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Deputy Mayor Shu-Chuan Lee attends the Global City Network for Sustainability Leaders Summit

 Deputy Mayor Shu-Chuan Lee attends the Global City Network for Sustainability Leaders Summit

From February 27 to March 1, Deputy Mayor of Taipei City, Lee Shu-Chuan represented Mayor Wan-An Chiang to attend the Global City Network for Sustainability (G-NETS) Leaders Summit. At the summit, Deputy Mayor Lee shared Taipei City Government’s policies for establishing a safe city, promoting social inclusion, and combating climate change with representatives of 33 other cities worldwide. Deputy Mayor Lee shared Taipei’s plans to achieve net-zero carbon emission, showcased the city government’s sustainable development policies, and signed a joint communiqué with the representatives of other cities who attended the summit. Through this global exchange and collaboration platform, the Taipei City Government established friendly relationships with global cities and expanded the scope of its diplomacy.

To provide the summit attendees with an in-depth experience of Tokyo’s forward-looking plans for sustainable development, they were taken on a hydrogen ferry from Tokyo Bay to visit the City-Tech. Tokyo exhibition on February 27. The hydrogen ferry was powered by a diesel–hydrogen engine, and it had a display panel that showed carbon emission statistics throughout the journey. By alternating between diesel and hydrogen fuel, the ferry demonstrated to the attendees how its speed changed when different types of fuel were used, thereby offering the attendees a unique and engaging experience. Deputy Mayor Lee expressed that the hydrogen ferry can reach high speeds without emitting the unpleasant odors typically produced by traditional fuels, making it an excellent solution for improving the environment of a bay ecosystem while meeting transportation and tourism needs.

While the summit was being held, Tokyo was also holding the City-Tech. Tokyo exhibition. According to the host of the summit, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government, the City-Tech. Tokyo exhibition is the largest technological exhibition to be held in the world to date; it aims to explore sustainable development possibilities by promoting creativity and brainstorming between innovation teams from multiple cities. Accordingly, Deputy Mayor Lee visited the exhibition and learned about Tokyo’s policies for new industries, and he subsequently met with the Taiwanese team participating in the exhibition.

The opening ceremony of the summit was held on February 28, six sessions were conducted, with each focusing on one of the three themes as follows: “Environment”, “Inclusive and Just”, “Safe and Secure Cities”. During the sessions, representatives from 34 cities discussed and shared their city governance experiences and case studies. Deputy Mayor Lee led the Taipei City Government team to participate in the session, which focused on “Environment”.

In the opening ceremony, the Governor of Tokyo, Yuriko Koike stated that local governments form the frontline of public services and highlighted that the efficiency of governments and the speed of the formulation of countermeasures can be improved through intercity collaboration. Tokyo Governor Koike also attended a session centered on the theme of “Environment” and shared case studies of city governance in Tokyo City.

Governor Koike noted that Tokyo had experienced air and river pollution in the past and that the environment is gradually improving through public-private cooperation, technology, and regulatory measures to limit emissions and sewage. Tokyo endeavors to implement measures such as installing solar panels in new buildings, integrating hydrogen energy, promoting electric vehicles, and setting up various phased plans to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. She advocated promoting the “Cool Biz”, which encouraged office workers to wear clothing suitable for the hot weather in Asia and to set air conditioners not lower than 28°C.

During the session, Deputy Mayor Lee shared Taipei City’s policies for achieving net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. He emphasized that the Taipei City Government had raised its carbon emission goals to 40% by 2030, 65% by 2040, and net zero by 2050. In June 2022, Taipei City Council completed the third reading of the Taipei City Self-Government Ordinance for the Management of Net-Zero Emissions. Taipei City established the Climate Transition Foundation to achieve a just transition and the Climate Change Response Committee to manage and supervise all climate-related policies and operations.

A representative from New York City shared how their city government invited new enterprises to propose sustainable development plans for the real estate assets owned by the government of New York City; these plans are aimed at achieving sustainability, reducing carbon emission, and developing the offshore wind industry to provide clean energy sources for the city and create job opportunities. The profits generated from the industry can then be used to implement social welfare policies. Several representatives from other cities also shared their governments’ regulations for waste gas emissions, plans for increasing the adoption of solar power and other new energy sources, plans for promoting electric vehicles, and plans for expanding green areas to enhance carbon fixation.

The summit ended on March 1st, during which the representatives of each city signed a joint communiqué to collaborate and exchange ideas for establishing a safe city, promoting social inclusion, and combating climate change. During the closing address to the summit, Deputy Mayor Lee emphasized the unique position of Taipei in Asia and reminded attendees to cherish the values shared between cities. With regard to achieving diverse social inclusion, reducing carbon emissions, and promoting intercity exchanges, Deputy Mayor Lee stressed that the signing of the joint communiqué does not represent the end of the summit but the start of a new chapter in the development of intercity relationships and engagement. He also expressed that Taipei City is prepared to actively participate in international society and thanked the Tokyo Metropolitan Government for the summit invitation and their willingness to share their valuable city governance experience. Finally, Deputy Mayor Lee passionately invited all attending representatives to visit Taipei City in the future.

In the past three years, the COVID-19 pandemic has limited physical exchanges between countries. Consequently, Taipei City conducted video conferences with cities from other countries instead of in-person exchanges. At the summit, Deputy Mayor Lee met with Governor Koike and exchanged gifts. Additionally, he delivered a handwritten letter from Mayor Chiang to Governor Koike. In the letter, Mayor Chiang thanked Governor Koike for her congratulatory message on the inauguration of the new city government and for inviting the Taipei City Government to attend the summit. 

This summit was Taipei City Government’s first post-pandemic international event. During the event, Deputy Mayor Lee shared and exchanged ideas with several representatives from the sister cities, including Seoul, Helsinki, Los Angeles, and San Salvador. Ryu Chang-Su, the Vice Mayor II of the Seoul Metropolitan Government, indicated that Taipei is Seoul’s first sister city and highlighted the unique relationship between the two cities. Additionally, Vice Mayor Ryu expressed his hope for both cities to enhance their exchanges and invited the Taipei City Government to attend the Seoul Biennale of Architecture and Urbanism and the World Smart City Expo, both of which are scheduled to be held in Seoul in September.