EC-LINK NEWS

EC-Link Project and IGDP Met to Strengthen Their Cooperation
11 Apr, 2019

EC Link and the iGDP (innovative Green Development Program) met in Beijing in order to strengthen their cooperation in light of their common interest to support local municipalities in developing low carbon projects and verify opportunities of cooperation.

iGDP is the executing agency of the Green and Low Carbon Development Think Tank Partnership (GDTP) and committee member of Green Finance Committee of the China Society for Finance and banking. In order to tackle climate change challenges, IGDP’s mission is to advance robust policies and actions to address green growth challenges, create analytical tools, share professional knowledge, and facilitate multidisciplinary dialogues that foster integrated solutions for regions, cities and communities.

EC-Link and iGDP agreed to work in linking their massive network developed throughout their extensive programs. Indeed, while EC-Link focused its attention in supporting the dialogue among Chinese and European cities, iGDP set up the Green Low-Carbon Development Think Tank Partnership (GDTP), an informal platform that brings together China’s leading low-carbon research institutes, economists, and well-known energy and environmental experts. 

Moreover, EC-Link and iGDP share common interests also in the development of specific programs within municipal green finance sector and Belt & Road Initiative.

EC-Link Project and iGDP will continue their dialogue also to verify opportunities for the development of trainings, workshops and forum on green finance and low carbon policies sectors.

EC-Link Project and CCUD Met to Strengthen Their Cooperation
09 Apr, 2019

EC Link and the CCUD (China Center for Urban Development) met in Beijing in order to strengthen their cooperation in light of their common interest to support local municipalities in developing green sustainable solutions.

CCUD is a public institution under the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC). Since its establishment in 1998, it has been providing guidance to pilot cities and towns for urban development across China; formulating hundreds of socio-economic development plans, spatial development plans and land use plans for local governments; building financial platforms to serve urbanization, urban development and smart city construction; organizing multiple high-level international forums on urbanization and urban development; and building itself as national top think tank on new urbanization.

China is posing itself in front of a unique set of urban challenges that rapidly need to be addressed to ensure that Chinese cities remain liveable, productive and sustainable. As China’s urbanization rate is slated to grow over 60%, the need to address these urban challenges is all the more pressing.

With a shared vision and common interest in supporting Chinese cities’ sustainable development, EC Link and CCUD agreed to work together enlarging and exchanging their network in order to provide better solutions to Chinese municipalities. Moreover, both organizations will cooperate in organizing joint actions and initiatives in multiple sectors, such as compact urban development, transport planning and management, urban energy management and sustainable industry development.

EC-LINK Project Participating at The CCICED Roundtable Meeting In The Netherlands
08 Apr, 2019

On April 8, 2019 EC-Link Project was invited to participate at the CCICED round table meeting held in The Hague (Netherlands). 

The China Council for International Cooperation on Environment and Development (CCICED) was founded in 1992 as a high-level international advisory body, it serves as a platform for exchanges on environment and development policies between China and the international communities, for promoting collaborative efforts to achieve ecological civilization, and for advocating innovative and better governance system of the global environment. 

The round table meeting has organized to discuss how urbanization processes and patterns might influence environmental improvement, in both China and elsewhere in the world. During these discussions, the Task Force on Green Urbanization and Environmental Improvement showed preliminary results from its Special Policy Studies (SPSs). International experts from China, the Netherlands, Germany, Austria and Belgium have presented their research findings and case studies and reflected on the SPSs preliminary results, from the perspective of Chinese urban development towards 2035. 

EC-LINK project provided its extensive experience on green urbanization in China & in Europe, providing useful insights to all international experts. The Project will continue the dialogue with CCICED and the cooperation with cross sections’ international & domestic organizations and experts in order to support adequate development and implementation of strategy & policy in Chinese green urbanization sector. 

EC-Link Project Participated at the Fifteenth International Conference on Green and Energy-Efficient Building & New Technologies and Products Expo
03 Apr, 2019

The EC-Link Project, funded by the European Union (DG DEVCO) in cooperation with the Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development (MoHURD), participated in the Fifteenth International Conference on Green and Energy-Efficient Building & New Technologies and Products Expo held in Shenzhen on April 3-4, 2019. During the event, high level European and Chinese speakers introduced and shared practical experiences of on-going EU-China International Programs in the Green Building Sector.

The EC-Link Project hosted a Forum entitled: “Sino-Europe Green Building & City Forum”.

The Forum saw also the participation of Local Government representatives, academicians, and Chinese private companies. Main objective of the Forum was to introduce European experiences and best practices in the Green Building Sector. It received great appreciation from the participating Chinese stakeholders, both in terms of knowledge sharing and potential for future cooperation with the Project (http://www.eclink.org/eclink/en/frontpage).

Andrea Claser, Team Leader of the EC-Link Project, introduced the Project and its purposes,highlighting the work it is doing to support the dialogue between European and Chinese cities and the correlated introduction of best practices among multiple sectors, such as: sustainable urban planning, green building, as well us water and waste management and municipal green finance.

At the Forum, the following Chinese and European experts were invited: GUO Zhenwei - Deputy Director, Green Building Research Center, Chinese Society for Urban Studies; Dirk Schwede - Director,Energy Design (Shanghai) Co. Ltd.; WU Zhetao - Design Director, ISA-designLtd.co; Peter Sailer - Project Director, Sino-German Urbanization Partnership,GIZ and Stefan Schirmer - Senior Architect, German Energy Agency (DENA).

The focus of all presentations was to find,analysing different scales and angles, a successful correlation between energy efficiency and green building sector so to have greener urban development.

On the scale of green building, great attention was given to the importance of selecting the right technological solution according on different levels in terms of climate and resource efficiency. Mr. GUO Zhenwei introduced the practice that CSUS made which integrates the German DGNB system, British BREEM system and French HQE system by ‘dual certification’. Mr.Dirk Schwede introduced active house technologies analysing present policies and technologies and providing practical suggestions for their effective introduction within Chinese market. Mr. Stefan Schirmer explained dena’s approaches on promoting net-zero energy consumption building in hot and humid area. 

Moreover, speakers also touched upon the energy-saving approaches on city level. Mr. WU Zhetao introduced the concept of “living with ocean” facing climate change, and their practices in applying the concept into urban design, industry development and ecological environment of coastal cities in Europe and China. Mr. Peter Sailer explained the Energy Efficiency Policy in Germany, which provides a package of tools in order to reach the goal of reducing 40% GHG emission by 2025 (comparing to 1990).

The EC-Link Project is fully committed in supporting Chinese municipalities in reaching such ambitious goals. Indeed, the participation to the Expo, was also an occasion to meet with cities’ representatives, such as Zhuzhou, so to improve on-going cooperation activities.

For instance, in the frame of the pilot actions implemented by EC-Link in agreement with the cities of Guilin and Zhuzhou, a research paper “Design guidelines for energy-efficient residential buildings in the hot summer and cold winter climate zones in China” was elaborated, through the academic cooperation of Chinese and EU experts aimed at guiding Chinese cities not only on strategies and policies, but also on the best practices from European and Chinese cities.

Another pilot action, involving the Zhuzhou Municipality and the Stuttgart University, is on-going.It aims at contributing to the development of a localized Energy-efficient building code. Moreover, EC-Link is also cooperating with Qingdao municipality to develop municipal green finance projects for comprehensive energy efficiency improvement project for existing buildings; a similar cooperation will start soon also with Zhuzhou municipality.

“Green” is increasingly becoming a competitive selling point, as more and more Chinese municipalities and developers are placing a focus on green construction.

Reducing energy consumption in the building sector is one of the most important measures for global energy reduction and climate adaptation. The adoption of state-of-the-art green building technologies and solutions is a key part of China’s sustainability and environmental protection goals. Europe can support such significant developments with the necessary expertise in the full supply chain,covering planning & design, construction and operational stages. Scientific development philosophy must be steadily created and seriously implemented, so is the concept of urban sustainable development.

