Local sustainability in Rizhao (China) and Jnnurm (India)


ICLEI-Local Governments for Sustainability

1 - Rizhao: An ‘Eco-city’ for sustainable growth and social harmony

Since the Rizhao Municipal Government began its transformation process towards an ‘Eco-City’ by implementing the Eco-City Building Plan, the ecological environment and extended urban development area of Rizhao has improved substantially. The city has benefited economically and the quality of life of its residents has increased significantly. Rizhao’s efforts have been nationally and internationally (UN-Habitat Scroll of Honour Award) recognized.

City profile

Case Study #140 Rizhao

Population: 2.9 million

City size: 5310km2

Appr. municipal budget per capita: US$ 570 GDP per capita US$ 3,540</quote>

1.1 - Eco-city transformation for sustainable urban development

The city of Rizhao was under-performing in comparison to most other neighboring cities in China. Characterized by low per capita incomes and poor living conditions, the city lacked planning capacity and sufficient infrastructure and services. For example, in the entire city (5,310 km² area), there existed only 49 km of road, public green space per person was less than 3m², and waste and sewage treatment plants and other pollution controls were almost non-existent. With accelerating urbanization, population growth, and industrialization, the pressures on the local natural environment increased. To stay economically and socially attractive and viable, the city required effective planning and investment. To achieve this, the Rizhao Municipal Government began the implementation of the ‘Eco-City Building Plan’ in 2003.

1.2 - Environmental Improvements and Economic Benefits of an ECO-CITY

The objective of the Eco-City Building Plan was to develop a new city model that promotes economic development, while securing ecological quality and social harmony. The implementation has yielded impressive results. Rizhao has received dozens of national awards as well as the highly prestigious international ‘UN-Habitat Scroll of Honour Award’ in 2009 and first ‘World Clean Energy Award’ in 2007.

In achieving such success, Rizhao has undertaken various initiatives. Solar energy is now widely used as well as urban central heating systems which now heat up to 1 million m². The current utilization rate has reached 65 per cent in the city and solar lighting systems are now widely used in parks and public squares. In total the city saves 3.8 billion kWh of electricity annually, reducing 3.25 million tons of CO2, 2.2 million tons of SO2 and 20,000 tons of dust. The current utility rate of clean energy use increased from 70 per cent in 2000 to 99 per cent in 2010. In addition, there are 25 industrial enterprises passing the ISO14001 environmental management system certification with a further 63 companies currently carrying out the audit.

After building 8 water management plants in Rizhao from 2003 to 2011, the water supply capacity which comes from the nearby reservoirs increased to approximately 322,000 tons per day or 114 liters per capita per day. The supply rate of urban water coverage including drinking water and city surface water has remained at 100 per cent. Quality of urban surface water and coastal waters are meeting or exceeding the currently required national and provincial environmental standards.

To protect and restore beaches, reefs, wetlands and other ecological habitats, the ‘Integrated Coastal Restoration Project’ was implemented. Rizhao Municipal Government invested US$ 290 million to re-design the nearly 10 km² Wanpingkou beachfront and establish it as a prime center for tourism, water sports, leisure and recreational activities. Furthermore, various initiatives were introduced to improve the 120km of waterways in the city. Primarily based on flood prevention, aesthetic quality, ecological sustainability and recreational functionality, improvements to the natural and physical environment were made. This included broadening the width of rivers, improving rainwater and sewage systems and building water storage infrastructure.

Since in the implementation of the Eco-City vision, urban noise pollution has decreased considerably due to a ban on night construction, honking prohibition measures and improvements in public transport. The quality of air, drinking water and sea water have reached the national Standard Class I level. The air quality in Rizhao ranks top among the 113 cities for environmental protection at national level and the city has been the top ranked city for eight consecutive years for urban environmental rehabilitation efforts as a result of its water pollution control and waste management policies. Green open space has reached 2,160 hectares, an increase to 42.2 per cent of the total urban area in 2010. The public green area per person increased from 10.5 m² in 2000 to 19 m² in 2010.

