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News Release for the Signing Ceremony of the “Lumbini Buddist Cultural Special Zone” Project


Hu Yuandong (left), Director of the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) and Xiao Wunan (right), Executive Vice Chairman of APECF

On 15 July 2011 in Beijing, the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) and the Asia Pacific Exchange and Cooperation Foundation (APECF) jointly held an official signing ceremony for the Memorandum of Understanding in support for the Lumbini Special Cultural Zone and the Assistance Project for the Framework Design of Lumbini (Birthplace of Buddha) Special Development Zone (Nepal) . The agreements represent the official launch of UNIDO’s support of the Lumbini project.

Lumbini is the historically famous and sacred land where Buddha Shakyamuni was born about 2,500 years ago. It is designated as a world cultural heritage site by the United Nations. The region is 171 km from Nepal’s capital Kathmandu. At present, China, Sri Lanka, Thailand and other countries have built several temples there. But due to the undeveloped infrastructure - particularly transportation, communications, and electricity, as well as the lack of a comprehensive development plan, this cultural site has not received the ideal cultural protection and integrated economic utility. Based on these and other reasons, APECF and the Nepalese Government signed on June 2011 the Cooperative Framework Agreement of Lumbini Integrated Development.

Given that the trend global multiculturalism convergence continues, the Lumbini Buddist Cultural Special Zone project will be rooted in its rich cultural and spiritual resources. Domestic and overseas financial support will be combined to make Buddha’s birthplace at Lumbini a channel and strategic center point for promoting Buddhist culture to the world. It will also display a Buddhist cultural integrated platform for exchanges and lectures, making the site a spiritual, sacred land for Buddhist followers worldwide.

The preliminary plan for Lumbini Cultural Special Zone will include central, integrated, local, and facilities areas. The Special Zone’s design and construction will fully integrate Buddhist cultural history and innovation and represent Buddhism’s motion and tranquility. The architecture of the project will feature the latest ecological architectural concepts for sustainable management for the Special Zone. In addition, the project emphasizes integration of commercial and public interests. While the infrastructure construction is a commercial project, its meaning transcends commerce by fostering international public service. In order to achieve this goal, we need people from all fields to participate in the comprehensive discussions and to obtain the maximum support from the various governments, cultural organizations, and public service funds.

Under the support and supervision of the Nepal Government, APECF will focus on establishing the following organizations to promote Lumbini Buddhist Special Cultural Zone:

1. Governmental and civil cooperation level: “Lumbini Buddhist Cultural Special Zone Supervision Committee”
2. Professional Level: “Lumbini Buddhist Cultural Special Zone Experts Advisory Committee
3. Project Execution Level: “Lumbini Buddhist Cultural Special Administration Committee”.
4. Resource Integration Level:“The World Buddhism Peace Fund”;
5. Buddhist Participation Level: “Special Guests Seats at the Special Zone, and the invitation of the Buddhist followers from all over the world to participate the contraction, management and operation in this special cultural zone.

As for the progression of the project plan, the design for the Project concept and overall plan is expected to be completed by the 4th quarter of 2011. At the second quarter of 2012, the bidding and evaluation of the architectural design, and confirm the final architectural design will be completed; currently, the communication of the project is under the study and inspection. The preparation work concerning the integrated development of Lumbini Project and its related aspects is underway in a timely order. According to the current situation and the information obtained, this great project has received both the full support from the Buddhists representing different parties (MAHAYANA, HINAYANA, TIBETAN), and been warmly welcomed by various entities, including international organizations and entities, NGOs, investment industry, enterprises and governments. Our hope is that this project will achieve great success for our generation and benefit our many future generations to come. We can say that the value and meaning of this Special Zone will be recognized by more and more people with each passing moment.

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