UNESCO – CHIC Group (China) Biosphere Integrated Rural Urbanization Programme (BIRUP)
The Biosphere Integrated Rural Urbanization Programme (BIRUP) in the Ba’nan District, Chongqing (China) promotes green economies based on integrated rural land consolidation with new agricultural projects, training of farmers and expansion of urbanized rural villages in-line with the UNESCO MAB Biosphere Reserve concept.
Throughout the world, the gap between rural and urban incomes, social security and employment opportunities is a major development issue. Many governments are therefore seeking ways of helping poor rural farmers and workers to escape poverty.
While rural communities, including those of China, tend to be less relatively well endowed with financial capital than those of urban area, they are stewards of immense wealth in terms of the natural capital contained in the ecosystems that provide vital goods and services for the entire population. One example of such capital is land suitable for agriculture.
This said, food security requires more efficient and highly productive agriculture. Use of modern agricultural technology, high quality seeds and plant stocks, and efficient marketing requires larger farm units than those typically cultivated by small farmers.
To find a way to answer these questions, China has been seeking solutions within the basic principles of its fundamental land ownership system. These solutions take a long-term city and region approach, by establishing practically the comprehensive coordination between rural-urban interactions in order to minimize poverty, improve environment and promote human well-being.
An extension of local successes in co-operative specialised production is being developed by the co-operation of Ba’nan District, Chongqing, the CHIC Company and UNESCO MAB under the BIRUP programme.
Objective of the Programme
The programme seeks to integrate rural land consolidation with new agricultural projects, training of farmers, expansion of urbanised rural villages, crop production, food processing, training, education and a new sustainable, high tech education and science entrepreneur city, emphasising agricultural, agribusiness and rural sciences.
The BIRUP programme will be a major first step in building a new and more harmonious relationship between peoples living in urban areas and the surrounding rural zones on which they are so dependent for ecosystem goods and services, such as clean water, food, renewable energy and recreational opportunities. What is done in Ba’nan, Chongqing, is likely to be applicable elsewhere in Asia and in other continents. The programme also facilitates exchange and learning among urban areas, BIRUP pilot sites, and UNESCO biosphere reserves.