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Seminar participants at the Seoul City Hall on 26 April, 2016.

Assistant Mayor of Seoul City Jae Ryong Yoo welcoming participants at the seminar.

Shu Zhu, Regional Director of ICLEI EAS welcoming participants at the seminar.

Delegates from 10 Chinese cities visited ICLEI East Asia Secretariat based in Seoul.

The seminar saw active participation and lively dialogues between Chinese and Korean local government officials, as well as urban development experts.

Delegates from 10 Chinese cities participated in ICLEI China-Korea Low-carbon Sustainable Cities Seminar in Seoul

A delegation of 17 representatives from 10 Chinese cities participated in the China-Korea Low-carbon Sustainable Cities Seminar hosted by ICLEI East Asia Secretariat (EAS) on 26 April 2016. The seminar was part of the one-week training program organized jointly by EAS, Seoul Human Resources Development Center and Seoul Metropolitan Government (SMG).

The 17 government officials came from cities from across China, including Beijing, Chengdu, Guangzhou, Guilin Lin’gui New District, Guiyang, Shanghai, Suining, Shenzhen Guangming New District, Tianjin Eco-city, and ZhuZhou. They specialize in different fields of urban development, such as economic development, foreign affairs, environmental protection, information technology, housing and urban construction.

Opened with a welcoming speech by Shu Zhu, Regional Director of EAS and a congratulatory address by Jae Ryong Yoo, Assistant Mayor of SMG, the seminar saw active participation of all city representatives, who presented how their cities are moving towards greater sustainability and low-carbon development.

As the host city, Seoul, represented by Team Leader from SMG Changjin Yoon, introduced its sustainable energy action plan and the “One less nuclear power plant” program. Aiming to enhance energy efficiency and GHG emission, the program has already entered into the second phrase, and working towards the goal of transforming Seoul into an energy-independent city by 2020. Besides, Yoon also introduced the Solar City project focusing on expanding LV installation and maximizing the city’s solar power capacity; the Fuel Cell Power Plants that aims to generate energy from waste; the Lighthouse project that includes the construction of small or medium sized energy efficient model houses; as well as LED replacement in public buildings.

Emphasizing on civic participation, Yoon also explained how the Eco-mileage program and the Seoul Energy Welfare Civic Fund, reach out to the community and engage citizens to actively participate in energy savings. Currently, the city is working towards establishing the Seoul Energy Corporation to better implement Seoul’s energy policies at the local level.

Beijing: Jingjinji regional cooperation
Dawei Wang, Division Chef of Beijing Environmental Protection Bureau explained Beijing’s strategy in pursuing low-carbon development through laws and regulations, government initiatives on promoting the use of new energy for cars and relocating polluting industries, standardization and assessment, as well as the pricing the on water and electricity to promote public energy savings. He also emphasized the need for strengthening regional cooperation in the Jingjinji (Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei) region along the northeastern coast of China, especially on the development of transport, environmental protection, and industrial restructuring.

Chengdu: livable city
Home of pandas and luscious forests and gateway to the Euraisan countries west of China, Chengdu is not only leveraging on its natural geographical advantage, but also working actively towards becoming a more livable and efficient city for citizens and investors alike. Haosen Huang, Deputy Director of Chengdu’s Academy of Economic Development presented the success of Chengdu in achieving the goals set in the 12th fifth year plan, such as raising clean energy utilization rate in the downtown area to 100%, and increasing the share of non-fossil energy to 30% of the primary energy. He also introduced a series of pilot projects mushrooming across the city, such as replacement of coal with natural gas in Jinjiang District, greenway construction in Wenjiang District, solar heat application in Shuangliu County, garbage sorting system in Dujiangyan, and ecological restoration at Pi County. He also emphasized the city’s active cooperation with foreign countries and organizations. For instance, Chengdu is working with her sister City Bonn, the host city of ICLEI World Secretariat.

Guangzhou: renovation of coal-fired power plants
Coal-fired power plants is an important pillar of enterprises in many Chinese cities, but also a key source of pollutants and GHG. Since 2014, Guangzhou has been cutting its emissions through renovating coal-fired power plants involving 21 machinery parts. According to the data from the Chinese Ministry of Environmental Protection, the number of clear days has increased by 30 days in 2015, while the PM2.5 concentration rate has dropped by 20.4%. The city also expressed great interest in learning Seoul’s experience in constructing distributed energy station and PV buildings.

