Engaging with Chinese cities

One of the NiCE project objectives was to engage with the international smart cities community. In particular, NiCE had the objective of developing a new collaborative network of Chinese cities and their partners through the support of the City of Yantai.

First Chinese signatory to the Covenant of Mayors, Yantai acted as a subcontractor in the project.


Yantai was asked to establish and coordinate a network of smart Chinese cities willing to cooperate in the filed of green digital and taking the Charter as a starting point for working on a number of urban issues of common interest. This collaboration enabled NiCE and the Green Digital Charter to be a catalyst for new partnerships between EU and Chinese cities working on this issue and to provide mutual feedback on the practical design and implementation of local strategies in European and Chinese cities.


Details and activities

“Green Digital Agenda in Smart Cities – European and Chinese cities leading by examples”

NiCE session in the context of the ‘East-Meets-West congress and exhibition on innovation and entrepreneurship’ (Nicosia, CY 1-4  September 2012) organised by the European Office of Cyprus auspices of the Cyprus Presidency of the Council of the EU 2012. More information: NiCE session during the East meets West congress in Cyprus


“EU-China Urbanisation Partnership Forum”

Between 20 and 23 November 2013, in the Beijing Exhibition Centre, the EU-China Exhibition on Urban Development took place. The Green Digital Charter and NiCE were promoted through posters and dissemination of printed material. In parallel, on 21 November 2013, the EU-China Urbanisation Partnership Forum was organised. NiCE participated in the Smart City sub-forum, one of the five parallel morning events. The event was a high-level cooperation event, since the EU was represented by Gunther Oettinger, Commissioner for energy, and Zoran Stancic, Deputy Director General of DG CONNECT. China was represented by Yang Xueshan, Vice Minister of MIIT, and Qin Hai, Director General of the MIIT.

During the event, NiCE and GDC were presented. Firstly by Bernard Priest, Deputy Leader of the Manchester City Council, who made a specific reference to the GDC as an example of green digital action among European cities. Secondly by Nikolaos Kontinakis, NiCE project coordinator, who was invited to deliver a 10-min presentation on the GDC and how it can be replicated in China as an example of cities networking and cooperation with regard to green ICT projects. And third by the Vice Mayor of the Hague, Henk Kool, that specifically mentioned GDC as an example of action towards sustainable ICT. After the event, the NiCE project continued working with the Chinese authorities (especially MIIT) and Yantai in order to compile the first version of a Chinese GDC that will lead to the creation of the Chinese network of cities. This text, under the name “EU-China Green Smart City Declaration” was used during the next high-level event that took place in Beijing in April 2014, with the participation of a large number of Chinese cities.


“EU-China Green Smart City Cooperation Pilot City Exchange Meeting”

The next high-level event connected to the EU-China cooperation on green ICT took place between 28 and 30 April 2014 in Beijing and was organised by DG CONNECT and the Chinese MIIT. The EU level representation included among others, Colette Maloney and Thibault Kleiner, Heads of Units in DG CONNECT, and Frank Greco and Philippe Vialatte, Minister Counsellors of the EU Delegation in China.

The important developments that were achieved during the last one year in the effort to create a Chinese network of cities were reflected in the last plenary session of the event, “Conclusion and next steps”, that took place on 29 April. At this session:

  1. Nikolaos Kontinakis, NiCE project coordinator, presented the Green Digital Charter and NiCE as well as the prospects that GDC cooperation between EU and China can have;
  2. KANG Yanrong and CHEN Cai from the China Academy of Telecommunication Research (CATR) of MIIT presented to the Chinese smart cities’ representatives (15 Chinese cities), the common statement “EU-China Green Smart City Declaration” that was drafted before the event;
  3. A Q&A session followed where Chinese cities’ representatives asked questions and made remarks about the EU-China cooperation and the Chinese GDC potential;
  4. CATR officials announced that the next steps of the process would be:
    1. CATR will circulate the common statement text to all smart cities asking for comments and their willingness to sign,
    2. CATR will gather all replies and create a second draft of the common statement,
    3. CATR will collaborate with high-level officials of MIIT for the creation of the Chinese network.