JIANGSU PROVINCE, China – City mayors and organizational leaders from more than 30 countries convened for the 11th World Canal Cities Forum at the Yangzhou Jinghang Convention Center on Oct. 11.

Zheng Jianbiang, vice-chairman of the CPPCC National Committee, stressed the importance of canals in the city to its people.

Canals, he said, play a vital role in human civilization.

“The canal is the precious wealth that the ancestors left us, the people of Canal city lived and lived for generations, and created a splendid canal culture, which is an important part of human civilization,” Zheng said.

He said the forum is not only aimed at promoting the Chinese Grand Canal, but also set up a very important platform of communication and cooperation.

The forum, he added, sought to bring together the support power of the global canal cause and contribute wisdom in promoting the conservation and utilization of the canal culture in various areas inthe world.

“I believe that through the holding of this forum and the joint efforts of the distinguished guests, we will be able to form the latest achievements in protecting the use of the canal culture and promote the integration of canal culture and Canal city to a new level,” he said.

Wang Jiang, deputy governor of Jiangsu Province, discussed in his speech how China's Grand Canal shaped Jiangsu and some countries like Panama.

“The canal is a great feat of human transformation of nature, a magnificent epic engraved on the earth, making an important contribution to advancing human progress,” Wang said. “The canal, which has created numerous economic booms, affluent people and cultural prosperity, is the most important channel for international maritime trade, with the Panama Canal connecting the Pacific and the Atlantic ocean, making Panama the most vibrant and prosperous metropolis in the world.”

He added that the Grand Canal helped shape Jiangsu's famous cities, towns and villages.

The forum, he said, sought to bolster committment on environmental protection of the canal, and pushes for the implementation of the most stringent ecological environmental protection system, and creation of a cultural landmark of water ecology.

There are thousands of canals in the world, with the World Historic and Cultural Cities Cooperation Organization (WCCO) listing at least 188 members in its group.

Among the list are 73 canal cities, 17 institutions, 23 companies and 17 individuals.

Tagaytay City, Philippines is one of the active members of WCCO.

Themed “Protection, Inheretance, and Utilization of Canal Cities' Culture,” the forum was hosted by WCCO, China National Committee for Pacific Economic Cooperation, Jiangsu Grand Canal Cultural Belt Construction, CPC Yangzhou Municipal Committee, and ASEAN China Center. (PNA)