Mayors from Africa in China to discuss greener cities and South-South cooperation1Shanghai, 18 March 2015- Tongji University, in collaboration with UN-Habitat and UNEP, the United Nations Environment Programme, has held a workshop on Planning for Greener Cities and South-South Cooperation in Africa.

25 representatives from 8 African cities attended the workshop. It was also decided that demonstration projects shall be implemented in 2 cities that will be identified based on mutual interest and possible resource mobilized, as pilot cities for greener city planning with UNEP/UN-Habitat expertise and national professionals.

At the opening ceremony, Mr. Zhao Xinli, the Vice Director General of China Science and Technology Exchange Center, Ministry of Science and Technology, said: “Chinese and African cities are facing common problems such as low utilization rate of resources and heavy pollution, which constrains a city’s sustainable development. We believe that this workshop will provide new ideas and support for greener development of cities, in the process of which technology innovation serves as the driving force to cultivate green innovation talent, introduce high-end technology, and thus contribute to substantive cooperation and seek common development.”

“A green and sustainable development path”

Mr. Jin Chen, Secretary-General of Shanghai Municipal Urban-rural Development and Management Commission, said: “Shanghai has some experiences to share with African countries in its process of forging a green and sustainable development path.”

This workshop was hosted with the support of the Chinese Ministry of Science and Technology. UNEP-Tongji Institute of Environment for Sustainable Development (IESD), the College of Architecture and Urban Planning and the Collaborative Innovation Center for Clean Water organized the workshop.

“The collaboration between Tongji University and UNEP has seen fruitful outcomes through the UNEP-Tongji Institute of Environment for Sustainable Development (IESD). Now Tongji would like to work together with UNEP and UN-Habitat and African countries to complement capacity building and cooperation on project level, which will facilitate South-South Cooperation,” said Prof Wu Jiang, the Vice President of Tongji and Dean of UNEP-Tongji IESD.

Mayors from Africa in China to discuss greener cities and South-South cooperationBuilding on the establishment of World Cities Day

Mr. Munyaradzi Chenje, Director of UNEP Regional Support Office said, “UNEP concentrates on promoting economic exchanges, capacity building and technology transfer between global southern countries through South-South Cooperation. We believe that this workshop will further promote substantive cooperation between the South on the basis of UNEP and Shanghai Municipal Government’s cooperation on Green EXPO and Chongming Eco-island construction evaluation.”

Ms. Axumite Gebre-Egziabher, Director of UN-Habitat Regional Office for Africa said: “As the birthplace of World Cities Day, Shanghai has much experience and technology in the implementation of smart green cities, and will promote the development of African countries and regions through resource sharing.”

On 31 October 2014, the first World Cities Day was held in Shanghai, which was put forward through the Shanghai Declaration during the World EXPO 2010. The 68th UN General Assembly decided to set October 31st as “World Cities Day” to encourage human’s pursuit for innovation and harmonious development of cities.

Recognizing the importance of urban development issues in the global environmental agenda, UNEP and UN-Habitat have combined their professional networks and technical capacity in a Greener Cities Partnership focusing mostly on four programme priorities: resilient, resource efficient cities; sustainable transport and mobility; solid waste and waste water management; and sustainable buildings and construction.