Europe-China Eco Cities Link (EC-Link)


Europe-China Eco Cities Link (EC-LINK)
(completed in 2020)

The concept of sustainable development had emerged over the past decades as a new requirement for urban and metropolitan level public action, which involved conceptual principles and practices as applied to land-use and urban planning. Up to the day, it was commonplace to find the term “sustainable city” and the expression “sustainable urban development” cited to denote intentions of central and local governments to choose green solutions for the future of their cities. 

Urbanization was a worldwide trend, and while the challenges facing in Europe and China were very different, sharing and partnering at the municipal level holds great potential to help address social, economic and environmental sustainability issues. China could benefit from European know-how in order to meet its sustainability related goals, while Europe could integrate knowledge gained from pilot projects conducted in China.


The project supported the sharing and partnering at the municipal level, in order to better address social, economic and environmental sustainability issues.


The services, technical assistance, and expertise provided by EC-Link assisted the Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development in shaping a national ecological and low-carbon framework, and helped Chinese municipalities with their own ecological, low-carbon urban development.

The project had also  received high-level government endorsement in both Europe and China as part of the EU-China Partnership on Urbanization, a broad political initiative offering a framework for concerted actions between European and Chinese cities, such as projects designed to assist Chinese mayors when facing urbanisation and sustainable development challenges.

Its work pertained to nine comprehensive sectors: Compact Urban Development, Urban renewal, Green Buildings, Green Transport, Green Industry, Water Management, Solid Waste Management, Clean Energy and Municipal Finance.


  • Selection of ten Chinese pilot cities, namely Qingdao, Weihai and Zhuhai etc.
  • Development of Inter-City-Labs
  • Development of pilot projects and the Green Finance Network
  • Publishing of EC-Link position papers
  • Launch of the City Network Units & Green Finance Forum
  • Launch of the EC-Link Website and Platform


funded by

supported by


Implemented by


Martin Hofmann

Head of Cluster

Sustainable Transition – Infrastructure & Cities, Mobility, Energy, Environment & Circular Economy
Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH