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Yunus Arikan, Manager of ICLEI Cities Climate Center, welcomed the Chinese delegation from Chengdu and representatives from E3G, Germanwatch and City of Bonn.
The Bonn-Chengdu low-carbon Sustainable low-carbon development partnership was officially launched at the Old Town in Bonn, Germany on 24 January 2013.

ICLEI Member City of Bonn launches sustainable low-carbon development partnership with Chengdu

January 30, 2013

The City of Bonn, Germany – ICLEI Member City and the host of ICLEI World Secretariat - has embarked on a new sustainable low-carbon development partnership with its sister city Chengdu – the home of giant pandas and the capital city of China’s Sichuan Province.

The partnership was officially launched on 24 January 2013 at the Old Town Hall in Bonn, where officials from both cities and representatives from the business, NGOs and the academia exchanged experience on low-carbon development at the local level.

The Sister Cities partnership

Supported by the State of North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW) and the Mercator Foundation, and implemented by E3G and Germanwatch, the low-carbon development project builds on the existing partnership between the NRW and Sichuan province.

“Bonn and Chengdu have long-standing partnership in the cultural sphere. We should capitalize on this relationship and extend our cooperation to sustainable development,” said Angelica-Maria Kappel, Deputy Mayor of the City of Bonn.

The forum covers a large array of sustainability topics, including new and renewable energy development, urban transport, water use, waste management, green building, policy-making and legislation, investment, greenhouse gas emission reporting and auditing, as well as local climate actions taken by the civil society.

Chengdu builds on urban sustainability

Named one of the “World’s Fastest Growing City in the Next Decade” by Forbes magazine in 2010, Chengdu has been facing the double challenges of urbanization and climate change, as a result of China’s rapid industrial development over the past two decades.

But the Chinese city has also taken remarkable steps in transforming itself into a more sustainable and resource efficient city, especially in its development of green industries, water management, ecological conservation and urban transport system – a vision that aligns with the People's Republic of China’s 12th five-year plan – a set of national guidelines for social and economic development for all regions across China, which highlighted the country’s need to develop environmental-friendly and energy savings communities.

Among others, Chengdu’s Fu and Nan River Rehabilitation project, which cleaned up the city’s mother river and rehoused 30,000 slum dwellers, is one of the most internationally celebrated initiatives. It was awarded ICLEI Sustainable Communities Award in 2000, the Dubai International Award for Best Practices in 2000 and the UN-HABITANT Scroll of Honor in 1998.

To honor its reconstruction achievement after the magnitude-8.0 earthquake hit Sichuan in 2008, the UN International Strategy for Disaster Reduction named Chengdu as ‘Role Model for Resilient Development’ – the first Chinese city who received such honor.

Focusing on cities

China is among one of the seven countries reviewed under the recently released World Bank report “Planning, Connecting and Financing Now: What City Leaders Need to Know”, in which governments and city leaders – particularly those from developing countries where urbanization is happening fast – are encouraged to play a more proactive role in driving resilient and sustainable growth through financing infrastructure. 

Jim Yong Kim, President of World Bank also highlighted the role of cities as one of the top three priorities in building global resilience against climate change during the World Economic Forum held in Davos, Switzerland, on 23-27 January 2013.

According to Xinhua agency, the World Bank is expecting to deepen its cooperation with China regarding urbanization and climate change.

To know more about Chengdu’s river revitalization project, read ICLEI’s complete case study.