The EC-Link Project will continue its work to sustain cooperation and dialogue among European and Chinese cities so to support the best exchange of knowledge within the green building sector.

EC-Link Project in Qingdao to Develop Technical Training on Municipal Green Finance
02 Apr, 2019

EC-Link held a technical training on Green Municipal Finance in Qingdao meant to support Qingdao HURD and technical stakeholders (Sino-German Eco Park, China State Construction Engineering Corporation, China Academy of Building Research, and China Energy Conservation and Environmental Protection Group) ECin developing municipal green finance projects.

In particular, the focus of the training was to assist Qingdao agencies in the financial planning of their projects so to link them to potential finance funds, banks and projects such as the Shandong Green Development Fund (SGDF), Felicity Project, KfW, ADB, AFD, etc.

Mr. Liu Yuyong, deputy director of the Housing and Rural-Urban Development Bureau, attended the meeting. He emphasized how, in recent years, the Bureau has comprehensively promoted green buildings by focusing on the concepts of green development and “transformation from old to new driving forces”. By leveraging on the opportunities of China-EU and Sino-German on-going cooperation, Qingdao established a green eco-zone index system and a low-carbon eco-city expert cooperation mechanism and adopted the international concept of green city to promote the construction of ecological urban areas such as in the Sino-German Eco Park.

EC Link Team, together with Qingdao HURD, conducted a set of site visits and worked with local project teams on data collection to have a better understanding of to the projects and effectively assess their potential for receiving future financing.

Indeed, EC Link Project plans to support the launching of one (or more) pilot project on municipal green financing in Qingdao. Through the introduction of capital coming from the Asian Development Bank, Kfw as well as Shandong Green Development Fund, it will be possible so to enhance and expand international cooperation in the municipal green finance sector.

China Urban Green Finance – Third Network Meeting
18 Mar, 2019

EC-Link Project organized the China Urban Green Finance - Third Network Meeting at the European Embassy in Beijing. In line with on-going EC-Link Project’s activities, the Meeting was organized so to provide:

  • An overview of Green Finance investment framework in China;
  • Taxonomy of mechanisms to support Green Finance;
  • Assess the China case in relation to actual programs of support; 
  • Provide some recommendations on potential gaps which future support could bridge.

The meeting saw the participation of more than 40 people representing major European and Chinese stakeholders involved in the municipal green finance sector.

Within three hours of active discussion, Participants focused their attention towards three main topics:

  1. Ms. Jiu Miao (Director, Technology Promotion Center, MoHURD), presented “Outlooks and prospects of China’s green buildings and green industry”; focusing on ways to potential cooperation between the E.U. and China, hopefully setting same standards for green buildings;and due to present subsidies exist for green buildings in 14 Chinese provinces, how it’s possible incentivize developers to introduce in China best available technique within the sector.
  2. Mr. Christoph Nedopil Wang (Director of Greening the BRI, IIGF) presented “Green urban transport in China: an opportunity for green finance”; focusing on how to align the two worlds of green transportation design/tech/engineering and municipal green finance; highlighting how, due to the lack of knowledge within the transport sector, the finance community can contribute by spreading awareness within the sector.
  3. Finally, Mr. Gregor Grossman (Junior Advisor, Sustainable Infrastructure Alliance - GIZ), made a presentation on “Sustainable infrastructure standards in China and support for municipal green finance projects”; highlighting how there are standards differences between sectors as well as differences between countries. Standards need to use sustainability criteria that make it possible to compare projects across regions and countries. So, the standard has to have a certain amount of flexibility to set international best practice.

EC-LINK Project is doing city-level cooperation and communication work in China and providing green finance assistance. It will continue its work in order to sustain an effective dialogue between Chinese Municipalities and main Chinese and International Banks and Funds.

EC-Link Project To Support Luoyang HURD And Yibin District Actions In “Waste Management And Belt And Road Initiative”
06 Mar, 2019

On March 6th, 2019, EC-Link Project performed a mission to Luoyang with the purpose of strengthening cooperation with local HURD and Yibin District. 

EC-Link’s Delegation met with Luoyang HURD represented by Ms. Wang Fenjuan, the deputy director. EC-Link was asked to plan a series of joint trainings within the solid waste management sector, one of the 7 main sectors covered by the Project.

As explained during the meeting, Luoyang Municipality, through the work performed by Luoyang Van Resource Ltd, has the intention of developing a “comprehensive solid waste system” meant to create a sustainable and replicable method to manage construction waste generated every year by the Municipality.

To reach such an ambitious goal, local HURD and EC-Link will cooperate in the organization of a series of trainings dedicated both to public and private representatives, providing relevant and practical insights on Europe’s most advanced experience in the separation, classification and management of construction waste.

The Project will also allow Luoyang to strengthen the long-lasting cooperation with European municipalities and companies able to promptly answer to their needs.

EC-Link Delegation met also with Yibin District represented by Mr. Zhang Minkai, the deputy director.

Under the strong support of Luoyang Municipality, Yibin District is expected to become a future “Chinese ecological and environmental showcase” with the aim of finding the synthesis between local sustainable development and successful business development.

District’s representatives explained that the approved plan will focus towards three main areas: 

  • Improvement of present agricultural sector; 
  • Introduction of upscaling manufacturing solutions, and 
  • The development of a scientific innovation incubator.

On this regard, being Luoyang one of the main starting points of the “Belt and Road Initiative”, it was also proposed to EC-Link to jointly develop a research on “Industrial Innovation” reflecting the so-called Made in China 2025 strategy inspired by Germany’s “Industry 4.0” strategy.

This ambitious Plan, following the strong commitment and desire expressed by Yibin District and Luoyang Municipality, will have to be settled following best European experience with the final goal of initiating the “Sino-Europe (Luoyang) International Cooperation Industrial Park” destined to attract the best international enterprises and talents together for the creation of a liveable and eco-sustainable environment.

EC-Link Project Supporting the Overall Strategy and Policy on Building “Zhuhai Resilient City”
04 Mar, 2019

On 4 March 2019, Dutch experts from World Waternet (Amsterdam) and Palmboute Urban Landscape (Rotterdam) gave a presentation on resilient city development within the framework of Revision Zhuhai Urban Planning and Technical Standard and Guidelines. 

The assignment is under the EC-LINK project and was requested by Zhuhai Housing and Urban & Rural Development Bureau in 2018. 

The research paper will give an overall strategy and policy direction on building resilient city Zhuhai. At the same time, it will provide specific technical figures and examples of resilience on building and neighborhood levels, which will guide Zhuhai’s future sustainable urban development. 

The presentation was well received by the representatives from Zhuhai Housing and Urban & Rural Development Bureau, Zhuhai Urban Planning & Design Research Institute and Zhuhai Architectural Design Research Institute. The research report will be adjusted according to comments from Zhuhai Municipality and will be finalized by the end of March, 2019. 

EC-Link Project Meets With ETS and ECECP, On-going EU-China Cooperation Projects 
29 Jan, 2019

On January 28, 2019, EC-Link Team met with ETS (EU-China Emission Trading System) and ECECP (EU-China Energy Cooperation Platform), in order to strengthen on-going dialogue and verify opportunities of cooperation. 

During the initial discussion, it was highlighted that the overall objective of ETS project is to enhance cooperation with China on climate change by establishing a regular political dialogue on emission trading and continuing to support China in building a nation-wide emission trading system that contributes to reduce its emissions. To this end, the project pursues two more specific objectives: the first one is to establish and then reinforce a political dialogue between China and the EU on the development of emission trading in both constituencies; the second objective is to support China in building its national emission trading system. 

On the other hand ECECP, a 3.5 million Euro project aimed at enhancing the EU-China cooperation on energy. This enhanced cooperation should help increase mutual trust and understanding between China and the EU and contribute to a global transition towards clean energy on the basis of a common vision of a sustainable, reliable and secure energy system. Reinforce the political dialogue between China and the EU and create conditions for better access for EU business to energy-related markets is key elements for the implementation of the ECECP.

