Launched on March 15th, 2017, the new European Union project “International Urban Cooperation: Sustainable and Innovative Cities and Regions – Regional Action Asia” (IUC Asia) focuses on city-level climate action which will help make concrete the changes necessary to achieve the national Paris Agreement goals while, equally importantly, improving the daily lives of a city’s residents. In this interest, the project, driven by the European Commission’s DG REGIO and China’s National Development and Reform Commission, seeks solutions in transportation solutions, air quality improvement, greening of urban environments, and reducing congestion in cities.
The program has identified five cities in China for city-to-city cooperation with suitable counterparts in Europe. These cities are Chongqing, Zhengzhou, the Changchun/Jingyue Economic Zone, Shantou, and Longyan. The program will run for a minimum of one year and foster the development of new solutions through learning from good practices, sharing experiences and knowledge, forming new public-private partnerships with significant international stakeholders, showcasing best practice and achievements, and, finally, implementing the visions together with partner cities.
This project is a reflection of a shared interest among Chinese and EU authorities to explore how the two parties can support each other in pursuing their national climate agendas and improving sustainability. This was formalized in the launch of the EU-China Forum on Sustainable Urban Development on March 20th and organized by the China Center for Urban Development and the National Development and Reform Commission, with its organizers stating the Forum’s official goal as promoting a new model of urbanization and reducing the influence of climate change on mutual development.
These actions are in line with the actions of more than 2,500 cities across the world and supported by research and expert opinions which suggest that, at this stage, the focus in realizing sustainable solutions is shifting from the national—the Paris Agreement having established overarching goals—to cities