On November 30, 2023, the 28th Conference of the Parties (COP 28) of the United Nations Climate Change Conference (UNFCCC) took place in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. The first Chinese local government side event, the Beijing Side Event, was held at the “China Pavilion” on the opening day of the conference. ICLEI-Local Governments for Sustainability played an active role in supporting Beijing in organizing this event.
Ms. MING Dengli, Chief of Climate Change Division, Beijing Municipal Ecology and Environment Bureau (image: ICLEI East Asia Secretariat)
Under the theme of “Actions and Progress for Addressing Climate Change and Reducing Pollution and Carbon Emissions in Beijing”, the event shared Beijing’s measures and effectiveness in actively preventing pollution and responding to climate change. By showcasing excellent typical cases, the event demonstrated the effectiveness of the capital city’s high-quality development and provided a model for megacities to implement the “Dual-Carbon” strategy and green low-carbon development. Commissioned by the head of the Chinese delegation, Mr. Chen Zhihua, Deputy Director General of the National Center for Climate Change Strategy Research and International Cooperation (NCSC), participated in the Beijing Side Event of the China Pavilion and delivered a speech.
Mr. CHEN Zhihua, Deputy Director General of the National Center for Climate Change Strategy Research and International Cooperation (NCSC) (image: ICLEI East Asia Secretariat)
Gino Van Begin, Secretary General of ICLEI, attended the side event as a representative of the co-organizers and delivered the opening remark. In his speech, Mr. Van Begin acknowledged Beijing’s efforts and achievements in combating air pollution and climate change. He remarked that Beijing provides a positive reference for other large cities to achieve carbon neutrality. Mr. Van Begin also mentioned that, as the focal point of the Local Government and Municipal Authorities (LGMA) constituency under the UNFCCC, ICLEI, together with UN-HABITAT and other agencies, is organizing the Multilevel Action & Urbanization Pavilion during COP28, which will provide a stage for cities and regional governments to showcase their climate actions.
Gino Van Begin, Secretary General of ICLEI (image: ICLEI East Asia Secretariat)
During the keynote speech session, Mr. Chen Tian, Director General of the Beijing Municipal Ecology and Environment Bureau, delivered a speech on the effectiveness of the ten-year development plan for “Green Beijing” in the new era. He emphasized that cities not only bear the brunt of climate change risks but are also vital in finding solutions to address the issue. To combat climate change and improve air quality, the Beijing Municipality has implemented the “Green Beijing” development strategy, which aims to reduce pollution and carbon emissions. This initiative has led to a significant decrease in carbon emissions, an improvement in ecological and environmental quality, and an increase in the city’s capacity for sustainable development.
Mr. CHEN Tian, Director General of Beijing Municipal Ecology and Environment Bureau (image: ICLEI East Asia Secretariat)
Invited by ICLEI, Mayor Andreas Wolter of Cologne, Beijing’s sister city, shared the Cologne Climate Action Plan. Mayor Wolter introduced Cologne’s goal of achieving carbon neutrality by 2035 and the efforts made over the past decades to achieve a green transition in the areas of energy, mobility, transportation, logistics, and business. In his speech, he emphasized the importance of public participation in achieving the carbon neutrality goal.
Andreas Wolter, Mayor of Cologne (image: ICLEI East Asia Secretariat)
Mr. Zhu Shu, Regional Director of the ICLEI East Asia Secretariat, moderated the side event’s discussion session. In this session, experts from the Beijing Climate Change Management Center, Beijing Drainage Group Co., Ltd, Zhonghe Xinxing (Beijing) Energy and Technology Research Institute Co., Ltd, and Goldwind Science and Technology, etc. discussed hot issues such as the construction of Beijing’s carbon market, innovation of low carbon advanced technology, development of hydrogen energy and wind power, and green and low-carbon actions of enterprises.
Mr. ZHU Shu, Regional Director and China Representative of the ICLEI East Asia Secretariat (image: ICLEI East Asia Secretariat)
Prior to the “China Pavilion” Beijing Side Event, a bilateral meeting took place between the Beijing Municipal Ecology and Environment Bureau (BEE) and the ICLEI. Gino Van Begin, Secretary General of ICLEI, praised Beijing’s exemplary role as a local government in realizing China’s Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) and expressed his gratitude to BEE for supporting the Beijing office of ICLEI. Mr. Van Begin stated that as the world’s largest city network, ICLEI will, as always, support Beijing in sharing and exchanging its experience and achievements in combating air pollution and climate change on the global stage. Mr. Van Begin also mentioned that ICLEI will actively promote exchanges and cooperation between Beijing and other metropolises in the world in the field of environmental protection. In addition, Director General Chen Tian introduced Beijing’s recent climate action efforts and expressed his appreciation to ICLEI for supporting the organization of the first side event of the “China Pavilion”.
Beijing Municipal Ecology and Environment Bureau (BEE) and the ICLEI-Local Governments for Sustainability (ICLEI) (image: ICLEI East Asia Secretariat)
During COP28, ICLEI will also support other local side events at the China pavilion hosted by Jiangsu Province, Guangdong Province, Shenzhen, and Shanghai.