At the same time, the economy has maintained significant economic growth reaching a GDP in 2008 of US$ 9.66 billion. By improving ecofriendly policies in the tourism and services sectors, Rizhao has also been successful in attracting more visitors to the city. In fact more than 17 million tourists have visited Rizhao since 2008.

1.3 - « Functional, Ecological, Attractive and Dynamic »- a livable waterfront city

After 1989, Rizhao Municipal Government adopted a series of plans, including the Rizhao Sustainable Development Plan, the General Plan for Developing Circular Economy in Rizhao, the City Master Plan and most recently, it introduced the Eco-City Building Plan of Rizhao in 2003.

A key institutional framework had to be created in order for the Eco-City plan to be developed. In September 2000, at the request of the City Mayor, Rizhao Municipal Government commissioned the Research Center for Eco-Environmental Sciences of the Chinese Academy of Science to prepare the ‘Eco-City Building Plan of Rizhao’. The plan was evaluated by the Provincial Environmental Protection Agency (part of central government) in January 2002. In November 2002, the plan was approved by the municipal government and officially inaugurated in August 2003. A series of incentives, policies and regulations, as well as monitoring mechanisms were introduced.

The plan has been mainly driven by the Eco-City Planning Team or ‘task force’ located within the Municipal Environmental Protection Bureau, which provides key input into the plan and strategy. The team also played a key role involving citizen and stakeholders in the process including around 20 relevant implementing departments of the municipality. The time line of the plan was then divided into 3 stages:

Phase I: The kick-off period (2001-2005). This phase aimed at establishing the institutional framework for the plan. Pilot projects were introduced which dealt with environmental pollution control and green infrastructure projects. This included more public transport, improved sewage systems, renewable energy and innovative ICT networks.

Phase II: The development period (2006-2010). The local government supported the creation of eco-industries, small to medium sized businesses, such as those based on solar, renewable energy technologies, eco-logistics and marine resources.

Phase III: The enhancement period (2011-2020). This phase ensures a comprehensive improvement in the living quality of Rizhao’s residents by establishing an eco-community, by green urban economic activities and increasing environmental awareness.

Following these phases, an ecological spatial plan under the banner‘Establishing an Ecological City and Building a Livable Home’ was presented known as: « Green belt - Two areas and Three corridors - Four landscapes ».

1.4 - Factors for success

The statutory framework. A guiding legislative framework was established via amendments and variations to the relevant laws. This was imperative for the master plan and its policies to be implemented.

Active stakeholder engagement was essential when drafting plans or designating protected areas. It allowed cooperation with other departments and stakeholders for multi-financing opportunities and allowed for awareness raising, through advertising mechanismsin order for the public to become more aware of the envisioned eco-culture.

Innovation and technology. Sustainable design in construction and renewable technology utilization was extremely important when developing the Eco-City vision. The promotion of new and innovative approaches to eco efficient solutions is essential.

2 - India: JNNURM, a top-down and bottom-up approach to urban development and renewal

The government of India has begun an innovative and ambitious urban reform program: the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM). It is an incentive linked reform scheme created to devolve more powers to local governments and enhance their role and capacity in fostering more sustainable urban systems at the local decision-making level. It is an excellent and transformative example of effective multi-level governance for urban sustainability, urban renewal and reform.

