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Covenant signatory cities discuss sustainable urbanisation with their counterparts in Beijing
A staggering 40 European mayors - among which several Covenant signatory cities - met their Chinese counterparts on 21 November in Beijing at the EU-China Urbanisation Forum. The objective of the event was twofold: increasing cooperation between European and Chinese cities when it comes to sustainable urbanisation and signing cooperation agreements to further improve knowledge-exchange between cities.

In total some 800 stakeholders discussed sustainable urbanisation last week in Beijing. The large delegation of European mayors included the Covenant of Mayors signatory cities of Bristol (UK), Tampere (Finland), Milan (Italy), Gothenburg (Sweden), Ghent (Belgium), Amsterdam (the Netherlands) and San Sebastian (Spain), among others. They were welcomed by some 40 Chinese mayors, including the leaders of the Chinese mega-cities of Chengdu, Guangzhou, Qingdao, Shanghai and Shenzhen. Main discussion points included sustainable mobility, smart cities, urban innovation, culture heritage and urban planning with the objective of exchanging best-practices that can be replicated both in China and Europe.

In his keynote address, European Commissioner for Energy Günther Oettinger noted that "mayors hold the solution to a low-carbon economy", while his counterpart for Regional Policy Johannes Hahn added that European and Chinese cities were “laboratories for our ever more urbanized world". Likewise, President of the European Commission José Manuel Barroso insisted on the key role played by European cities in this partnership and President of the European Council Herman Van Rompuy said “cities have been engines of change throughout history".

Invited as Executive Director of the association leading the Covenant of Mayors Office, Energy Cities Executive Director Gérard Magnin portrayed the Covenant as an “opera in 5 acts”, starting with the launch of the EU climate and energy package in 2008 (1), promoting multi-level (2), multi-actor (3), multi-sector (4) cooperation and culminating with experience-sharing beyond European borders (5). “Our stories are different, our situation is different, the organization of our country is different. But we live on the same planet and belong to the same human race." Commenting on the parallel unfolding of the COP19 conference, he added : "the cities of our two regions and beyond all continents must join forces and strengthen their cooperation”.

Under the patronage of Premier Li Keqiang and President José Manuel Barroso, the Forum is co-organized by the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Energy and the Chinese National Development and Reform Commission. This partnership is a milestone in the strategic relations between China and the European Union, as it marks the first time ever that European and Chinese cities/regions share best practices in such an important field of action.

    >> Covenant Monthly Newsletter November 2013 <<
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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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