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Asian cities and NDRC Mission to the EU in October 2018

Regional and urban development authorities from China, the Republic of Korea, Malaysia and Indonesia participated at the IUC Global Event in Brussels on 10 October 2018. The delegation included the Director-General of China’s NDRC Regional Economy Department Mr GUO Lanfeng, the Mayor of Jambi (Indonesia) Datuk Fasha Syarif, the Chief Executive of Iskandar (Malaysia) Datuk Ismail, the General Secretary of UCLG ASPAC Datuk Bernadia Irawati Tjandradewi as well as representatives from cities, city networks and institutes from Korea and Indonesia. At the event, which was hosted by the European Union’s External Action Service EEAS and Foreign Policy Instrument (FPI), experts from Asia were able to interact with colleagues from Europe and the Americas about several areas of sustainable urban development, energy, and local climate action. The event included keynotes by Jyrki Katainen, Vice-President for Jobs, Growth, Investment and Competitiveness of the European Commission, Markku MARKKULA, 1st Vice-President of the Committee of the Regions and Lambert van Nistelrooij, Member of the European Parliament. The workshop consisted of three panel discussions:

  • Sustainable urban development through integrated action planning
  • Accelerating climate action through local and regional commitment
  • Financing sustainable development and local climate action

Participants were then divided into the following thematic groups:

  • Social Inclusion & Urban Regeneration,
  • Nature-based solutions & Rural-Urban Nexus
  • Mobility
  • Climate Mitigation & Adaptation, and Energy
  • Circular Economy, Waste & Sustainable Production and Consumption
  • Water
  • Smart City

After deep discussions, each group briefly presented the main outcomes and exchanged on future pathways for achieving sustainable urban development in cities across the world. Several options for global collaboration were discussed, including global thematic initiatives to which regions could contribute through specific projects, ideally of similar nature to be implemented simultaneously. This would increase global presence.

Dominique Ristori, Director-General at DG Energy of the European Commission, and Ronald Hall – Senior Advisor at DG REGIO of the European Commission, closed the workshop.


Chinese mission to Belgium, the Czech Republic and Italy

From 8 – 16 October 2018, a Chinese delegation led by National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) conducted a mission to the EU, with the main agenda including the participation at the second IUC Global Event in Brussels (Belgium) and working visits to Prague (Czech Republic) and Reggio Emilia (Italy).

The Chinese delegation was led by Mr. GUO Lanfeng, Director General of Regional Economy Department of NDRC and comprised of 6 other representatives from NDRC, and sub-national DRCs of Shaanxi province, Henan province, Chongqing Municipality and Zhengzhou city. All the regions and cities are pilot regions selected to cooperate with their European counterparts under the IUC Asia Programme.

At the annual gathering of global stakeholders of the IUC Programme, Hilde Hardeman, Head of Service of the European Commission’s Service for Foreign Policy Instruments delivered an opening speech. “The IUC programme is an ambitious one. It asks cities and regions to go beyond borders to share knowledge, establish relationships and find solutions. We are delighted that delegates from China, India, Japan and North and South America have travelled to Brussels to discuss their sustainable urban development activities,” she said.

The Global Event, as part of the activities during the European Week of Regions and Cities, gave the delegates the chance to discuss ongoing sustainable urban development pilot projects with global partners. Mr. GUO Lanfeng delivered a keynote speech on behalf of NDRC, the comprehensive economy planner ministry in China. He introduced Chinese regional policies, the challenges faced by China in tackling with uncoordinated regional development, and suggestions to further the EU-China regional cooperation.

At a small-scale meeting at the sidelines of the European Week, Mr. GUO met with Mr. Marc Lemaître, the Director-General of DG REGIO, to discuss three steps to push forward the EU-China Regional Cooperation Mechanism:

  1. Upgrade the EU-China Regional Cooperation to a high level –as the main forum of EU-China Leaders Summit 2019
  1. Launch a joint study on Regional Innovation / Smart Specialization
  1. Deepen and expand the regional cooperation dialogue

Afterward, the delegation conducted work missions to Prague, where meetings were held with the Ministry of Regional Development of the Czech Republic and the Czech Institute of Informatics, Robotics, and Cybernetics of the Czech Technical University ( At the Ministry of Regional Development, the Chinese delegates had the chance to learn the implementation of EU Cohesion Policy in the Czech Republic, project-based application process at the regional level, as well as the monitoring and evaluation process on the results of the projects and policy implementation. Following that, at the Institute of Informatics, Robotics, and Cybernetics, the delegates discussed the potential of cooperation in the field of automation, AR, IoT, city of future, etc.

Chinese experts then traveled to Reggio Emilia, an IUC pilot city. At the city council, they met with the city councilor for international cooperation and then undertook visits to the Loris Malaguzzi International Center (pre-education approach) and to the Technopole to learn about the innovation and research initiatives in the university labs located in the innovation park.



Reggio Emilia


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