Sino-German urbanisation partnership

Project description

Title: Sino-German urbanisation partnership
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, and Nuclear Safety (BMU)
Country: People’s Republic of China
Lead executing agency: Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development (MoHURD)
Overall term: 2016 to 2021

Federal Environment Minister Barbara Hendricks (BMUB) and Minister Chen Zhenggao (MoHURD) sign the joint declaration of intent in November 2015 in Beijing. © BMUB/Inga Wagner


The rapid growth of Chinese cities, the manifold effects this has on rural areas and the increasingly apparent economic, social and environmental impacts of fast-paced urbanisation are creating huge challenges for China. In Germany too, fundamental social, environmental and economic issues are arising as a result of urbanisation and its consequences. It is against this backdrop that China adopted the National New-type Urbanisation Plan (2014-2020). In addition to social aspects, this ambitious strategy for urban development and planning is designed to steer environmental and climate aspects of urbanisation in China. The country is endeavouring to attract international partners to support this plan. Thus, in addition to the existing EU-China Urbanisation Partnership, the Sino-German Urbanisation Partnership was agreed on in May 2013 by the German Chancellor Angela Merkel and the Chinese Premier Li Keqiang. The German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, and Nuclear Safety (BMU) and the Chinese Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development (MoHURD) are jointly responsible for realising activities under the partnership. In November 2015, Federal Environment Minister Barbara Hendricks and China's Minister of Housing and Urban-Rural Development Chen Zhenggao signed a joint declaration of intent, forming the basis of the project.


China pursues a climate-friendly, integrated and sustainable urban development policy through political dialogue, the cross-city exchange of experience and training with a practical emphasis. This includes the effective reduction of CO2 emissions, a more balanced distribution of urban conurbations and an improvement in the quality of life in Chinese cities.


The project team supports policy dialogue between the German Environment Ministry and the Chinese Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development by organising an inter-ministerial working group. In addition to representatives from cities, architects and urban planners, academics and representatives of industry take part in cross-city dialogue events on innovative approaches to climate-friendly urban development.

The Sino-German Mayors' Programme was set up in 1982 and holds an annual summit. The project staff feed the insights and experience gained from the cross-city dialogue events and the Mayors' Summit into the policy dialogue between Germany and China. On this basis, they develop policy recommendations for decision-makers at national, provincial, municipal and local level.

The high level of air pollution considerably detracts from the quality of life of the people living in China's towns and cities. The project team is therefore cooperating closely with various think tanks and government-affiliated organisations on climate-friendly and environmentally responsible urban development. Training and continuing professional development with a practical focus is organised for staff from municipal and provincial governments and architects' and urban planning offices. This empowers them to plan, optimise and implement measures to reduce CO2 and other emissions in their areas of responsibility. The empirical experience from Chinese and German cities generated through the study and exchange formats is incorporated into recommendations for action by policy-makers at national level in China and Germany.


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