pacific;
  • To optimally use the available regional platforms (Belt and Road Local Cooperation Committee & 21st-Century Maritime Cooperation Committee) in order to support the development of Maritime in Fuzhou and other cities/local governments/regions in the region.


  • Strengthened maritime cooperation and collaboration among cities and local governments in the region
  • increased knowledge of cities and local governments in ASPAC on marine policies, best practices and practical approaches for sustainable economic development
  • Increased awareness and integration of SDGs objectives to be implemented in building up maritime cooperation and collaboration
  • Strengthened regional platforms of B&R initiative, 21st-century maritime and belt&road local cooperation


  • The symposium will present enlightening discourse from prominent speakers and inspiring/exemplary practices and experiences from local government
  • Open discussion will be intended for participants to elaborate and deliver any concerns, proposition, and queries related to speaker’s
  • Recommendation for Regional Marine Economy and Sustainable Urban Development will be delivered to wrap-up the symposium

Download Agenda Programme


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