It is with great pleasure that we bring you this inaugural issue of One Belt, One Road.
Possibly no one trade route anywhere has such visionary, mystical and exuberant traits as the Silk Road. With a history of over 2000 years, the Road has emerged as a prominent network of nations, cities and communities along a vast geographical expanse going beyond the original Asian region to now embrace large territories covering Africa and Europe too. In addition, the activities now encompass more than serving as a thoroughfare for trade and commerce, the original purpose; the network now aims to facilitate cultural exchange and cooperation and spur development across the countries and communities of the region.
While many of the countries in the One Belt, One Road are developing economies, they exhibit good potential for rapid economic growth in the near term. These nations are presented with a unique window of opportunity for inclusive and sustained economic growth by leveraging improvement in infrastructure and greater cooperation among each other.
The objectives are wide-ranging and include friendly relations, economic and trade cooperation, preserving heritage, mutual understanding and establishing institutions including a Cities Forum and the Business Council. This publication is an initiative by UCLG ASPAC to create a platform for communication and knowledge sharing among the people along the silk roads. The communication would include sharing of good practices of cities, communities and governments, insights on developmental issues including challenges facing the region and cultivate greater cooperation among the people.
The publication is aimed to specifically support local governments along the silk roads by bringing together views and practices in a platform that encourages effective debate, dialogue and deliberation to enable better habitats along the Silk Road. In this inaugural issue, we address the broad theme of sustainability. This subject is crucially important to every region of the world.
In the context of widespread concern over global warming and environmental degradation and the need to bolster innovation and bring scale to the green economy, cities and local governments are looking to boost cooperation and engagement among regions, countries, cities and communities in their efforts towards a safer and more sustainable planet. We bring together viewpoints from various leaders and experts, and happenings from various locations in the Silk Road and hope to add meaningfully to the discourse on a sustainable, inclusive future.
For us at UCLG ASPAC, putting together this first issue of One Belt One Road has been an inspiring exercise. A task as crucial and large is likely to generate debate and bring forth ideas for improvement. We shall look forward to feedback from our esteemed readers. We hope you will find this issue engaging, enlightening and stimulating.