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JCEP News  
Field Visit of UN Officials to Candidate Applicant Cities of SUC Programme
Arab Hoballah, Chief of Sustainable Lifestyles, Cities and Industry, for Delivering SCP in UNEP& Chair of SUC Administration Committee and Dr. Philipp Arnold, International Technical Consultant of UNEP& member of SUC International Editorial Committee, accompanied by Li Xiang, Executive Director of UNEP SUC Programme & Secretary General of Jia Cui Environmental Promotive Center (hereinafter referred to as JCEP) conducted a five-day official visit to China for field visiting cities and communities applying for SUC Programme.
 
Their visit marks the first field trip and preliminary evaluation to candidate cities conducted by the UNEP since the release of Guidelines for Sustainable Cities and Communities Evaluation Standards (hereinafter referred to as SUC Guidelines) in July 2015 and the reveal of SUC Guidelines Revision and its Management System at the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP21) in Paris held in last December. Their visit flamed great passion of cities to apply for SUC Programme.
 
 
On March 27, Mr. Hoballah visited China Academy of Building Research and had an in-depth communication with Mr. Wang Qingqin, Vice President of the Academy, on sustainable buildings. 
 
 
 
He spoke highly of the contributions and achievements made by the Academy on the research and practice of green building in China, proposed to elevate ¡°green building¡± to ¡°sustainable building¡±  in terms of lifecycle and carbon emission as well as expressed interests in cooperation on establishment of SUC Institute.
 
After the meeting, Mr. Hoballah headed for the Planned Greenbelt Project for environment improvement recommended by relevant departments of Chaoyang District, Beijing and suggested that water environment governance, soil test and improvement and sustainability integrated into the planning and construction period. He pointed out that the effective integration between buildings, human and environment should be fully considered in the projects of city renovation and environment improvement, especially water and soil protection.
 
 
 
On March 28, Mr. Hoballah, with the inspection delegation drove off from landmark central area of Luohu District along the landmarks of Shenzhen to make a field visit to  Dawang Community.
     
 
Mr. Hoballah, in collaboration with Mr. Li Xiang, Dr Arnold and leaders of Luohu District planted the ¡°friendship tree¡± and signed in the signature wall with best wishes towards the application of Luohu District for SUC Vanguard City of Sustainability in Betelnut Park. He pronounced at the International Sustainable Development Symposium that the inspection delegation chose Luohu District as the first stop of this trip because Shenzhen is a model in coordinating economic growth with environment and Luohu District of Shenzhen is a miniature of old downtown areas in economically advanced cities with good foundation and vigorous momentum but in face of crucial choices for sustainable transition. Consented with the inspection, Mr. Hoballah hoped that this District succeed in its application for UN SUC Vanguard City of Sustainability to provide ¡°Luohu Pattern¡± for sustainable development through its transition and that Dawang Community transform from a village-in-city to an example of community reconstruction through importing SUC Standards and SUC Management System and building project managing structure constituted by stakeholders.
 
Before the symposium, Mr. He Haitao, Secretary General of the Communist Party Committee of Luohu District warmly received the delegation group and asked the related departments to take an active role in the application and to take this chance exploring solutions for the problems and challenges met in the course of sustainable development; Mr. Nie Xinping, Mayor of Luohu District, sent a letter particularly to welcome the delegation and wished the symposium a success from overseas. Other leaders from related departments attended the symposium after accompanying the delegation group.
 
 
 
On March 29, Mr. Hoballah went to Zhanjiang with the delegation group and was sincerely accepted by Mr. Wang Zhongbing, Mayor and Under-Secretary-General of the Communist Party of Zhanjiang and attended the Press Conference on Application for UNEP SUC Programme.
 
