Mark Simmonds, Parliamentary Undersecretary of State in the UK Commonwealth Office, is in Chongqing today promoting the international climate change cooperation and cementing UK-Chongqing’s partnership in delivering a sustainable future.
Mr. Simmonds’ visit coincides with the new Visa Application Centre (VAC) launch in Chongqing. The VAC officially opened today to an audience of media and key travel trade, business and education representatives with an interest in facilitating travel to the UK. The VAC boosts capacity and offers a better service for the thousands of people visiting the UK each year.
After attending the VAC launch ceremony, Mr. Simmonds went to Chongqing University and delivered a speech on “Climate Change: Politics, Economics and Partnerships”, to an audience of 200 students from Chongqing University. The university, with its prominent environment science and engineering prowess in southwest China, offers a natural podium for promoting UK-China climate change collaboration. He argued that climate change, which affects human health, global food security, and economic development, should be in centre of public debate on both national and international level. It poses an economic challenge, but also an opportunity. He appealed for greater UK and China work hand in addressing it, and maintains the two are natural partners.
The British Consulate-General Chongqing has long been actively working with the local partners in pushing forwards its sustainable development agenda. The last highlight of Mr. Simmond’s Chongqing visit was to sign a Memorandum of Understanding on UK-Chongqing collaboration on tackling climate change. It specifies six areas across policy, industry, urbanisation, green finance, technology and capacity building, with some cooperation underneath already underway or about to begin. This is a further milestone in our years of joint work on this agenda.
At the VAC launch ceremony, Mr. Simmond said:
I am delighted to be here in Chongqing today to celebrate the UK’s partnership with this important city, and to lay the foundations for future co-operation. And what I have seen and done today shows that the future is bright. This new MoU on tackling low climate change is a real boost to our work in this important area - where the UK and Chongqing are natural partners - and opening the new visa application centre will make it easier than ever for more locals to come to the UK for both business and pleasure.