Northeast Asian Countries Enhance Low Carbon Urban Development Cooperation

UNESCAP9 December 2013: The UN symposium on 'Realizing Low Carbon Cities in North-East Asia: Bridging Science, Policy and Promoting Cooperation' focused on sharing lessons learned on low carbon city (LCC) development and improving subregional cooperation on LCC strategies.

The symposium, which took place in Beijing, China, on 5-6 December 2013, was organized by the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), in partnership with the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences. The event brought together development experts, academics, subregional and international agencies, and city representatives from across Northeast Asia.

The symposium was based on the recognition that Northeast Asian countries have undergone resource-intensive development paths, accounting for one-third of the world's greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. ESCAP notes that this proportion is expected to increase as the average share of the urban population is projected to grow to almost 70% by 2020.

Participants at the symposium decided to launch a cooperation partnership for information sharing and capacity building, as a practical way to address countries' needs and to support city initiatives in moving towards low carbon pathways. Participants emphasized the need to: promote knowledge sharing; support innovations in policy, technology and financing mechanisms; and adopt an integrated approach to accelerate LCC development. They discussed policy perspectives, stakeholder roles, tools and technological methodologies and challenges faced regarding LCC development.

Other highlights at the symposium included: a review of China's policies and methodologies, particularly the designation of 42 pilot LCCs; and Japan's Environmental Future City Program, developed in the wake of the Fukushima disaster in 2011. [ESCAP Press Release] [Symposium Website]