The European Union and China have a long-standing cooperation on climate change related issues and a solid agreement to further step up their joint efforts. Since 2005, the EU-China Partnership on Climate Change has provided a high-level political framework for cooperation and dialogue. This cooperation commitment was confirmed in the 2010 Joint statement, enhanced in the 2015 Joint statement and reaffirmed in the 2018 Leaders’ statement
During this period, in May 2012, The EU-China Urbanisation Partnership, launched by EU Commission President Barroso and PRC Premier Li, was aimed at tackling challenges together through cooperative efforts between stakeholders at all appropriate levels, including national, regional and local levels. It also offered a framework for concerted actions between European and Chinese cities, such as projects designed to assist Chinese mayors when facing urbanisation and sustainable development challenges. In this framework, it was decided to hold an EU-China Urbanisation Forum every year that convenes stakeholders and leaders, in order to exchange on major changes and achievements in sustainable urban development.
In 2012, it also set up a dedicated High Level Innovation Cooperation Dialogue (ICD). The ICD elevated the level and intensity of research and innovation relations with China by providing a forum to discuss respective innovation policies and systems, framework conditions and launch joint initiatives.
The EU and China reaffirmed the importance of cooperation in research and innovation as a driver for economic and social development and a key element of EU-China relations at the 19th EU-China Summit in 2017. A new package of flagship initiatives was agreed upon to boost cooperation targeting environment and sustainable urbanization, among the other goals.
The challenge was to bring together a wide-ranging partnership of stakeholders in Europe and China to create an innovation platform for developing and piloting innovative solutions in sustainable urbanisation that rely on advanced knowledge and technologies.
The concept of a “platform,” as a mechanism and tool, to facilitate cooperation in innovation related to urban development was proposed by Massimo Bagnasco, in his work in the EU-China Innovation Cooperation Task Force, and afterwards as a member of the Experts’ Advisory Committee of the “Innovation Platform on Sustainable urbanization.”
In 2017, under the Horizon 2020 program, the European Commission, Directorate General for Research and Innovation signed the grant agreement with Urban EU-China Consortium for the China-EU Innovation Platform on Sustainable Urbanization. The main objective of the platform was to develop a robust, evidence-based, bottom-up approach to complement the existing China-EU strategic approach to sustainable urbanization. The goals have been achieved through a series of coordinated actions, including a strategic R&D agenda, scope and assessment, networking activities, peer-to-peer exchanges, benchmarking and monitoring, and joint demonstration projects.
The platform activities in China were successfully managed by Professor Liu Chang, the lead of the Chinese consortium members.
The China-EU Innovation Platform for Sustainable Urbanization concluded its operation at the end of 2020.
The concept of a “platform,” as a mechanism and tool, to facilitate cooperation in innovation related to urban development was proposed by Massimo Bagnasco, in his work in the EU-China Innovation Cooperation Task Force, and afterwards as a member of the Experts’ Advisory Committee of the “Innovation Platform on Sustainable Urbanization.”
China Europe Carbon Neutral Sustainable Urban Development aims to continue carrying out the vision and targets of the platform by involving original members of that specific consortium as well as others, in order to build on the excellent results of the past few years and provide a solid legacy for the work already done.
At the same time, we will expand our activities to address the carbon neutral challenge and invite other key entities and profiles from academia, official institutions and the industrial sector.
More recently, at the EU-China Summit in July 2018, both sides reaffirmed their commitment to advance the implementation of the Paris Agreement and intensify their cooperation on climate change and clean energy.
The EU and China agreed to strengthen bilateral cooperation on:
- Long-term low greenhouse gas emission development strategies
- Emissions trading
- Energy efficiency
- Clean energy
- Low-emission transport
- Low-carbon cities
- Climate-related technology
- Investment in climate and clean energy projects,
- Cooperation with other developing countries
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China’s technology in the field of sustainable urban development and green building is advancing rapidly. Greater attention is required to properly enforce the standards and to encourage investment in improved green technology, green building and sustainable urbanization. These new requirements provide new opportunities in developing clean and energy saving technology, green building market and improve reciprocal knowledge on the decarbonization process where urbanizaton will play a crucial role.
Despite the on-going activities, the meaning of the decarbonisation concept is not yet fully defined and neither are the standards to define an overall assessment.
China Europe Carbon Neutral Sustainable Urban Development then aims to support and substantially contribute to China’s path towards carbon neutrality in a holistic and inclusive way by gathering all the stakeholders and creating solutions for each challenge.