Thanks to the open dialogue, it was agreed a multi-level approach:

  • EC-Link Project, together with ETS Project, will verify opportunities to develop cooperation for the development of trainings for Chinese officials, in particular related to the on-going work performed by EC-link in green financing and how integrate that together with the on-going ETS system.
  • EC-Link, together with ECECP, will verify opportunities to organize joint event to support the introduction of European clean energy solution within Chinese municipalities in particular in the area of district heating, hot-cooling systems, and for the sustainable introduction of clean energy solutions.
EC Link Project and the SIA Meet to Strengthen Their Cooperation
14 Jan, 2019

EC Link and the SIA (the Sustainable Infrastructure Alliance) met in Beijing in order to strengthen their cooperation in light of their common interest to support local municipalities in developing green sustainable projects.

The Sustainable Infrastructure Alliance (SIA) is a partnership between the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH and Global Infrastructure Basel Foundation (GIB) with the goal of mainstreaming sustainable infrastructure in emerging economies. To achieve this, the SIA is working with project developers, financiers, and the public sector to create a market for third-party verified infrastructure standards that help link sustainable projects to finance. 

In 2019, the SIA will continue its outreach to stakeholders in China, train local auditors to apply international sustainability standards, and certify the first group of sustainable and resilient infrastructure projects.

With a shared vision of using green finance to fund sustainable infrastructure for resilient cities, EC Link and the SIA agreed to work together enlarging and exchanging their network in order to provide better solutions to Chinese municipalities; moreover, both organization will cooperate in organizing joint actions and initiatives in multiple sectors, such as green financing, circular economy, green consumption & public procurement and low carbon urban planning.

EC-Link Project Cooperating with Zhuhai In Flood Risk Management
10 Dec, 2018

On December 10-13, 2018, EC-Link Team, together with European experts, went to Zhuhai in line with on-going activates related to flood risk management, sea level raise and salinization of sweet water.

In specific the discussion focussed on the best solutions to protect the coastal area located in the East side of the city, at North of Qian Huan new development area. This area was strongly affected by the typhoons during last summer, that generated 31,4 billion RMB of damages, destroying about 7.000 houses and involving about 640.000 inhabitants, more than one third of Zhuhai population (1.7 million).

Zhuhai is already adopting protective measures, but, in light of the impressive consequences of this natural disaster, they are asking for a deeper analysis and further solutions to be applied. As a preliminary indication, European experts suggested that the problem has to be addressed not only at the scale of technical/infrastructural solutions. A more integrated approach based also on the urban scale (in terms of revision of planning choices) and the interaction of the several municipal divisions (environment, planning and economic) is needed.

It was agreed that European experts will provide 3/4 practical applications focussing on specific urgent needs of some part of the coastal areas and the elaboration of a Road Map combined with toolboxes.

China Urban Green Finance – Second Network Meeting
23 Nov, 2018

EC-Link Project organized the Second Network Meeting in order to provide an introduction of New Rules for China's Capital Markets: taking the ADB Shandong Fund as an example of a blended facility for Green Investment.

Participants highlighted the fact that it is still difficult to define Green vs. Not Green, and this creates a lot of difficulties in the selection of appropriate projects both at national and local levels. Moreover, there is no alignment between China and International Institutions in the definition of “Green”. Moreover, it was raised the issue of a missing communication between financial institutions and local governments. Further, there is no clear mapping of on-going green finance projects. It’s important to create an efficient database so to have a clear understanding of present activities so to identify a priority pipeline of profitable projects (both from financial and technical point of view) to be presented to national and international institutions.

EC-LINK Project is doing city-level cooperation and communication work in China and providing green finance assistance. It will continue its work in order to sustain an effective dialogue between Chinese Municipalities and main Chinese and International Banks and Funds.

EC-Link Project and Qingdao Stringent Cooperation To Develop Green Finance Projects 
03 Nov, 2018

On November 3-5, 2018, EC-Link team was involved in a mission to Qingdao focused towards the possibility to start a city to city cooperation between Qingdao (represented from local HURD) and Dena (representing the German Federal Government and associated German cities).

The proposal from local HURD is to develop a “model” combining technical and financial elements so to create a framework activity that could be easily replicable in multiple different projects within the green building sector.

Within this City Network Unit (CNU), EC-link will cooperate in providing technical support for the financial part due to its connection with most relevant international financial institutions.

From a technical point of view, Qingdao HURD would welcome a cooperation with Dena (due to their domestic collaboration with KfW) in order to develop a model both for Green Assessment of the Project but also, if possible, for the post green assessment to be performed once the project is started.

Moreover, EC-Link will support local HURD in order to identify bankable pilot projects, with consequent technology selection and also actions needed to start collaboration with international financial institutions.

At the moment, Qingdao has been selecting the following line of activities: Retrofitting for existing private buildings, retrofitting for public buildings, district heating and clean heating.

Qingdao HURD asked EC-Link support as facilitator among different international projects (such as Felicity) and international institutions/funds (such as Shandong fund, ADB, KfW, AFD, etc.) so to identify the best model, with related procedures, to reach such important target.

EC-Link Project Initiates the “China Urban Green Finance Network”
26 Sep, 2018

EC-Link has received an increasing recognition by Chinese cities providing useful support to their efforts towards sustainable development. 

Based on Project’s on-going activities within Municipal Green Finance sector, on September 26, 2018, EC-Link initiated the China Urban Green Finance Network in an official meeting held in European Embassy at the presence of Mr. Jerome Pons, Head of the Head of Development and Cooperation Section in European Union; 45 participantsfrom over 30 financial institutions joined, including World Bank, AsianDevelopment Banks, AFD, KfW, ICBC, ABC, Jiangsu Bank and Industrial Bank etc.

Mr. Pons gave his warm congratulations to the establishment of CUGFN andexpressed his expectations to the great potential of network cooperation facingthe Sino-Europe green city development. 

The attendants exchanged opinions on challenges and (increasing) opportunities of green municipal financing in urban projects while pursuing the namely Ecological Civilization in China.

During the meeting, it was highlighted the fact that it is still difficult to define Green vs. Not Green, and this creates a lot of difficulties in the selection of appropriate projects both at national and local levels. Moreover, there is no alignment between Chinese and International Institutions in the definition of “Green”.

Green Finance for the development of green projects needs a common vision among Chinese ministries, especially MoF and MEE; but in many cases such alignment is not present and local governments have difficulties in properly selecting green projects at local level. 

CUGFN is composed by a stable group of work (composed from European and Chinese banks, international funds, think tanks, etc.) meant to sustain the development of research, events and projects within green municipal finance segment. EC-Link will coordinate financial institutions and donor agencies so to joint forces and leverages multiple resources both from international agencies as well as the Chinese institutions.

EC-Link is supporting Chinese municipalities in investigating and recommending sustainable funding mechanisms, particularly in relation to their capacity to fund green investments designed to implement climate policies and green projects.

China Urban Green Financing Forum Held to Spur Sustainable and Innovative Urban Investment
06 Jul, 2018

The China Urban Green Financing Forum was held on July 5th by the Europe-China Eco Cities Link project (EC Link) in cooperation with the Cities Development Initiative for Asia (CDIA) to establish a network of cities, expertise and financing institutions in implementing green investments collaboratively.

The forum was supported by the Delegation of the European Union to China and the Department of Building Energy-Saving and Technology at the Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development (MoHURD). It envisaged the network will help MoHURD and Chinese cities in promoting innovation in green finance products and structuring tools, the popularization of green finance and sustainable solutions for low-carbon urban financing.

“Moving to a green economy is now a central and strategic priority for both China and the EU”, said Chris Wood, Minister and Deputy Head of the European Union Delegation to China. "Cities have a key role to play in the transition towards a low carbon, resource-efficient and sustainable future. However, cities will require financial means to achieve these."

