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The Sustainable Cities China Programme (1996-2007): A compendium of good practice

The Sustainable Cities Programme was first implemented in 1996 in Shenyang and Wuhan, in China. From this initial experience, the environmental Planning and Management methodology was integrated in urban management to address pressing environmental concerns, such as air pollution, water quality, solid waste management and urban traffic. Innovative participatory and environmental governance mechanisms were tested, promoting sustainable natural, economic and social development of both cities through the implementation of demonstration projects. As a result, environmental awareness increased and crosssector and institutional cooperation strengthened.

From the success of the Shenyang and Wuhan experiments, the Sustainable Cities Programme II was set up in 2005 between Administrative Centre for China€hss Agenda 21 and UN-HABITAT. This international project was designed to last three years. Guiyang, Hailin and Panzhihua were chosen as pilot cities of the Sustainable Cities Programme II with three main objectives:

(i) to improve the environmental Planning and Management/Sustainable Cities Programme application and policy implementation processes.

(ii) to develop an institutional framework and networks for sustained environmental Planning and Management support.

(iii) to institutionalize normative functions of the Sustainable Cities Programme.

The criteria used for the pilot-city selection comprised institutional, human and technical capacity, geographical location to balance between southern and western regions, the urbanization trend in relevance to upcoming environmental challenges, strong cross-sector communication and commitment by local authorities, project feasibility as well as the identification of positive outputs for city environment/development.