Franklin County, Ohio and the city of Hefei, China will collaborate to develop and deploy electric vehicles and address other energy and environmental issues facing their communities under an EcoPartnership agreement made official May 3 in Beijing. Franklin County Commissioner Paula Brooks and Hefei Mayor Zhang Qingjun, signed the agreement as part of the U.S.-China Strategic and Economic Dialogues that took place May 2–4.
Brooks is a vice-chair of the NACo International Economic Development Task Force and a member of the NACo Green Government Advisory Board.
Paula Brooks, Franklin County, Ohio Board of Commissioner’s president, and Zhang Qingjun, mayor of Hefei, China (both seated) sign an EcoPartnership agreement May 3 in Bejing. Brooks is a vice-chair of NACo’s International Economic Development Task Force. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton spoke at the event.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton presided over the EcoPartnership signing ceremony on behalf of the U.S. “This illustrates once again that the United States and China can and will work together in new ways and through many channels to address our common challenges on energy and the environment, two issues that transcend politics that we live with every single day in our homes, our businesses, and our communities,” Clinton said.
The Franklin County agreement includes plans to explore the use of electric buses, to examine partnering with businesses in Hefei to bring jobs and economic development to the county, and to jointly tackle other clean energy and environmental-protection issues, such as lake and wetland conservation, waste and sewage treatment, energy conservation in buildings, and urban planning. The localities will work closely with Ohio State University and Hefei University of Technology in carrying out the agreement.
Ohio State already has provided Hefei with technical advice about a wetland restoration project being planned in the city’s downtown area.
Following the ceremony in Beijing, Brooks led a delegation from the Columbus region to meetings with local leaders and businesses in Hefei, a city of more than 5 million people. The delegation included representatives from Columbus Sister Cities, Ohio State, the Ohio Hotel and Lodging Association and NACo. Like Columbus, Hefei is a capital city. It is the fast-growing government, business and cultural center of Anhui province, which lies west of Shanghai and Nanjing.
The U.S.-China EcoPartnerships program is an initiative of the U.S. Department of State aimed at developing new models of mutually beneficial voluntary activities between state, local and private-sector organizations to spur innovation, investment and engagement on clean energy and environmental issues. Eighteen partnerships have been enacted since the EcoPartnership program began in 2008.