“Green finance and market-based mechanisms are both strategic and innovative tools to improve the complementarity of public and private resource allocation and contribute to the development of low carbon industries. The EU has been supporting cities in strengthening the potential to lead the low-carbon transition through better regulation, better funding and better knowledge sharing via various initiatives. As our long-standing partner, China will retain its crucial role, and the EU is committed to working with China towards a common green future”, Wood added.

China has committed as part of the Paris Agreement to bring carbon emissions to a plateau in or around 2030. Pushing ahead with urbanization, China expects to see more than one billion people - accounting for more than 70 percent of the country’s population - reside in cities by 2030, making the country home to the world’s largest urban population.

In order to keep to the its carbon commitment, green and low-carbon urban planning and policies will be essential. Cities, which contribute 70 percent of China’s total energy-related carbon emissions, present the greatest opportunity for meeting national and global climate targets, as well as the country’s long-term development strategy.

Director General Su Yunshan from MoHURD said that green financing plays a decisive role in promoting cities' green development in particular in sectors of green transport, green building, clean energy, etc. “Promoting urban green financing relies on collaborative coordination among all departments under an effective and solid mechanism, and financing institutions should proactively explore new products and new cooperation based on cities' real needs”, said DG Su who recognized the importance of EC-LINK in helping cities address new challenges in the rapid urbanization process.

Around 200 officials, professionals and entrepreneurs from the urban planning, environmental and financing sectors attended the forum, bringing deeper insights into urban green development issues and innovative sustainable green financing solutions and policies. A number of internationally leading financing institutions and cities initiatives introduced their respective green financing tools and projects, with focus on how to develop and apply bankable projects in the Chinese cities 'context.

The EC-Link project is a key component of the EU-China Partnership on Sustainable Urbanization, launched in November 2013 with the aim of assisting Chinese cities in implementing energy and resource-efficient measures by sharing experiences in sustainable urbanization with cities in Europe.

Europe-China Initiative Marks World Environment Day with Green Building Workshop
02 Jul, 2018

A green building workshop was held by the Europe-China Eco Cities Link project (EC Link) in cooperation with southern China’s Guilin City in southern China’s Guangxi province from the 28th to the 29th of May to mark World Environment Day which falls on June 5th.

The event was designed to tailor a strategy according to the specific needs of Guilin city, one of EC Link’s pilot cities. Guilin's climate is used as a microcosm for the project as nearly 20 percent of China has similar conditions, making up one-third of its population. Guilin city wants to become a leader in green building technology and has been developing multiple projects in order to introduce in China more cost effective solutions.

This initiative reflects EC Link’s continuous efforts to build an EU-CHINA platform on low carbon and ecological city development. The major objective of the meeting is to identify common interests and cooperative opportunities between Chinese cities and their European counterparts in the green building development.

EC-Link Project invited to Guilin foreign experts bringing best European experience within the Green Building sector; attending to the meeting were more than 300 officials, professionals, experts and entrepreneurs from China and European countries, including the vice mayor of Guilin Municipality, chief engineer of Guangxi Provincial HURD, representatives from other pilot cities include Weihai, Changzhou, Qingdao, Zhuzhou, Xixian New Area, Hefei and Liuzhou.

As a result of two days technical discussions, policies, technologies, market mechanisms and good local practices will enter into a key research report on green buildings in sub-tropical climate zones; beside introducing latest technology solutions, the report will also address implementation, monitoring and management strategies.  

This fruitful discussion will be continued within multiple pilot projects and manifold experiences are going to be introduced into other parts of the country with similar climate conditions. Both European and Chinese sides agree to put more project resources to help pilot cities learn from European cities’ noteworthy green building technologies, know-how and good practices and evolve more effective green building development strategies to fit their specific climate features.

EC-Link Project and Guilin Municipality will continue their dialogue in order to strengthen their on-going collaboration in order to support the sustainable urban development of the Municipality.

The EC-Link project is a key component of the EU-China Partnership on Sustainable Urbanization, which was signed by the Chinese government and European Commission in May 2012. The initiative was launched in November 2013 with the aim of assisting Chinese cities in implementing energy and resource-efficient measures by sharing experiences in sustainable urbanization with cities in Europe.

European and Chinese Cities Keen to Work Together to Embrace Resilience Strategies
31 May, 2018

Several European cities and Zhuhai City in southern China’s Guangdong province are willing to step up further cooperation to embrace resilience strategies after a workshop by the Europe-China Eco Cities Link project (EC Link) in Zhuhai from the 12th to the 13th of June.

Resilience strategies in a global sense are when a city understands the challenges it faces; reviews its ability to face them and unites its people, projects, and priorities, so urban centres can act collectively to meet their resilience challenges.

The EC-Link Project invited to Zhuhai senior advisors, experts and urban planners from Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Bologna and Valencia, who brought proposals for comprehensive urban water strategies and effective European solutions to transforming a city under risk of great natural disasters, such as earthquakes, or floods into a resilient and sustainable city. Attending the meeting were around 100 experts, officials and professionals, including the director of Zhuhai Municipal Bureau of Housing and Urban-Rural Development (HURD), chief engineer of Zhuhai MBHURD and leaders from Zhuhai Institute of Urban Planning and Design.

Zhuhai, one of EC-Link’s pilot cities, seeks to identify the best practices of storm management, water management and urban resilience governance. With a coastline stretching 690 km and under the influence of tropical hurricanes during summer, the city is exposed to high risks of extreme weather disasters such as typhoon, heavy rain storm and floods. These threats were epitomized by Typhoon Hato, which inflicted direct economic losses exceeding 20 billion yuan on the city.

The city is poised to revise its general urban planning before 2020 which requires an upgrade of urban resilience in a systematic way. Experts from the European cities reviewed the Zhuhai Urban Planning and Design Technical Guidelines and gave advice on investment decisions, social inclusion and other technical elements. The meeting reflects EC-LINK's continuous efforts to build an EU-CHINA plafform on low carbon and ecological city development. After the meeting, both EC-LINK Project Zhuhai city planners will continue their dialogua in order to evolve pilot proposals and a disaster risk management framework of Zhuhai to assess, plan and enhance the capability of responding to natural hazards.

The pilot project in Zhuhai for building a resilient city will act as a template to provide local experiences and good models of urban resilience for larger-scale or nation-wide practice. China has seen an increasing number of cities with inadequate flood-control measures during its fast urban sprawl. On average, around 200 cities are faced with the problem of waterlogging caused by rain or storms every year.

The EC-Link project is a key component of the EU-China Partnership on Sustainable Urbanization, which was signed by the Chinese government and European Commission in May 2012. The initiative was launched in November 2013 with the aim of assisting Chinese cities in implementing energy and resource-efficient measures by sharing experiences in sustainable urbanization with cities in Europe.

EC Link Project and ICLEI meet to strengthen their cooperation
11 May, 2018

EC Link and ICLEI - Local Governments for Sustainability met in Beijing in order to strengthen their cooperation in light of their common interest to support local municipalities in developing green sustainable projects.

ICLEI is a leading global network of more than 1,500 cities, towns and regions committed to building a sustainable future. For the past 25 years, ICLEI has maintained that local action is at the center of global change. ICLEI multidisciplinary network continues to develop and apply practical strategies, tools and methodologies that bring about tangible local progress worldwide. ICLEI Network works collaboratively in more than 100 countries, leveraging local assets to address pressing urban challenges and impact over 25 percent of the global urban population by helping local municipalities to become sustainable, low-carbon, resilient, ecomobile, biodiverse, resource-efficient and productive.

EC Link and ICLEI agreed to work together enlarging and exchanging their network in order to provide better solutions to Chinese municipalities; moreover, both organization will cooperate in organizing events and projects in multiple sectors, such as green financing, circular economy, green consumption & public procurement, eco-mobility, low carbon urban planning.