Guilin Lin’gui New District: reclaimed water and green buildings
Building on its natural resources and the infrastructure of Guilin city, Ling’gui New District has developed quickly into the city’s new administrative, cultural, economic and tourism center. Heifeng Wei, Section Chief of Lin’gui New District introduced the district’s two primary focus: green building and reclaimed water. All new buildings are required to completely meet Green Label 1, while existing buildings are encouraged to expand its green areas by no less than 30%. The district was also chosen as the pilot site of the “Europe-China Eco-Cities Link” project that will focus on water recycling and reuse.

Guiyang: all-round low-carbon city
ICLEI Member Guiyang has been designated as the national model city for civilization, ecological civilization and sanitation, as well as the pilot city for low carbon development, energy conservation and emission reduction. Jianhua Deng, Section Chief of Guiyang Development and Reform Commission, gave an overview of Guiyang’s approach in implement low-carbon development through green building, clean and renewable energy, green transport and communities. Some of its remarkable achievements include: banning coal burning in urban areas, powering street lamps with solar energy, transforming 88% of its public bus fleet from oil to gas, saving 20-30% water and reducing urban garbage by 35-40%.

Shanghai: industrial restructuring
Hedong Yin, Deputy Section Chief from Shanghai Economic and Information Commission, explained how Shanghai is pursuing low-carbon development by restructuring its industries by removing heavily polluting industries, relocating factories and developing green industries. Based on the national 13th five-year-plan, Shanghai has rolled out 50 projects related to industrial restructuring, which aim at strengthening the development of high-tech industries, and improving the energy efficiency of current heavy and manufacturing industries.

Shenzhen Guangming New District
Located strategically at the heart of the Pearl River Delta, Shenzhen Guangming new district is well connected and supported by regional transportation and other infrastructures. According to Lixia Zhou, Section Director of Shenzhen Urban Development Center of Guangming New District, since 2007, the district has been developing under the vision of “low carbon ecological green district” that aims at enhancing the environment, diversity and connectivity of the area. Particularly, the district is famous for being the country’s first national pilot city in implementing low-impact development (LID). Closely related to the concept of “sponge city”, LID aims at improving urban resilience, minimizing the impact of floods while maximizing the utilization of runoff.

Suining: green economy
Located in the middle of the Sichuan basin, Suining is adjacent and well connected to its neighbor cities Chengdu and Chongqing. Under the direction of the 13th five year plan, the city is planning to focus on the development of green economy. This includes strategies such as developing modern service industries, green industries, eco-tourism and modern agriculture. The city is also continuing its effort to promote green living through green procurement, education and transportation.

Tianjin Eco-city: Model city with ambitious targets
Tianjin Eco-city is the second flagship government-to-government project between China and Singapore. Jia Lu, Officer from the Sino-Singapore Tianjin Eco-city Management Committee introduced the development of the city and particularly highlighted the key performance indicators (KPI) that guided the building of the city. Since its establishment, the city has already accommodated 40,000 people, with over 3,000 registered enterprises. The share of renewable energy is over 20%, including the use of solar, geothermal and wind energy. Besides being a hub for green high-end industries, the city also takes pride in achieving 100% green buildings, increasing the city’s water supply from non-traditional sources to over 50%, and 100% treatment of hazardous waste and 60% recycling of domestic refuse.

Zhuzhou: green buildings and renewables
Min Xiao, Director of Zhuzhou Housing and Urban Construction Bureau explained how Zhuzhou move towards low-carbon city through four main strategies on green buildings: energy saving, energy-efficiency enhancement, building new model green buildings, and using renewables such as solar power and geothermal heat. He also mentioned the city’s wish to cooperate with Seoul and ICLEI in the future, especially in terms of technical and financial support in low-carbon development.

Participants of the seminar, including representatives from Chinese cities and Seoul City, experts from ICLEI partners including Global Green Growth Institute, Green Technology Center-Korea, Korea Environmental Industry & Technology Institute, Korea Local Information Research and Development Institute, and Seoul Urban Solutions Agency had a lively discussion following the city presentations. While Chinese cities raised questions on Seoul’s experience in promoting urban sustainability, Korean experts also learned from the Chinese experience and showed interests in strengthening exchange and cooperation between the two countries at the local level.

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