UNIDO, APECF sign memo for development project in Buddha's birthplace

By Xinhua
Buddhistdoor Global | 2011-07-17 |

The United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) signed a memorandum with the Asia Pacific Exchange and Cooperation Foundation (APECF) in Beijing Friday, indicating its official support for building Lumbini, the birthplace of Buddha, into a special cultural zone in Nepal.

The two groups signed the Memorandum of Understanding in Support for the Lumbini Special Cultural Zone and Assistance Project for the Framework Design of Lumbini (Birthplace of Buddha) Special Development Zone (Nepal).

The Lumbini project is in compliance with the UNIDO's principles of economy, environment and employment, said Hu Yuandong, head of the UNIDO's China investment and technology promotion office.

Hu said at a news briefing following the signing ceremony that the UNIDO first proposed setting up the cultural zone 20 years ago, but that their efforts to do so failed until now.

Xiao Wunan, vice chairman of the APECF, said that the Nepalese government has given its full support for the creation of the Lumbini Special Cultural Zone, while a large number of institutions and individuals have also shown great interest in participating in the project.

The development of infrastructure will be at the top of the agenda, as Xiao himself said that he experienced enormous inconvenience during his recent tours of the Lumbini area. During the APECF delegation's visit to Lumbini, the Nepalese government had to transport Xiao and his colleagues by helicopter because of poor road conditions in the area.

Great efforts must be made to build roads, telecommunications networks and tourist facilities in the area, Xiao said, noting that millions of pilgrims and tourists are expected to flood into the area once the cultural zone takes shape.

About 2,500 years ago, Buddha Sakyamuni was born in Lumbini, which has since become a sacred destination for Buddhists around the world. Lumbini is a world cultural heritage site designated by the United Nations.

The APECF is a Hong Kong-based non-government organization (NGO), with a goal of promoting economic, social and cultural exchanges and cooperation around the world, particularly in the Asia-Pacific region.

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