The Global Eco Forum, a three-day conference on international environmental protection held in Guiyang, the capital of Guizhou Province, concluded on July 21. At the closing ceremony, the forum released the "Guiyang Consensus" outlining the meeting's achievements.
According to the consensus, China has committed to accelerating its development and transition to a green economy. It also vowed to promote social harmony and inclusive development.
Under the theme of Building Eco-Civilization: Green Transformation and Transition, the forum focuses on sustainable energy efficiency, food safety, ecological agriculture and green architecture, the last of which it sees as the future of real estate and ecological tourism. The forum has attracted more than 1,000 leaders, experts and scholars from around the globe.
A key component of this year's conference was the first China Ecological Products (Technologies) Expo, which kicked off on July 19. CA
The two-day Special Summit of the African Union on HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria concluded on July 16 in Abuja, Nigeria. Under the theme of "Ownership, Accountability and Sustainability of HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria Response in Africa: Past, Present and the Future." The leaders resolved that while the progress achieved so far should be sustained, the continent would have to look beyond 2015 to eradicate these prevalent diseases.
Addressing journalists at the end of the summit, Nigeria's President Goodluck Jonathan, AU Chairman and Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn, and the African Union Commission Chairperson, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, assured attendees on their coordinated and sustained efforts toward eradicating these diseases, which, according to them, have impeded the continent's growth. CA
Joining the WTO
Ethiopia's Ministry of Trade announced that the nation will join the World Trade Organization by 2015. This is in accordance with the time frame laid out in the Growth and Transformation Plan (GTP). Lesanework Zerfu, head of the Multilateral Trade Relations Department of the Ministry, emphasized that, so far, the negotiations were being conducted in a manner that safeguards the national interests of Ethiopia. Currently, there are 159 fully fledged members of the global trading body, while 34 others are on track to become members. CA
Special Economic Zones
Kenya will build special economic zones in the cities of Kisumu, Mombasa and the historic town of Lamu, in the nation's coast region. Director General of the Vision 2030 Delivery Secretariat, Mugo Kibati, said the two cities and Lamu Town will be converted into special manufacturing and service hubs that will supply foreign markets. The Kenyan Government has already set aside 3,400 square km of land for development of these special economic zones. Kenya is adopting the model used by Singapore and China by developing special economic zones, said Kibati. The two countries used the zones to solve issues relating to unemployment and industrialization. CA
Global cereal production is expected to increase by 7 percent in 2013 compared to last year, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) recently announced. However, the FAO also warned that in spite of a boost in supply, various regions including Central Africa, West Africa and Syria are still affected by food insecurity. The FAO forecasts that cereal production this year will reach 2.48 billion tons, a new record level. However, various countries are plagued by conflicts that are preventing the population from satisfying its food needs.
China remained Zimbabwe's largest investor during the first five months of this year, accounting for 74 percent of the $134 million in foreign direct investments pouring into the Southern African country, according to the Zimbabwe Investment Authority. The other top investors to Zimbabwe were Mauritius and South Africa. Zimbabwe is recovering from a decade-old economic meltdown worsened by hyper-inflation in 2008. CA
World Heritage List
The 37th session of UNESCO's World Heritage Committee in July added the Namib Sand Sea to the World Heritage List. The Namib Sand Sea is a unique coastal fog desert with a diverse range of large, shifting dunes, according to a press release from the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). IUCN said that before conservation management began, the area was protected because of its diamond-mining potential, but this potential was never realized. CA
China is constructing a special emergency radio system to spread rescue and relief information in disaster-affected areas. The State General Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television, China National Radio and other departments are jointly building the broadcast network, according to a statement released in July. China currently has no special system for releasing warnings or essential relief information to people in disaster-affected regions. The network is expected to be put into operation by the end of 2015, according to the statement. CA
China International Publishing Group and Yale University jointly launched a multimedia Chinese language teaching program recently. The program, Encounters, targets foreign high school and university students and others interested in learning Chinese. It contains an array of multimedia learning materials. Besides a 20-episode TV series, the program also includes books, DVDs, a website, podcasts and rap songs. CA
Soil Pollution Survey
The Chinese Government plans to conduct a nationwide soil pollution survey, according to a recent statement from the Ministry of Land and Resources. Soil samples will be collected at multiple depths in order to find both the natural condition of the soil and the impact that human activity has had on it, the ministry said. Samples taken at both deep and shallow depths will reveal to what extent chemical elements have affected the soil, but the ministry did not give a precise date for releasing the survey results. The ministry said that previous investigations indicate that some regions are heavily polluted, particularly near the middle and lower reaches of the Yangtze River, the country's longest waterway. CA
In a bid to improve judicial transparency, China's top court has posted judgments online for the first time, the Judicial Management Office of the Supreme People's Court (SPC) said in July. All of the judgments made by the SPC will continue to be publicized on its official website, except those concerning national secrets, trade secrets or personal privacy. The office said that, in order to protect people's legitimate rights, personal information related to the cases, including names, home addresses and ID card numbers, will be redacted before the judgments are posted. CA
China's economy growth during the first half of this year
Number of tourists that visited Tunisia during the first quarter of 2013
China's total planned investment in Uganda in 2012
China export drop in June
The total length of China's national roads and highways by 2030