EC-Link Project and the European Chamber of Commerce meet in order to support together European companies in their dialogue with Chinese municipalities
03 May, 2018

EC-Link Project and the European Chamber of Commerce (member of EC-Link Project’s Consortium) met in order to support together European companies in their dialogue with Chinese municipalities.

EUCCC was represented by Carl Hayward, Cecilia Rovelli, Antonio Salvador, Maxime de Coudenhove, Kevin Gao, Tianyi Zheng; moreover the meeting was attended from many European companies such as: GIZ, Veolia, Euro-Sino Invest, IFC, Air Liquide, European heating industry, Capital 8, Engie, etc.

As introduction to the meeting, it was mentioned that after signing the Joint Declaration on the EU-China Partnership on Sustainable Urbanisation in Brussels on 2012, the EC-Link Eco-City Network Project (EC-LINK) was launched in November 2013 as a key component for the cooperation on the implementation of China’s urban low-carbon development framework.

In order to support the fruitful dialogue among European and Chinese stakeholders, the Project’s assumption foresees the establishment of an EC-Link Eco-City Network, constituted by several sub-groups (City Network Units – CNUs) of cooperating EU and Chinese cities. EC-Link final aim is to trigger parallel Learning & Cooperation processes aimed at an effective joint work of EU and Chinese cities in the long term.

City Network Units (CNUs) are composed by European and Chinese cities interested in triggering parallel learning and cooperation processes (i.e. specific technologies, practices, procedures, etc.), aimed at an effective joint mutual work and long term exchange.

Participants showed great interest in the practical procedure of participating in the EC-Link project; on this regard, it was agreed that EC-Link and EUCCC will strengthen their dialogue also in light of further areas of cooperation.

EC-Link Participate to the “UN Science-Policy-Business Forum”
01 May, 2018

EC-Link Project was invited to participate to the UN Science-Policy-Business Forum on the Environment held in New York on May 1-4, 2018.The UN Forum was framed around the following key streams:

  • Technology and innovation as game changers;
  • Innovative policies required to grow green technology markets;
  • Markets and Finance: Sustainable Finance, sustainable CSR and innovative Public-Private Partnerships for the Environment.

EC-Link made anintervention related to “Growing Green Technology Markets - Lessons from China”; indeed the presentation receivedgreat attention due to the interest that foreign stakeholders are giving to China and in particular to the internal (but not only) development of green finance and municipal green finance.

Moreover, EC-Link was able to promote on-going activities in particular regarding Municipal Green Financing Sector and to verify the possibility to develop future cooperation with stakeholders present at the Forum.

EC-Link Project and CSTB Ready to Start Their Cooperation
27 Apr, 2018

EC-Link Team met in Zhuhai the Centre Scientifique et Technique du Batement (CSTB). The Agency operates on behalf of French cities such as Grenoble and Nantes.

CSTB delegation was represented by Cristina Garcez – Urban Strategies Director; Daniela Belziti – Project Manager; Wu Dan – China Project Manager.

The meeting focused on the possible cooperation with CSTB in the frame of CNU activities on Sustainable Urban Planning and Green building sectors, also in light of the best practices presented by Cristina Garcez, Daniela Belziti and David Mangin, who attended EC-Link sub-forum held in the frame of Zhuhai International conference on Green building.

CSTB has great experience in France in the development sustainable urban plans; this experience has been already integrated developing successful cooperation with local cities such as Jingzhou, Qingyun, Jilin and Panshi. CSTB successful experience is based on taking into account each city’s history and needs and merging them also with specific social and economic aspects. Moreover, CSTB has been developing the Building Information Modeling (BIM); it supports the emergence of the «eco-districts» concept relying on multi-criteria KPIs systems in response to different aims and stakeholders’ strategies at both local and national levels; moreover, BIM could support the development of municipal eco-city label in Chinese cities.

It was agreed to strengthen communication among two Teams in the frame of a complete Training and CNU proposal. EC-Link will keep informed its Pilot cities (but not only) regarding future on-going activities.

EC-Link Project and Zhuhai Municipality Ready to Strengthen Their Cooperation
10 Apr, 2018

Zhuhai – April 3rd, 2018

EC-Link Project and Zhuhai Municipality met in the view to strengthen their cooperation within Project’s activities. EC-Link and Hefei municipality have a long lasting cooperation that was expressed in the co-organization of the International Inter-City Lab held in Zhuhai in 2017.

Zhuhai Delegation was led by Mr. Zhaohui Wang, Director of Zhuhai Housing & Urban-Rural Development Bureau, together with Qiancong Peng, Director of Zhuhai Urban-Rural Planning & Information Center; Zhentao Zhang, Vice-Director of Zhuhai Urban-Rural Planning & Information Center; Meng Zhou, Vice-Director of Zhuhai Urban-Rural Planning & Information Center;  Zhiming Xu, Director of Zhuhai Municipal Building Energy-Saving Office; Guan Liu, Director of Zhuhai Architecture Design & Research Institute.

Director Wang first of all expressed the importance of the on-going cooperation with EC-Link Project and the willingness to strengthen it in upcoming months. More specifically, he stressed that the dialogue could be based on multiple aspects:

  • Green building sector for sustainable urban development
  • Land reclamation & harbour city development
  • Sponge city & resilient city
  • Low carbon urban planning
  • Flood prevention for planning & building regulations

EC-Link and Zhuhai agreed to organize a series of training events to be held in May and June, 2018. The training events will see the participation of International stakeholders and experts; at the moment is confirmed that European cities of Valencia (Spain), Bologna (Italy) and Rotterdam (Netherland) will send their delegations to Zhuhai in light of EC-Link “City Network Unit” activity meant to facilitate the dialogue and fruitful cooperation among European and Chinese municipalities.

EC-Link Project and Hefei Municipality Ready to Strengthen Their Cooperation
09 Apr, 2018

EC-Link Project and Hefei Municipality met in the view to strengthen their cooperation within Project’s activities. EC-Link and Hefei municipality have a long lasting cooperation that was expressed in the co-organization of the International Inter-City Lab held in Hefei in September 2017. Hefei Delegation was led by Mr. Daoyun Ma, Director, Hefei Urban Construction Bureau, together with Xueqing Hou, Division officer, Hefei Urban Construction Bureau; Shaochen Pan, Chief Planner, Anhui Provincial Urban Planning & Research Institute; Dongbing An, Director, Anhui Provincial Architecture Science Design & Research Institute.

Director Ma, Director of Hefei Urban Construction Bureau expressed his interest in deeper involvement of EC-Link activities. He wishes that future cooperation would tangle their current key challenge on the water contamination of Nanfei River, which is the mother river of Hefei City. Director Ma explained to EC-Link Team that the pollution is mainly due to the incomplete separation of drainage and sewage systems in downtown.

EC-Link Project and Hefei HURD agreed to keep constant communication in order to organize within June a technical site visit that will see the participation of International stakeholders and experts.

EC-Link Project participated at the 14th International Conference on Green and Energy-Efficient Building & New Technologies and Products Expo
06 Apr, 2018

Launched by the Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development, on April 2-3, 2018, EC-Link Project participated to the 14th International Conference on Green and Energy-Efficient Building & New Technologies and Products Expo held in Zhuhai in the International Convention & Exhibition Centre. During the event, high level European and Chinese speakers introduced and shared practical experience of on-going EU-China International Programs in Green Building Sector.

EC-Link Project hosted a Forum on Green Building entitled: “Europe-China Forum on Eco-City and Energy Efficiency Innovations”.

The Forum has seen the participation of Chinese Local Governments (Zhuhai, Hefei, Tianjin, etc.), academicians, and Chinese private companies. The intent of the Forum was to introduce to the audience European experience and best practices in the Green Building Sector.

Mr. Andrea Claser, Team leader of EC-Link Project, introduced the Project and its purpose, highlighting the sustenance that it is giving in supporting the dialogue between European and Chinese cities and correlated introduction of best practices among multiple sectors such as: sustainable urban planning, green building, and water and waste management.

