HONG KONG--(BUSINESS WIRE)--How should cities respond to the ‘new normal’ of geopolitical shifts and an economic environment of low growth, low inflation, low productivity, low oil prices and low interest rates?
How can cities become resilient and smart? How can innovations within the built environment drive productivity gains and spur growth?
These were just some of the globally significant challenges put to leaders this week during the Annual Summit of the World Built Environment Forum held in Shanghai, China*.
More than 700 participants from 20 countries and 73 cities participated in this high level platform convened by RICS, a global professional body working across land, real estate, construction and infrastructure.
Discussions explored the challenges of geopolitical shifts, urban resilience and green infrastructure through the lens of China’s ‘One Belt, One Road’ (OBOR) economic development initiative. OBOR connects emerging centres of growth around the world through infrastructure, trade and investment.
Statistics provided by research institutions around the world, indicate that the initiative is expected to cover 70% of the world’s population, 75% of its energy resources and 55% of global GDP**.
Participants recognised that OBOR could potentially raise the prosperity of an estimated 4.4bn people living in the 65 nations along the Belt and Road routes. In order to achieve this potential, the summit heard that infrastructure projects had to be properly scoped, carefully planned and professionally implemented.
As an initiative with international reach, OBOR’s success required common professional and technical standards. Harmonisation of these standards would support market transparency and common approaches by professionals, globally, to deliver projects competently, consistently and ethically.
Ivy Yin, Executive Vice President, Shanghai Oriental Investment Supervision Co. Ltd called on industry and governments to “strengthen the connection between Chinese and international standards” to ensure a consistent set of definitions and benchmarks for projects spanning national borders.
Vincent Lo, Chairman of Shui On Group and the Hong Kong Trade and Development Council, emphasized the central importance of uniform standards and international recognition of professional qualifications to deliver OBOR projects as efficiently as possible.
“With technology, innovation and shared professional standards, we can build a sustainable future while achieving growth and integration,” Lo said.
A number of high profile speakers also supported the case for international benchmarks that support the economies of China, Asia more broadly and partners across the world.
“We need to build a state-of-the-art, environmental friendly pan-Asian infrastructure network that is based on national, bi-lateral and sub-regional projects.” Hongtao Zhang, Counsellor of the State Council in China.
Sir Danny Alexander, Vice President and Corporate Secretary of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) echoed this by saying, “There are significant opportunities for both public and private capital in green infrastructure as drivers of better connectivity.”
In opening the two-day summit, former Deputy Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Dr. Zhu Min, set out the macroeconomic context for discussions. He alerted decision makers, industry leaders and investors to the urgency of finding and re-establishing financial stability in global markets. ‘Globalisation is at an inflection point. This is the beginning of a new global political era,’ he noted.
The Annual Summit offers a regular meeting place for the World Built Environment Forum to discuss some of the most pressing global challenges and identify solutions by engaging leaders across the built environment sector. Held in a different urban hub every year, the summit looks at the sector through a holistic lens, bringing together stakeholders from all aspects of the sector to explore common issues. The third Annual Summit will be held in London, United Kingdom in 2018. For more information, visit the new summit website at www.wbeflondon2018.com.
RICS wishes to thank all delegates, sponsors and partners for their generous support.
Notes to Editors:
* The Annual Summit was held on 27 and 28 March in Shanghai, China.
** Statistics provided by the T-20, the research forum of the Group of 20: http://www.t20china.org/displaynews.php?id=413523
RICS is a global professional body. We promote and enforce the highest professional qualification and standards in the development and management of land, real estate, construction and infrastructure. Our name promises the consistent delivery of standards – bringing confidence to the markets we serve. Global Media Contacts
About the World Built Environment Forum
The World Built Environment Forum (WBEF) is a global network of professionals who create and manage the environments the world needs. It sets the standard for dialogue and cooperation that is vital for our sector. The Built Environment has become the focal point for the most pressing global issues: migration and urbanization; housing supply and affordability; infrastructure and resilience; technology and data; climate, carbon & resource scarcity, and ultimately responsible growth.