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