On a global basis cities are growing and changing so fast that many authorities are struggling to cope. More people can mean more economic activity and wealth, but it can also mean added strain on energy, water, health, transport and housing facilities. All this, in turn, puts pressure on the environment, and more widely on climate change.
This is why the European Union has launched a three-year programme to promote international urban cooperation. Europe’s cities want to link up, build and share knowledge and solutions with other cities and regions, and in this first phase the IUC (an EU body for International Urban Cooperation) will boost sectoral, transversal and international urban cooperation and exchange with key city partners in Asia and the Americas.
IUC has selected Ramboll as one of these key city partners for the Asia component of the programme because of Ramboll's great experience within fields such as sustainability and urban liveability.
"The purpose of the Asia component of the global initiative is twofold," says Alex Coffey from Ramboll's Environment & Health Practice.
"We will both seek to strengthen EU-China city-to-city cooperation on sustainable urban development and to strengthen EU-Asia cooperation on local and regional climate change action. We will do this by building upon the 'Covenant of Mayors' initiative in Indonesia, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Vietnam, Singapore and Republic of Korea."
The EU China city to city approach will develop cooperation and implement solutions to common urban challenges taking a point of reference the EU’s integrated approach to urban development. As a result the capacity of cities to design, implement and manage sustainable urban practices in an integrated and participative way will be strengthened on a mutual beneficial basis.
The IUC programme is funded by the 'EU's Partnership Instrument' which supports the realization of EU policy objectives in areas including climate change and the external projection of the EU's growth strategy "Europe 2020". Other partners include the German consultancy GIZ and UCLG ASPAC (United Cities and Local Governments Asia Pacific).