December 2021 | AS the fourth pillar of sustainable development, culture has an indelible contribution to social and economic development and environmental protection. The vitality of culture ensures the sustainability of a civilisation and a society. On 9 December, the “7 Keys Workshop” was successfully held in Xi’an. The workshop was co-organised by Xi’an Municipal People’s Government, CPAFFC, UCLG, and UCLG ASPAC. The “7 Keys Workshop” is to sort out the keys to promote sustainable development through observation, analysis, discussion, and exploration.

 

 

The team of 26 experts, consisting of civil servants, cultural specialists, ecologists, foreign experts, students’ representatives, urban planning experts, cultural and tourism industry experts, township workers, business leaders and other related partners and stakeholders, gathered in hybrid mode (online and offline). The workshop was launched in a 7-hour discussion on Xi’an’s cultural strategies while promoting the localisation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Among others, The UCLG Culture Coordinator, Mr. Jordi Pascual; UCLG ASPAC Secretary General Dr. Bernadia Irawati Tjandradewi; Director of Xi’an Municipal Foreign Affairs Office Mr. Qiang Sheng took part and spoke in the “7 Keys Workshop.”

In his opening remarks, Mr. Su De’an, the First Consultant of the Xi’an Municipal Foreign Affairs Office, emphasised on how the culture could play significant roles in representing Xi’an in the global stage as well as become Xi’an’s source of strength. Further, he sincerely hoped that all experts and partners could provide valuable inputs and suggestions for promoting Xi’an sustainable development efforts through this engaging workshop.

Session I: Local Challenges and Sustainable Development Goals
In this session, each expert was asked to write down three to five main challenges of Xi’an in cultural aspects based on personal work experience and understanding of urban development. Then, these challenges were linked with the corresponding SDGs.

Dr. Bernadia I. Tjandradewi highlighted in her statement that Xi’an has been successfully implemented the “Local4Action Hub” programme and took lead in establishing the UCLG ASPAC Tourism Committee, making essential contributions to the world organisation. Xi’an has a strong leading and exemplary role in the UCLG ASPAC, and the promotion of international influence through culture will have more positive effect, she added.

Session II: Cultural Mapping and Spotting the Gaps
Experts discussed cultural elements, assets, and resources in the broadest sense and marked the relevant UN SDGs to explore potential opportunities to link cultural elements with SDGs effectively.

Mr. Qiang Sheng, the Director of the Xi’an FAO, underlined Xi’an’s cultural elements by using three English words. The first word is “environment.” The four ancient civilisations all originated from rivers. Only by protecting the clear waters and green mountains can we preserve human civilisation; The second word is “communication.” Xi’an is the starting point of the ancient Silk Road and a critical node city of the “One Belt One Road” Initiative. Eastern and Western civilisations gathered here in ancient times. Therefore, Xi’an must continue to play the role of the cultural communicator; The third word is “inclusion.” Inclusion is Xi’an’s most prominent cultural element compared with other international metropolises. From religious beliefs to local cuisines, the inclusive urban culture is embodied everywhere.

Session III: Discussion and Formulation of “7 Keys
During this session, the experts were divided into four groups, covering different SDGs. They discussed, from different directions, what cultural policies and actions that Xi’an should take to promote the localisation of the SDGs further. The experts’ proposals were selected according to specific criteria, and a consensus was finally reached to form the “7 Keys”.

Articulating the “7 Keys”

  • Promote culture to benefit all, and achieve integration, inclusiveness and common prosperity;
  • Practice the concept of harmony between human and the earth, and strengthen natural ecological education;
  • Increase the supply of high-quality cultural products;
  • Strengthen the understanding and education of the intangible cultural heritage and traditional culture;
  • Create a livable and pleasant urban ecological space;
  • Continue the logic line of local history and culture, inherit and carry forward the traditional culture, and build the international metropolis where the inhabitants support and help each other;
  • Strengthen the construction of cultural governance system.

During the closing session of the workshop, Ms. Li Xiaoyan, the Deputy Director of the Xi’an Foreign Affairs Office, summed up the characteristics of this workshop by emphasising three points. First, it was fruitful. The 7-hour discussion formed the Xi’an version’s “7 Keys”; the second is open cooperation. The entire process proceeded with full exchanges and collaboration with the UCLG and its member cities and experts from all spheres in Xi’an. The third is focusing on practice and the future. The workshop is dedicated to the localisation of the United Nations 2030 SDGs and is committed to contributing to Xi’an wisdom and strength to the “Pact for Future.”

Subsequently, Mr. Jordi Pascual, the Cultural Coordinator of the UCLG Cultural Committee has pointed out that Xi’an, the fourth city globally and the first in Asia to conduct the “7 Keys Workshop,” contributed significantly to the SDGs’ localisation. During the release of the 7 points, he fully felt the tense and enthusiastic atmosphere in the venue. He congratulated Xi’an on the complete success of the “7 Keys Workshop.” He believed that the fruits of the workshop will promote the high-quality development of Xi’an and contribute reference value to other international metropolises.

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