 
Zhanjiang has noticed the UNEP Sustainable Urban Development and Liveable Garden Community Programme since last year and attended the Global Press Conference of SUC Programme. The City decided to start the application for SUC Vanguard City of Sustainability after further communication with JCEP for the context and contents of the Programme in detail and comprehensive evaluation of the benefits it would bring to environment improvement, resource utilization and ecological restoration, etc. on November 20, 2015, the application was approved at the 115th session of the 10th Standing Committee of the Communist Party of Zhanjiang.
 
During the field visit, Zhanjiang exuded its charm as a coastal city and showed its perseverance for sustainability. Mr. Hoballah was pleased to discover that Zhanjiang Government has great potential for development and made great achievements in sustainable development with a people-oriented focus. He said that future project review will be even stricter and wished a complete success of the Programme with joint efforts. In the future, he hoped to see in-depth experience exchange between China and the international society though the implementation of SUC Programme to promote sustainable development, energy efficiency and environmental protection.
 
Currently, Zhanjiang city has basically finished the collection and organization of application materials and the application work is gradually underway. UNEP will review and comment on candidate cities in June and guidance will be given to selected cities by SUC international expert teams appointed by UNEP.
 
 
 
On March 30, invited by relevant departments of the Guangzhou government, SUC delegation, headed by Arab, flied to Guangzhou and had a fruitful talk there with relevant leaders on the application for SUC project. Meanwhile, both sides expressed the willingness to cooperate on research and innovation of standards for sustainable cities and construction of resource efficient cities.
 
 
During the one-day field study, the delegation visited the districts of Yuexiu, Liwan and Tianhe and acquired a thorough knowledge of the current situation and construction plans of Nansha District and new eco-district in Guangzhou.
 
In recent years, Guangzhou has made strides in urban sustainability and international cooperation and accumulated rich experience on practice and international cooperation. It created the Guangzhou International Award for Urban Innovation which has integrated Guangzhou into the cooperation between international cities. After the field visit by SUC delegation, Guangzhou wants to conduct further cooperation with UNEP SUC programme, hoping to localize SUC Standards and management systems and strengthen its influence in the global green and sustainable development areas.
 
Thanks to UN-Habitat, the cooperation between Guangzhou and UNEP enjoys a long history. The various exchanges and cooperation have laid a solid foundation for future cooperation on SUC programme between the two parties.
 
 
 
By the end of March when cherry blossoms were blooming, Mr. Arab Hoballah, Dr. Arnold, Mr. Li Xiang and others staff went to Wuhan for field study. They came to the Huashan Eco-city for thorough observation and learned about the development of indicator systems, application of new environmental technologies, green buildings and efficient use of water resources by site research.
 
 
In the afternoon, entrusted by Mr. Wan Yong, Mayor of Wuhan, Vice Mayor Liu Liyong met the delegation in the municipal government and expressed warm welcome. He elaborated on the achievements Wuhan has made in pursuing the sustainable development of economy, society and environment. The Vice Mayor also added that preparatory work for applying for SUC is almost done and the application process will be accelerated by selecting representative communities and eco-districts. Arab said that, if Wuhan succeeds in eco-development, there is a high chance for Wuhan to become a highlight of SUC programme.
 
In the afternoon, the delegation also conducted a thorough survey of Humanwell Group, the medical industrial park and Huaxia College and spoke highly of their achievements.
 
 
 
SUC is a high-standard pragmatic action and demonstration programme for sustainable development initiated by UNEP and first launched in China, focusing on cities and communities in developing countries. Approved by UNEP, SUC has integrated GI-REC and SBCI and serves as a platform for the promotion and implementation of the two initiatives.
 
On July 2015, UNEP and JCEP co-organized SUC global press conference, releasing SUC Guidelines for the first time; On December, both parties held the second-round press release on the sidelines of Paris Climate Conference, releasing revised SUC Guidelines and its Management Systems and announcing that the year 2016 will see the city selection and implementation phase of SUC; On June 2016,  UNEP will make public the first batch of approved candidate cities and communities.
 
Jia Cui (China) Environmental Promotive Center
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