City profile

Case Study #141 JNNURM, India

Population: 1.21 billion

Country Area: 3,287,263 km2

Membership: ICLEI has 42 members (33 full members in India).</quote>

2.1 - Rapid urbanization outpaces ability to provide basic services and infrastructure

Urbanization poses serious challenges for urban local governments in India. Over the last decade India’s urban population increased by more than 76 million people. In 2001, 27.8 per cent of India was urban, by 2011 it was 31.2 per cent, and by 2030 it is expected to be 40 per cent. This rate of urbanization has outpaced the competence of most of the Urban Local Bodies (ULBs) to provide even the most basic services, such as water and waste management. This is primarily due to their limited financial, technical and institutional capacities. Urban areas have to improve their capacity in order to capture capital and foster economic growth while at the same time improving the quality of life of urban citizens and ensuring that urban development does not further degrade a city’s natural environment. In response to these challenges and to instill a paradigm change in how urban development is viewed in India, the Government of India introduced the JNNURM in 2005.

2.2 - An incentive linked reform scheme for better urban development

The purpose of JNNURM is to instigate reform in urban governance and to improve infrastructure and basic services. As of July 2010, there have been considerable improvements as a result of the realigned focus on urban renewal. JNNURM has been instrumental in renewing the focus on urban development by increasing the flow of investments for improved basic services, raising the aspirations of ULB’s, expanding the concept of city improvement beyond piecemeal projects to addressing fundamental needs of the under-serviced poor, and promoting better urban governance.

Key law reform successes include the repeal of planning bottlenecks such as the Urban Land (Ceiling and Regulation) Repeal Act, 1999, which is essential to reviving the stagnant housing industry. The implementation of the 74th Constitutional Amendment Act has enabled the decentralization and devolution of power to local authorities. 10 states have now transferred functions to ULBs. Most of the reforms under JNNURM incorporate the principles of sustainable development and the principles of Local Agenda 21. Public participation and accountability have been improved as a result of the enactment of the Community Participation Law and the Public Disclosure Law, which have been vital in boosting transparency and accountability in the governance of Indian cities.

The mission has encouraged ULBs to improve infrastructure on a large scale. Since the launch of JNNURM 530 projects with a financial value of US$ 13.4 billion have been approved. Successful urban infrastructure projects include:

Progress is monitored through state level nodal agencies as well as through a Performance Monitoring and Evaluation System, both set up by the Ministry of Urban Development. These instruments are in place to review the projects at different stages of implementation enabling a thorough analysis of the initiatives and projects.

2.3 - Key components of JNNURM

The programs and guidelines for implementation were formulated by the Ministry of Urban Development (MoUD) with the help of urban renewal experts. The MoUD was also supported by various other institutions such as the Planning Commission, the National Institute of Urban Affairs (NIUA) and the National Institute of Public Finance and Policy (NIPFP).

JNNURM envisages an investment of more than US$26 billion, whereby between 35-50 per cent will come from the central government over a seven-year period. The relative contributions of each actor (Government of India, State Government, and ULB) are largely determined by the size of the city. Such city based incentives seek to stimulate institutional, structural, and fiscal reforms necessary to improve service delivery and to ultimately create economically productive, equitable and responsive cities.

Access of cities to JNNURM funds for infrastructure development is linked to commitments by the states (provinces) and ULBs to implement mandatory and optional reforms. The JNNURM Directorate, under the MoUD has the authority to release funding to states and cities. The funding of the project is subject to a systematic review of the project by the authorities at state and national level.

2.4 - Factors for success

By a top-down and bottom-up approach JNNURM adopts a mixed governance approach. Guidelines, reforms and release of funds are formulated at the top, while the ULBs undertake the urban reform required and implement the project at the local level. The implementation activities at the bottom also informed changes at the top where necessary. JNNURM has succeeded in getting both strong state and city government commitment.

Demand-driven approach has been successful in more progressive states, where some governance reforms have been implemented and supplementary funds have been provided by the state and local government. The mission has helped some ULBs to take up projects on a scale they had not previously attempted.

Addressing core components for better urban governance, such as legal reforms lead to increased accountability and transparency, while democratic decentralization improves development performance and is more responsive to citizens’ desires and service delivery. Monitoring also leads to improvement suggestions for urban governance.

The Peer Learning and Knowledge Sharing Network (PEARL) is an initiative under JNNURM which enables networking among participating cities to share experiences, progress of projects and various initiatives.

3 - Thane: Increasing solar energy utilization

Thane, a city which has a long history in solar energy promotion, has committed to a 10 percent citywide energy reduction over five years. Innovative energy initiatives reduced the city’s overall carbon footprint and have resulted in significant cost savings. Thane’s experience with solar technologies provides an example for renewable energy promotion and generation. Thane’s participation in India’s Solar Cities Program is a practical example of how cities can become a place of energy generation, not just energy consumption, reduce GHG emissions, and achieve considerable financial savings.

City profile

Case Study #142 Thane,

Population: 2 million (2010)

Country Area: 147 km2

Membership: Thane joined ICLEI in 2008.

Appr. municipal budget per capita: US$ 250

GDP per capita: US$ 2,000 (NIUA)</quote>

3.1 - Local solar power supply to meet Indian cities energy requirements

Energy is a key concern for Indian cities. Energy generation and consumption is one of the main drivers that contribute to climate change, and in rapidly urbanizing countries like India, increasing energy demand in the context of limited supply is a pressing issue. To meet these challenges, India’s Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) launched the ‘Solar Cities Program’. If the current GDP annual growth rate continues, it is envisaged that a six fold electricity capacity will be required in India. It is within this context that the Solar Cities Program was established as a driving force for local energy innovation and investment. Within the framework of the Solar Cities Program, the city of Thane, Maharashtra, aims to become one of India’s first solar cities. Thane hopes to achieve this by promoting energy efficiency and using solar power - alongside other renewables - to achieve a 10 per cent reduction in electricity consumption over 5 years, with a strong emphasis on local energy generation.

3.2 - Decreasing energy consumption while increasing renewable energy utilization

The Solar Cities Program, developed by India’s MNRE, aims to empower local governments to address energy challenges and provide a framework that enables an assessment of each city’s energy situation. It improves energy security and results in reduced GHG emissions. Thane’s master plan, prepared within the context of the Solar Cities Program, and building on the city’s innovative energy initiatives developed by the city over recent years, has resulted in an integrated understanding of energy dynamics. The energy master plan has become the foundation for the city’s broader strategic agenda on energy and climate change mitigation.

Thane’s local energy initiatives have saved over 42.8 gigawatt over the last 9 years. A 2005 by-law was introduced which makes the use of solar hot water systems mandatory in new constructions. The appropriate enforcement by the city’s town planning department, whereby building owners do not get the final occupancy permits unless the solar hot water system has been installed, played a key role in its success. This has resulted in an installed capacity of 715,000 liters per day of hot water, mostly in private households. In the past three years, Thane has implemented changes in street lighting resulting in 33 per cent energy savings; has installed a solar air conditioning system in the city’s main public hospital; installed energy efficiency technologies in the city’s water pumping stations as well as a 50 kW photovoltaic system for the municipality’s offices. All these energy initiatives have resulted in significant financial savings for the city. For example, solar hot water systems at public hospitals are saving up to 500MW per year or Rs 2 million in energy bills (US$ 40,000).

Thane’s multiple results based on these early initiatives provided a solid foundation for the Solar Cities program. The Solar City Program provided additional momentum, funds and expertise to continue many of these initiatives. A ‘Solar City Stakeholder Committee’ was established to provide additional avenues for expert involvement. The Solar Cities Stakeholder Committee has included the participation of local and regional players such as the Maharashtra Chamber of Housing Industry, Solar Manufacturers, state level energy bodies, local energy-related businesses and educational institutions. In addition, a ‘Solar City Cell’ is also being created to engage the general public on energy issues and develop learning opportunities on renewable energy and energy efficiency for businesses and households.

