ICMA Members at Eco-Friendly Urbanization Summit in China


Thirty-six ICMA members are among the 83 participants in the first ICMA International Regional Summit, sponsored jointly with the city of Yangzhou, China, and the ICMA China Center on May 11-15, 2014. Members are participating as guest lecturers, keynote speakers, and EcoPartners with Chinese towns. Some are members of the ICMA International Committee, which has scheduled meetings during the event.

The summit, Eco-Friendly Urbanization, taking place in Yangzhou, focuses on the challenges of sustainable development in a rapidly urbanizing world—challenges facing China, the United States, and many other countries.

The summit brings together individuals from 10 countries for presentations, panel discussions, site visits, and keynote sessions highlighting international perspectives, management issues, and approaches for incorporating sustainable development priorities into local government strategies.

Participants are invited to share highlights of the summit in the International Dispatches blog on the Knowledge Network, hosted by ICMA.

ICMA Speakers

The agenda includes a welcome address by ICMA President Simon Farbrother, city manager, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, and keynote addresses by ICMA Executive Director Robert J. O’Neill Jr., and International Committee Chair Clay Pearson, city manager in Pearland, Texas.

O’Neill's topic is urbanization in the United States and best practices in sustainable development, based on research conducted by ICMA’s Center for Sustainable Communities, and Pearson will speak about the U.S. system of local government and management. Other presenters include Chinese local, provincial, and state leaders, urbanization experts, and university professors.

A pre-summit study tour to Beijing, starting May 7, includes a seminar on urban governance at the Center for Cooperative Innovation for Governance by Law at the China University of Political Science and Law (CUPL). The seminar includes presentations by W. (Lane) Bailey, city manager, Lenoir, North Carolina; Edwin C. Daley, project administrator, Emporia, Virginia; Edward Fraser, director of Finance and Corporate Services, Central Desert Regional Council, Northern Territory, Australia; and Christopher Heineman, Community Planning and Development director, Northfield, Minnesota.

Members also are serving as guest lecturers at other venues while they are in the country. Three are speaking about professional ethics codes: Bill Monahan, city manager, Milwaukie, Oregon; Michael Garvey, ICMA senior advisor and former city manager, San Carlos, California; and Scott Mitnick, city manager, Thousand Oaks, California. Heineman is addressing energy efficiency, low-carbon development, and urban environmental governance.

U.S.-China EcoPartnerships

The ICMA China Center is one of 24 partnerships accepted into the prestigious, competitive EcoPartnerships program of the U.S. Department of State. EcoPartnerships are cooperative relationships between Chinese and U.S. entities that work jointly to promote economic growth, energy security, and environmental sustainability. At the summit, four U.S. cities will formalize EcoPartnerships with Chinese jurisdictions:

  • Greenville, Wisconsin, and Lingtang Town
  • Milwaukie, Oregon, and Gongdao Town of Gaoyou City
  • Austin, Texas, and Yizhen City
  • Medford, Oregon, and a town to be decided.

The Chinese jurisdictions have populations ranging from 50,000 to 600,000, and the U.S. cities have populations ranging from 11,000 to 850,000. The partners will have opportunities to interact, exchange best practices, and work together to create locally focused solutions to environmental concerns related to urbanization and sustainable development. The partners will establish goals and develop an 18-month work plan to achieve them.

Other ICMA Activities in China

The Eco-Friendly Urbanization summit is just one of ICMA’s activities in China. In 2011, ICMA and CUPL jointly created the ICMA China Center, whose mission is to improve the quality of city management in China by providing information and services to Chinese city officials.

ICMA, with support from the center, has been approved as an official training partner of the State Administration of Foreign Expert Affairs (SAFEA), meaning that ICMA is certified to provide training and capacity building for Chinese local government officials. SAFEA is the key agency to approve training programs for Chinese local governments.

ICMA also has signed a memorandum of understanding with the National Academy for Mayors in China (NAMC) to enhance the center’s training offerings. NAMC is the leading agency providing regular training opportunities to local government officials in China.

About the City of Yangzhou

Yangzhou, in Jiangsu Province, is recognized for its historical and cultural attractions dating back 2,500 years. The city has jurisdiction over an area with a population of 4.6 million. Because of its attractions, Yangzhou is a popular tourist city. It is also a growing industrial and commercial hub with manufacturing, agricultural, and service economies. Yangzhou has been recognized for its promotion of eco-friendly urbanization.

About the China University of Political Science and Law

The China University of Political Science and Law (CUPL) is a multi-disciplinary research university under China’s Ministry of Education. It has 19 schools and departments and 10 research institutes focused not only on political science and law but also on management, economics, philosophy, and literature. Founded in 1952, CUPL has more than 14,000 current students and more than 200,000 graduates.

To learn more about ICMA’s international programs, visit the website and the International Development topic area in the Knowledge Network, or e-mail

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