The first presentation “The Development of Eco-City: Cases Sharing” was from Ms. Cristina Garcez (director of Regional Strategy Office of Ministry of Ecology, Sustainable Development and Energy in France) and Mr. David Magnin (professor of School Architecture, University of Marne-La-Vallee in France); they have given different eco -city cases in France and in China in order to compare them, from different approaches and thus in different results.

The second presentation “Refurbishment in EU – Challenges and Game Changers” was given by Mr. Uwe Bigalke, the team leader of division of energy – Efficient Buildings of German Energy Agency.  He has presented the new techniques and method of how to improve energy efficiency in renovated building.

The third presentation “The innovation and Development of passive House in China” was from Mr. Li Congxiao – deputy secretary general of Green Building Council of Chinese Society for Urban Studies. He provided many good examples of passive houses in China and the techniques in details.

The fourth presentation “The sustainable rehabilitation of villages and old neighbourhoods with their inhabitants” was from Mr. Jean Mark Natali, the founder & Chairman of URBANIS. He stressed the social aspects of the sustainability and inhabitants’ involvement in such process. The fifth presentation “Eco-cities assessment: pragmatic approach and examples to foster pedagogy, adaptability, operational capability and innovativeness” was from Ms. Daniela Belziti- the project manager of smart and Sustainable City in French Scientific & Technology centre for Building.  She pointed out the importance of government support/regulations/assessment for making an eco-city.

The Forum received great appreciation from present Chinese stakeholders, both in terms of knowledge sharing and also in light of future possible cooperation with EC-Link Project.

EC-Link Project Participate at The International Conference “LABIRYNTH OF WATERS”
23 Mar, 2018

On March 23rd, 2018, EC-Link Project participated at the International conference: “The blue challenges and opportunities: from strategy into action - LABIRYNTH OF WATERS”, in Parma (Italy). The aim of this International Conference was to focus on the sub-national and national governments policies in relation to the climate change actions linked to the water management resources: water scarcity, flooding and extreme natural events.

Ms. Dai Guowen, Deputy-Director of EC-LINK Project (Europe-China Eco Cities Cooperation Project) and Director of International Cooperation Center, China Eco City Academy (CECA) delivered a speech on “Water Management in Chinese Cities: Policies and Cases”. Water sector is receiving great attention from both Chinese Central and Local Governments; the presentation was an important opportunity to share, within an international audience, on-going development and results achieved from Chinese municipalities in light of Chinese urban sustainable development.

Europe-China Eco-Cities Link (EC-LINK) Project- Brief description and Programme Until September 2018
24 Jan, 2018

The importance of innovation and socio-economic aspects in sustainable urbanisation has been recognised by the EU and China in their Joint Declaration on the EU-China Partnership on Urbanisation since 2012.

In China, the management of an exceptionally rapid urban growth poses considerable challenges to policy-makers and city planners. In such a delicate context, physical city planning cannot be considered in isolation from governance aspects, related for instance to land use and resources for city financing. Urban infrastructures and public services also call for a balanced and integrated planning so as to minimise or avoid the negative socio-economic, human and environmental impacts; most of all, Chinese cities must also be viewed as engines of growth and innovation, often attracting large shares of R&D investments and consequently source of business opportunities for European stakeholders.

The Europe-China Eco-Cities Link (EC-Link) project is a key component of the EU-China Partnership on Sustainable Urbanisation, and it represents the ultimate synergy between national requirements and city’s needs. Supported by the European Commission DG Development and in cooperation with the Chinese Ministry of Housing Urban and Rural Development (MoHURD), EC Link aims to assist Chinese in implementing energy and resource-efficient measures by sharing experiences in sustainable urbanisation with European cities.

The development of cities in China is taking place at impressive pace and has affected millions of citizens involving many aspects of city planning and development, such as infrastructures, regulatory regimes, taxation, health, education and culture. EC Link commitment is to bring together a wide-ranging partnership of stakeholders in Europe and China so to create an innovation platform for developing innovative solutions in sustainable urbanisation that rely on European advanced knowledge and technologies.

Moreover, the project supports MoHURD in four strategic activities:

  1. Demonstrating good practice approaches to implement low carbon solutions for the sustainable development of human settlements. Good practices have been identified and made available through the toolboxes already developed, based on European and Chinese eco-city practices.
  2. Creating testing grounds for innovations in the 9 sectors covered: compact urban development, clean energy, green buildings, green transportation, water management, solid waste treatment, urban renewal and revitalization, municipal financing, and green industries.
  3. Improving Chinese Municipalities' capacity to finance appropriate solutions.
  4. Creating the best conditions to establish a mutual and long lasting cooperation between Chinese and European cities.

In order to practically achieve the important goals related to these activities, EC Link implemented a series of events called Inter-City Laboratories (ICLs) focussing the attention on 6 major sectors: low carbon cities, green building, green transport, water management, solid waste management and clean energy. Each ICL had a duration of 2-3 days and the involvement of 15-20 Chinese cities and 10-15 European ones. During these events, Chinese and European municipalities, represented from public officials, multi-utilities Companies, industrial associations and private companies, had the opportunity to trigger processes of mutual collaboration.

For this reason, ICLs are not only thought as a vehicle of exchange of knowledge and experiences among cities that share the interest for the same sectorial topic aimed at sustainable urbanisation, but, above all, they represent the starting point for the creation of a mutual and long lasting cooperation between Chinese and European cities.

This cooperation will be generated by the establishment of the so called City Networking Units (CNUs). They are working partnership/group of cooperating EU and Chinese cities available to work together for shared objectives. The stated aim of the CNUs joint work is to identify common working/interest areas and projects for the sustainable development of human settlements and to agree a common working agenda for the elaboration of pilot actions with high replicability potential, to allow an effective know how transfer in several Chinese cities. As a result of the ICLs implemented until now, about six CNUs are going to be formalised.

Key issues/fields of the “Learning and Cooperation Processes” triggered within CNUs’ concept are:

  • Definition of CNUs work program and expected outputs of the cooperation;
  • Participation of local stakeholders in CNUs meetings (multi-utilities, ESCOs, green technology producers, etc.) and targeted visits to e.g. institutions, eco-districts, recovered industrial areas, water treatment plants, waste to energy plants, etc.;
  • Involvement of sectorial experts in the management and technical support to CNU activities.

Possible outputs of the joint work of Chinese and EU experts within CNUs activities can be:

  • Models of EU sectorial policies adapted to the context of other Countries (e.g. a comparison between the European Performance Building Directive and existing regulations on environmental sustainability and energy savings);
  • Models for the implementation of energy certification of building systems (procedures at municipal level/accreditation of energy certifiers/impact on real estate market, etc.);
  • Models for the governance of integrated urban services (role of multi-utility companies - water, energy and waste management)
  • Financial schemes for energy refurbishment of public heritage (e.g. adaptation of ELENA facility model, ESCOs and Energy Performance Contracts);
  • Feasibility studies to adapt technological innovations developed in the EU to the needs of Chinese cities;
  • Business agreements among EU and Chinese Multi-utilities companies (from know-how transfer to Joint Ventures). 

EC Link is expected to contribute in creating the conditions for large scale public and science-industry cooperation on sustainable urbanisation that can address the challenges China and Europe face in this area. The Project will provide in-depth insights on EU-China cultural and socio-economic aspects on urbanisation; specific impacts are expected in the field of city planning, policy making, regulatory regime, governance and public services.

It is also expected to increase the capacity of European industrial actors to develop and provide more effective solutions for the needs of sustainable urbanisation, and for Chinese city planners and managers to make informed choices on innovative technologies.

Hefei Inter City Lab (ICL) – Hefei, 19-21 September, 2017
25 Sep, 2017

On September 19-21, EC-Link Project, with the support of MoHURD, EUD and the Hefei Municipality has organized an Inter-City Lab (ICL) focused on water management, solid waste management and clean energy sectors.