3.3 - Key components for solar energy promotion, generation and utilization

Thane has experimented with renewable energy and energy efficiency since the early 2000s. As part of these activities, the city has prepared a carbon emissions inventory; enacted energy related building by laws; and implemented a variety of demonstration projects. A series of energy audits were undertaken in municipal services such as water and street lighting between 2005 and 2010. This provided baseline information regarding energy consumption levels in municipal services. In conjunction with the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM), Thane has also made significant investments in urban infrastructure.

The Solar Cities Program, established in 2009, was a natural continuation in the portfolio of local energy initiatives. Over the following two years, in conjunction with a range of public and private stakeholders, the city prepared a citywide renewable energy strategy. ICLEI South Asia was appointed as the energy master planner, and was tasked with the preparation of Thane’s Solar City Masterplan. Thanks to the Solar Cities Program,Thane was able to start the development of an integrated policy and action framework to promote energy efficiency and the use of renewables. It runs along five key steps:

3.4 - Factors for success

Empowering local governments to monitor and take action on their own energy dynamics provides a powerful means for action. The Solar Cities Program opens the possibility for the city to be seen as a site for energy generation, energy governance and sustainability innovation.

The development and provisions of tools to monitor and evaluate energy performance, identify areas for improvement and discover locally tailored solutions, which can complement regional and national energy governance,are pivotal. Energy saving mechanisms and awareness raising campaigns are crucial to the promotion and dissemination of energy saving technologies and renewables.

Identifying tangible entry points and baseline information to justify and promote change. Energy audits are entry points for specific energy initiatives, in Thane they became a starting point for specific energy initiatives. It enables monitoring and measuring performance as well as showing that tangible benefits such as energy savings and cost reductions are possible.

Strong leadership was crucial to the implementation of the Solar Cities Program. In Thane the city’s Electrical Department played a key role in the implementation of the energy projects. They established a renewable energy and energy efficiency vision, identified specific workable projects and, through these, delivered tangible results. Good leadership within this department ensured that other public stakeholders, including the municipality’s political and administrative departments, politically and financially supported the projects.

Actively and meaningfully involving stakeholders can engage both producers and consumers of energy. The local government can use local stakeholders to raise awareness on energy efficiency and garner public and private support for local energy initiatives.

Interlinking and building upon previous initiatives and successes such as the ICLEI Local Renewables Program, but also the JNNURM program.

Local Sustainability 2012 Case study series: Showcasing progress in local sustainability

Published by :

In Partnership with :

  • Charles Léopold Mayer Foundation for the Progress of Humankind

  • United Nations Human Settlements Program UN-HABITAT

  • Study and editing team : Richard Simpson, Shay Kelleher, Monika Zimmermann, Rüdiger von Krosigk, Steven Bland (ICLEI World Secretariat, Bonn, Germany)


This case study series is part of the Local Sustainability 2012 study that consists of this publication and a global overview report (ICLEI 2012, Local Sustainability 2012: Taking stock and moving forward, Global Report).

To download both parts, visit local2012.iclei.org

ICLEI Case Studies 138-151 summarized in this Global Report are available in full length at www.iclei.org/casestudies.

ICLEI Global Reports are research and analytical reports produced by ICLEI - Local Governments for Sustainability. By featuring different themes and characters the ICLEI Global Report series contributes to international discussions and policy developments.

ICLEI Global Reports are available at www.iclei.org/globalreports or in print for a cover fee.

En savoir plus

The cases are presented in alphabetical order by world region and country, but are not representative for that region. Rather the presented cases are a cross-collection of sustainability themes across the world from cities that can be considered pioneering and especially advanced within their regional culture. Also the selection attempted to feature “not the usual suspects”. They illustrate the diversity of approaches to highlight global progress in local sustainability in cities and by local governments. Each presented case showcases progress towards urban sustainability. Firstly by providing an overview of the locally identified challenge and response. Secondly, highlighting significant achievements and results. Thirdly, detailing the process and actors involved in the preparation and implementation, and finally, key factors for the city’s success.

To dowload the complete study : local2012.iclei.org/local-sustainability-study/