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Covenant of Mayors cities reinforce ties with Chinese counterparts through sustainable urbanisation charter
European and Chinese Mayors signed the EU-China Cooperation Charter and agreed to join efforts in the field of sustainable urbanisation on the occasion of the first EU-China Mayors Forum held on 20 September in Brussels.

As stated by Energy Cities Executive Director Gérard Magnin, speaking on behalf of Covenant Signatories at the event opening session, “the Covenant of Mayors is growing beyond the European Union and gradually becomes a platform for exchange and cooperation with cities from all continents”.

The event - co-organized by the Covenant of Mayors Office and the Chinese Association of Mayors - brought together some 300 stakeholders, mostly from European and Chinese cities. The Chinese delegation, composed of 100 delegates included the Vice-Mayors of the Chinese mega-cities of Beijing, Chongqing, Tianjin and Shenzhen. The Mayors of Dublin (IE), Gothenburg (SE), Helsinki (FI), Oldenburg (DE) and Milton Keynes (UK) and the President of the Barcelona Province (ES) were also present, among other European city leaders.

Qiu Baoxing, Vice-Minister for Housing and Urban-Rural Development of the People’s Republic of China stressed that “China is aware of the challenges of urbanization and is willing to learn from Europe’s experience and social integration model. It is not sufficient to build highways, we need to provide green transportation for our citizens”. Building low-carbon eco-cities and sustainable transport systems are Chinese utmost priorities and several of the country’s mayors called for the support of their European counterparts, be it twinned cities or commercial partners. Hu Lishan, Vice-Mayor of Wuhan urged for “Western and Eastern intelligence” to build a sustainable future for Chinese and European cities.

All European Mayors recognised the fruitful relationships they maintain with China and reinforced their willingness to pursue existing partnerships via the Covenant of Mayors initiative. Pekka Sauri, Vice-Mayor of Helsinki warmly encouraged the cooperation between the Covenant of Mayors signatories and the Chinese Association of Mayors. Henk Kool, Vice-Mayor of The Hague announced that his city will be hosting the Dutch branch of the National Academy for Mayors of China, a platform that aims at sharing experiences between both countries.

What is certain is that Mayors play an essential role in the path towards sustainable urbanisation. As stated by European Commissioner Andris Piebalgs, “local solutions are often the way to solve global issues, with strong partnerships we can improve the life of millions of people”. More concretely, the European Commissioner announced the launch of a new tender (dubbed "EC-LINK") that will assist Chinese cities in adopting energy and resource-efficient solutions by sharing experiences on sustainable urbanization. The EU-China Mayors Forum is to become the key dialogue structure of this new undertaking. The statement was fully supported by Ramón Luis Valcárcel Siso, President of the Committee of the Regions, who announced that his organization is ready to support the Covenant of Mayors initiative and to participate in the exchange of good practices with the Chinese Association of Mayors.

    >> Covenant Monthly Newsletter September 2012 <<
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  The sole responsibility for the content of this newsletter lies with the Covenant of Mayors Office. It does not necessary reflect the opinion of the European Union. The European Commission is not responsible for any use that may be made of the information contained therein. The Covenant of Mayors was set up with financial support of the European Commission and consists of five associations of European local authorities: Energy Cities, Climate Alliance, Eurocities, CEMR, Fedarene, and ICLEI Europe.

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