UNWTO and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) have formally launched the UN Silk Road City Awards Scheme within the
framework of the Silk Road Initiative (SRI), which is to be implemented in the coming months. The key aims of the Initiative are to improve policy
and legal conditions for trade, to attract investment to the region, and to promote and attract tourism.
The SRI was established in 2003 to enhance regional cooperation and development in the areas of trade, investment and tourism for the Silk
Road region. The Initiative currently involves the participation of the Governments of China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and
Uzbekistan. As the Initiative develops, there are plans to expand the participation to other Silk Road countries. The overarching goal of the
Initiative is to help the region meet the Millennium Development Goals of reducing poverty and promoting growth and equality.
The UN Silk Road City Awards, which
will be held biennially, will bestow the title of UN Silk Road City to cities
in the participating countries which demonstrate their historic ties to the Silk Road and how a city’s traditions and culture have influenced its
modernisation and development. Cities will also be evaluated against a range of additional criteria to assess their commitment to sustainable
tourism, cultural preservation and environmental protection, existing facilities and
services and community awareness.
aims to play a key role in highlighting the cultural wealth and diversity of the Silk Road and its tourism attractions and help raise greater awareness of the
region internationally, and strengthen dialogue and cooperation among stakeholders at all levels.
An Eminent Persons Group (EPG) has been established for the awards scheme to act as an independent panel of experts for the awards and
provide guidance for its further development. The first meeting of the Eminent Persons Group (EPG) was held at the UNWTO headquarters in
Madrid on 5th December to discuss the implementation of the initiative and agree on a broad strategy for its further development.
UNWTO and UNDP have invited a select group of high-level international experts from a wide range of professional fields to serve as EPG
members and contribute their knowledge and expertise to the scheme.
Mr. Khalid Malik, UNDP Resident Representative for China, described the
Silk Road as “the first wave of globalisation” and highlighted the need to develop “new institutions and mechanisms to facilitate tourism” as a
means of delivering greater prosperity.
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