The event has seen the participation of 120 delegates representing 8 European cities (Barcelona, Berlin, Bordeaux, Hamburg, Liverpool, Mannheim, Valencia and Växjö), 7 Chinese provinces (Anhui, Guangdong, Guangxi, Henan, Hunan, Qinghai and Shandong), 9 Chinese municipalities (Changzhou, Guilin, Hefei, Luoyang, Nanjing, Qingdao, Weihai, Zhuhai and Zhuzhou), representatives from local and provincial academies and research centers, European and Chinese experts.

During the event, among the many speeches, Ma’am Tong Guichan, Director of the Division of International Cooperation of MoHURD, affirmed the crucial importance of sustainable development of Chinese cities and the strong support of MoHURD to EC Link Project; Mr. Wang Daorong, Deputy Director General of Hefei Municipality, stated the great commitment of Hefei City to develop more environmental sustainable projects and the great importance of events like Hefei ICL where Chinese cities have the opportunity to share their experience with multiple European ones; Mr. Andrea Claser, Team Leader of EC-Link Project, stressed the full commitment of the Project to be a key component for Chinese and European cities in order to share mutual experiences and hopefully develop long term cooperation; Mr. Florian Steinberg, Senior Urban Planner – EC-Link, provided important insights and specific examples about ongoing Chinese urban renewal and revitalization.

During the three days gathering, European and Chinese representatives have been sharing experiences and knowledge with the intent to create the so called City Network Units (CNUs); these new established working groups of Chinese and EU cities (CNUs) will work together to adapt selected practices/procedures to the Chinese urban context, so to allow an effective know how transfer.

In upcoming months, European and Chinese cities will work together with the intent to develop joint technical teams meant to be the baseline of long term cooperation programs and technology exchange in multiple areas such as: water governance and integrated river basin, zero landfill policy, renewable energy from bio-waste, urban storm water management, district heating from co-generating power plants, waste water treatment for the removal of harmful pollutants, municipal solid waste management, and many others.

EC-LINK Team Visited City of He Fei for Strengthening the Cooperation
30 Aug, 2017

On 11th of August, 2017, EC Link Team met with He Fei HURD representatives.

The mission was organized to strengthen the dialogue with one of EC-LINK 10 pilot cities, discuss about ongoing Project’s activities (in particular about Hefei ICL), cooperation activities between He Fei and possible European cities and have a better understanding of ongoing projects in He Fei.

During the mission, EC-LINK team member firstly introduce the new development of the project since 2017 and the concept of City Network Unit (CNU). Mr. MA Daoyun, Deputy-Director of Hefei Urban-Rural Construction Committee, expressed his understanding and expectation of the EC-Link project and stressed the interest for He Fei to continue to have an active role and fully support the ICL activity which held in He Fei this September.

Moreover, He Fei representatives highlighted the importance to solve the water environment governance issues in Hefei, including: Chaohu Lake comprehensive management and the remediation work to the source of water pollution.

 EC Link Team assured that the Project will provide constant support to He Fei city in terms of projects development and for the selection of European partners ready to provide the ecological technology and European experience of industrial restructuring.

EC-LINK Team Visited City of Guilin for Strengthening the CooperationEC-LINK Team Visited City of Guilin for Strengthening the Cooperation
29 Aug, 2017

On 4th of August, EC-LINK team met with Guilin Housing and Urban-Rural Development (HURD). And this is the second trip during this week. The mission was organized to strengthen the dialogue with one of EC-LINK 10 pilot cities-Guilin, discuss about ongoing Project’s future activities (in particular about Hefei Inter City Lab), cooperation activities between Guilin and possible European cities and have a better understanding of ongoing projects in Guilin.

During the mission, Mr. Chen Qing, Chief Engineer of Guilin HURD and Deputy director of the administrative committee of Lingui New District summarized the cooperation with EC-LINK project in the past, and will fully support the City Network Unit(CNU)green building training held in Guilin. The meeting have convened the various departments (Development and Reform Commission, Urban Management Committee, Water Conservancy Bureau, Huaneng Company, City Planning Institute), to discuss the possible problems in work and to seek some possible project cooperation with EC-Link. EC Link Team assured that the Project will provide constant support to Guilin city in terms of projects development and for the selection of European partners ready to support Guilin’s urban sustainable development.

EC-LINK Team Visited City of Zhu Zhou for Strengthening the Dialogue
28 Aug, 2017

On 2nd of August, 2017, EC Link Team met with Zhuzhou HURD representatives.

The mission was organized to strengthen the dialogue with one of EC-LINK 10 pilot cities, discuss about ongoing Project’s activities (in particular about Hefei ICL), cooperation activities between Zhuzhou and possible European cities and have a better understanding of ongoing projects in Zhuzhou.

During the mission, Mr. HE Anguo, Director of Zhuzhou HURD, stressed the interest for Zhuzhou HURD to continue to have an active role within EC Link and their hope to sign soon technical agreements with European cities.

Moreover, Zhuzhou representatives highlighted the full commitment of the city to develop projects focusing their attention to the green building sector. Indeed, during the meetings, it was introduced: the "Zhuzhou Green Building Action Implementation Plan", the “energy saving & retrofitting Plan”, the development of a large monitoring platform for public buildings and the implemented "Dragon Bay German House" Project.

EC Link Team assured that the Project will provide constant support to Zhuzhou city in terms of projects development and for the selection of European partners ready to support Zhuzhou’s urban sustainable development.

EC-Link team in Zhuhai
01 May, 2017

The EC-Link team met with Vice-Mayor Yisheng Zhang in Zhuhai on 19 April 2017. The Vice-Mayor reaffirmed Zhuhai's interest in cooperating with European cities and institutions on creating sustainable urban environments. Meetings with the Director and Vice-Director of the municipal Housing and Urban-Rural Development Bureau and the local EC-Link project task force confirmed their strong support for EC-Link.

Web 2.0: EC-Link linking Europe-China: EC-Link at the EUCCC Joint Working Group Meeting
12 Apr, 2016

How can European enterprises engage in China’s rapid urbanization process and the many opportunities it brings? How can Chinese cities benefit from European technologies and know-how?

At the Beijing office of the European Chamber of Commerce China today, the EC-Link project team introduced how the project might become a bridge between Chinese cities and European enterprises, with the newly launched project website being a key channel.

The newly launched website (eclink.org) includes:

  • Information on the 30 pilot projects across the 10 pilot cities and 9 sectors
  • Requests for technologies, capacity building and financial support from 30 pilot projects of EC-Link
  • Urbanization and project news
  • Toolboxes for the 9 sectors of the project

Representatives from European businesses demonstrated keen interest in the subject, particularly the needs and requests from pilot cities. Participants explored what makes for an actionable request, i.e. a request that could result in a cooperation/business opportunity.

Beyond the recently re-launched project website, EC-Link is assessing whether and how a separate Web 2.0 portal could bring cities and experts together. The team gave EUCCC member companies an opportunity to participate at an early stage of defining the core features of the upcoming portal.

Mr. Li Hailong, EC-Link Project Director, introduced the China Society for Urban Studies and China Eco-City Academy and shared new cooperation opportunities. He invited European enterprises to participate in the project activities and to contribute to pilot project development.

Over 50 representatives from European businesses participated in the meeting from Beijing, and 10 attended via video-tele conference equipment from Shanghai.

Intercity Lab On Green Transport
28 Mar, 2016

The EC-Link pilot cities face similar challenges, yet each city takes diverse approaches and makes thus different experiences. Therefore INTERCITY LAB was established to create a knowledge community of municipalities and to share the insights gained from similar sustainable urban development projects.

Taking one of the cities’ current project as a case study, city representatives receive advise from their peers having similar experiences: the case clinic format enables municipalities to share different perspectives, while learning from what worked well and what did not work so well. To further bring in insight and suggestions to the cities, European experts are invited to comment and present best practices related to the case, from both the European context and the Chinese landscape.

