Aalborg (Denmark) and Hefei (Anhui)
Source : North Denmark EU Office Aalborg - Brussels
ICLEI-Local Governments for Sustainability
Character, formal status, start and duration of the partnership
The agreement signed by the cities of Aalborg and Hefei is the result of a previous private collaboration between consortiums working on the field of raw material extraction. In 1988 the Aalborg administration was recommended to start up a twinning relation with the city of Hefei. Although the partnership was born under an essentially private boost, it is currently run by public actors.
Main topics addressed and activities undertaken within the partnership
Economic issues and trade, energy efficiency, urban planning and construction are the main topics undertaken. Education is also considered through the implementation of science, technology and sports events.
Key achievements within the partnership
In 2005, 60 hospitals from the city of Hefei (which has about 5,000,000 inhabitants) took part in the “Sustainable Waste Handling in Hefei”, a project focused on clinical waste management and financed by the Asia URBS Initiative. Through the collaboration of hazardous waste treatment and market strategy experts coming from Danish private companies, a more environmental friendly waste scheme were studied resulting in the implementation of a number of IT-based logistic systems in order to control clinical waste handling.
Since the first Danish delegation travelled to China ten years ago, business meetings are organized at a regular basis in order to discuss business issues and exchange initiatives on culture related topics.
Every four years the city of Aalborg, which counts up to 34 different twinning cities, organizes sport competitions which draw a large number of teams from all over the world. Also politic authorities meet each other regularly.
Future expectations and expected development of the partnership
There is a great potential for further cooperation between the two cities especially within exchange of public know how. However, it requires a more proactive strategy from both sides and the willingness to implement the strategy. This is the future perspective and might be realistic in the coming years if there is a political commitment from both sides as well as new funding opportunities.
Key obstacles and weaknesses in the partnership
Even though language often represents a communication barrier, this is not considered a main issue. The most relevant are the obstacles related to the proposal stage of new projects where the Hefei administration is more active in suggesting headlines of attractive projects than in developing a substantial action plan for their implementation.
Another important issue for Aalborg is the lack of funding opportunities. Neither the Danish Government nor the European Union offer adequate answers to this need. Furthermore, due to the low number of European calls, there exists a strong competition where small projects have few chances.
Needs and wishes for support to improve the partnership
The city of Aalborg would like to see an increase in the public attention on the topics concerning exchanges between cities.
This case study belongs to the file « Europe - China Exchange Platform Survey »