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‘New Cities, New Economy’ China programme launched

The Coalition launched a major China country programme on 8th October in Beijing. The programme is designed to support China’s upcoming 14th Five Year Plan (2021-2025) and next National Urbanisation Plan, running hand in hand with an engage-and-support approach. It is led by the Brookings-Tsinghua Center for Public Policy (with support from WRI China).

Urbanisation and industrialisation have been two fundamental engines of China’s growth agenda. By 2030, under a ‘business as usual’ scenario, Chinese cities could represent close to half of the total growth in carbon emissions in cities globally. As the Chinese economy has entered a new phase characterised by Premier Li Keqiang as “high quality growth”, the government has introduced the concept of “new urbanisation” – compact, green, low carbon and smart urban development to replace old industry-centred urbanisation.

The Coalition is helping the Chinese government to design urbanisation policies that enable economic transition while delivering its commitments under the Paris Agreement and supporting the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. A key research question that this programme seeks to answer is: how can cities, especially national central cities within clusters, play a role to recouple China’s “new urbanisation” process with green and low-carbon economic growth?

The Coalition will help to provide links between key policy influencers and key figures in relevant ministries. Our platform of workshops and fora will enable key stakeholders to exchange ideas, discuss research produced and finalise policy recommendations. We will also convene a senior Urban Advisory Council, creating an ecosystem of change makers and serving as the link between our platform and national policies. The programme follows the timeline of national policy drafting, helping to provide timely input for decision makers.

The packed launch event at Tsinghua University was addressed by Lord Nicholas Stern, NCE Global Commissioner; Minister Liu Yanhua, Chair of China’s National Expert Committee on Climate Change; Professor He, Deputy Director of National Expert Committee; Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Co-Chair of the NCE Global Commission and Former Finance Minister of Nigeria. It was moderated by the head of the new China programme, Professor Qi Ye. It was live streamed to over 100,000 people and picked up by national media outlets, including an hour-long interview with Lord Stern and Professor Ye.

The event also marked the Chinese launch of the New Climate Economy 2018 Report ‘Better Growth, Better Climate’, to which the Coalition contributed the cities chapter.

Country programme:China