The INTERCITY LAB in Changzhou last October focused on green transportation projects, with the morning session dedicated to transit-oriented transportation planning in Changzhou Xinbei District. In this session, Atlas Chan from Arup shared extensive know-how and experience in urban planning in China with a transit-oriented approach.

Weihai’s street car planning project and Liuzhou’s Bus Rapid Transit system were presented during the second half day. By working in groups and providing advise to these two cases, participants shared their experience and learned from peer practice, as well as gained valuable input from the various experts present, including Sun Shengyang, GIZ transportation and Liang Yuelin, expert from Siemens Mobility. Project financing mechanisms were also discussed with expertise brought in by Adolfo Guerrero and Zhang Yu from Cities Development Initiative for Asia.

Participants in this workshop included representatives from the various pilot cities at the working level, European experts and companies. Distinguished guests Dr. Hou Wenjun, Deputy Director of Department of Building Energy and Science & Technology of MoHURD, and Mr. Ji Xiaodong, Deputy Director of Changzhou Xinbei District City Administration and Construction Bureau delivered keynote speeches. This event was co-organized with the Changzhou Xinbei District City Administration and Construction Bureau.

Intercity lab on sustainable water management
28 Mar, 2016

Zhuhai, one of the two integrated pilot cities of EC-Link, is planning the regeneration of its river Qianshan. In this process, Zhuhai invited and hosted the EC-Link learning community of pilot cities to discuss sustainable water management practices.

Following an introduction of challenges faced in the frame of the Qianshan river rehabilitation, participants, including representatives of various municipal water bureaus, European and Chinese experts and companies, discussed related issues and came out with a common understanding that innovative technical monitoring and remediation solutions surely are important aspects, however good regional coordination soon appeared a key success factor.

Best practices from England as well as the Liao River management experience in China were shared by Atkins representative and water experts Simon Spooner. Solutions for better water stewardship were suggested by Pin Tian from Bureau Veritas.

An innovative Sino-German cooperation project on wastewater management in Qingdao, semi-central, was presented as inspiration to cities planning for waste water treatment plants, such as Xixian and Weihai. The semi-centralized system, integrating streams of waste water treatment, waste treatment and heat supply, offers a more efficient solution than a centralized option. During the discussions, participants actively debated on the feasibility of replicating this approach with regard to the project financing and general awareness towards decentralized solutions.

Sponge city concepts from various cities in Europe were shared by Dr. Giovanna Rossato, from the architecture and planning firm Progetto CMR, in response to questions from the city of Zhuhai planning its sponge city concept.

Participants were impressed by the interactive format of the workshop and comment the INTERCITY LAB as mind-opening, inspirational and meaningful.

EC-Link Project Launched
25 Mar, 2015

Beijing, 25 March 2015-The Europe China Eco Cities Link project (EC Link) was officially launched on 25 March 2015 in Beijing, as a sub-forum event of the Eleventh International Conference on Green and Energy Efficient Buildings. The project is supported by the European Commission Directorate General for Development Cooperation, and by the Ministry of Housing and Urban Rural Development (MoHURD) in China. It has a total budget of 9,3 million EUR and its implementation will last until November 2017.

The project has received high-level government endorsement in both Europe and China as a part of the EU-China Partnership on Urbanization, a broad political initiative promoting the development of adequate solutions for sustainable urban development. The technical assistance provided by EC-Link assists the Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development in shaping a national ecological and low-carbon framework, and helps Chinese municipalities with their own ecological, low-carbon urban development.

Urbanization is a worldwide trend, and while the challenges facing cities in Europe and China are very different, sharing and partnering at the municipal level holds great potential to help address social, economic and environmental sustainability issues. China can benefit from European know-how in order to meet its sustainability related goals, while Europe can integrate knowledge gained from pilot projects conducted in China.

To address this ambitious agenda, EC-Link has set-up the only cross-sector interdisciplinary platform between China and Europe on urbanization. It works with municipal governments to pilot low-carbon solutions for tomorrow’s eco-cities, it provides access to European excellence in planning for sustainable urban development, and it creates a unique knowledge base to scale-up best practices and support China’s New Urbanization Strategy.

The EC-Link team offers personal support with access to networks, know-how, best practices, toolboxes as well as financing sources. It also offers, in partnership with MoHURD, regular training to municipal actors on various topics related to sustainable urban development.

EC-Link will support pilot initiatives in ten selected Chinese cities, developing projects in nine key sectors including 1) Compact Urban Development, 2) Clean Energy, 3) Green Buildings, 4) Green Transportation, 5) Solid Waste Management, 6) Water Management, 7) Municipal Financing, 8) Urban Regeneration and 9) Green Industry. These projects will be complemented by the development of toolboxes to disseminate their results and supplemented with technical assistance. By working hand-in-hand with China's central government and municipalities, the results of these pilot projects will feed into policy guidance.

The EC-Link pilot cities are: Zhuhai (Guangdong province), Luoyang (Henan province), Weihai (Shandong province), Changzhou (Jiangsu province), Qingdao (Shandong province), Zhuzhou (Hunan province), Guilin (Guangxi province) , Xixian New Area (Shaanxi province), Hefei (Anhui province), and Liuzhou (Guangxi province).

The EC Link project team is located at the Chinese Society for Urban Studies (CSUS) in Beijing.

EC-Link Pilot Cities Selected
09 Mar, 2015

Beijing, 9 March: The Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development (MoHURD) announced a list of pilot cities of the EC-Link project today, including: Zhuhai, Luoyang, Changzhou, Hefei, Qingdao, Weihai, Zhuzhou, Liuzhou, Guilin and Xixian.

With the support of EC-Link, pilot cities will develop projects in the fields of compact urban development, clean energy, green building, green transport, solid waste management, water management, municipal financing, urban regeneration and green industry. Through learning urbanization experience from Europe, the pilot cities will serve as models for China’s low-carbon ecological development.

China is experiencing rapid urbanization. Over the past 30 years, Chinese cities have achieved extraordinary economic growth. In 2014, the urbanization rate reached 54.77%, which greatly improved people’s living standard. However, rapid urbanization also brought huge pressure to energy supply, natural resources and the environment. China hence faces huge challenges in environment protection, energy efficiency and industrial transformation. It is therefore of high importance to explore a green, low-carbon and ecological development path.

In that connection, the EC-Link project will make a significant contribution to promoting a Xiaokang society, China’s new urbanization planning, energy saving and climate adaptation, as well as EU-China urbanization partnership. Today, Europe’s urbanization rate has reached 75%. Over the past 150 years, European countries experienced similar challenges: the great smog of 1952 in London killed over 5000 lives in a short span of one week; the air pollution in Ruhr made blue sky a distant dream for citizens…However, the blue sky and fresh air in Europe make it hard to imagine the polluted days in the past, which was only made possible through generations’ remarkable efforts. In this process, Europe has accumulated valuable experience and developed advanced technologies in the fields of urban planning, green transportation, green building, renewable energy and water management. Many European cities have become eco-city models such as Freiburg in Germany, Copenhagen in Demark and Malmo in Sweden.

EC-Link will bring in European experience, implement best practices in pilot projects, build a knowledge and policy sharing platform, improve city financing and PPP mechanisms and provide more opportunities for practical cooperation between China and Europe and technology transfer.

The project platform will be service-oriented, with the aim to provide comprehensive consultancy for low-carbon eco-city development, solutions and technical guidance. The project encourages and assists pilot cities to explore innovative financing mechanisms. The aim is to provide innovative financing experience for China’s new urbanization process.

The project has received high-level government endorsement in both Europe and China as a part of the EU-China Partnership on Urbanization, a broad political initiative promoting the development of adequate solutions for sustainable urban development. The technical assistance provided by EC-Link assists the Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development in shaping a national ecological and low-carbon framework, and helps Chinese municipalities with their own ecological, low-carbon urban development