In 1999, the Center and its Chinese counterparts cosponsored the Leadership Conference on Conservancy and Development. The conference resulted in a comprehensive policy statement, “The Yunnan Initiative.”
From September 13 through 18, 1999, more than 180 experts and observers from China, the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, the United States, Australia, Germany, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, the Netherlands, New Zealand, the Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam participated in the Leadership Conference on Conservancy and Development jointly convened by The Center for United States - China Arts Exchange and Yunnan Provincial Association for Cultural Exchanges with Foreign Countries, in Kunming and Lijiang, Yunnan.
By means of briefings, exhibits, demonstrations, site visits, and presentation and discussion sessions, a wide range of topics were investigated in areas such as the current condition of Yunnan’s culture, ecology, economy and society, and its potential for change; how culture and nature conservancy complement each other and influence economic and social development; strategies for comprehensive and sustainable conservancy while promoting economic growth; and whether Yunnan, in view of its great cultural and ecological diversity, offers appropriate conditions for conceiving globally applicable strategies; and above all, how these deliberations will improve the quality of life and sustain the heritage of each of the 26 nationalities of Yunnan. A rich tapestry of ideas and recommendations emerged from dynamic exchanges between Chinese and international participants and among experts in different professions and with diverse concerns. The following conclusions were reached at the end of the five-day dialogue: