The CEWP High Level Conference offered a valuable opportunity to the CEWP-PI Lot 3 - China Europe Cooperation on Sponge Cities (CECoSC), to officially launch the project at the end of the one year inception period. This was done with a signing ceremony during the China Europe Water Platform High Level Conference.
Officials of the Beijing Water Authorities, The Netherlands Embassy (signing on behalf of the European Consortium), the Chinese Academy of Urban Planning and Design and the Changde Housing and Urban-Rural Development Bureau were the signatories of The Protocol of Cooperation. With this protocol, the Chinese counterparts confirmed their strong commitment to the CECoSC project.
Two-day work sessions with Chinese and European experts
Prior to the High Level Conference, European experts from Denmark, Finland, the Netherlands and Sweden, had two days working sessions with the Chinese experts. The working sessions resulted in a work plan that will be annexed to the Protocol of Cooperation.
The CECoSC project will have demonstrations and/or activities in Beijing and Changde (Hunan Province), both cities being successful pilots under the Sponge City Program of the PRC that was launched in 2014. The cities have different climate conditions and therefore face different challenges. Balancing between green-blue-grey solutions will be the main theme for Beijing. The city deals with water shortages and a low annual mean rainfall, but with the occasional extreme rainfall event. Changde, has a more moderate climate and precipitation rate and conducive to green blue solutions. The focus theme for Changde will be on sustainability and affordability, while dealing with the socio-economic assessment of Sponge City implementation. The Chinese pilot cities (Beijing and Changde) will be referenced with Amsterdam, Copenhagen, Turku and Gothenburg through a City to City Learning program. The discussion resulted in quite a challenging work plan for 2019-2021.
Water and Energy Technology Innovation in the Process of Urbanization
On the 8th of November, a parallel session ”Water and Energy Technology Innovation in the Process of Urbanization” was organized, with excellent presentations from all partners of the CECoSC project. The presentations illustrated the great achievements of the Chinese Sponge City Programme that only started in 2014, but which has already covered many projects with significant investments in 60 Chinese cities. All presentations addressed common challenges and the speakers expressed the need for joint research and mutual learning from the experiences gained in Europe and China. The session ended with a panel discussion on a water and urbanization nexus approach that could provide a more holistic water governance system with better integration and coordination between all interlinked sectors. The presentations of the session can be found here.