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【SDG 17】City exchange spans over 1,000 kilometers: New Taipei City SDGs resonate with Boston and New York.


From left to right: Dr. Lin Chia-Liang from the MIT Media Lab, New Taipei City Government colleague Liu Yun-Hsuan, Ph.D. candidate Hsu Hui-Jen from the MIT Urban Studies and Planning program, Ms. Tiffany Chu, Chief of Staff for the Boston Mayor, New Taipei City Secretariat Director Ching-yu Yao, International Partner Relations Manager Mr. James Reginald Colimon, Immigration Affairs Strategy Communication Manager Ms. Pai En Yu, and New Taipei City Government colleague Peng I-Ping.

In recent years, Taiwanese flavor has become infused into Boston, a well-known city on the east coast of the United States. Following the conclusion of the 2023 World Baseball Classic, Chang Yu-cheng, a utility infielder known in Taiwan as the "Secretary of Defense" returned to the Boston Red Sox on March 29th to commence the new baseball season. Fans have been eagerly anticipating his performance. Michelle Wu, both of whose parents hail from Taiwan, made history in 2021 by successfully running for the Boston mayoral election, breaking the 200-year-long reign of white male leadership in the city at just 36 years old. Her victory generated a lot of buzz due to her gender and Asian background. On the day of her election, Wu even spoke in Chinese, stating that "all of these things can now become reality." In 2017, during the 61st session of the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women (CSW61),Ching-yu Yao, the Secretary-General of New Taipei City, met with Michelle Wu, who was then the President of the Boston City Council. They found they shared a common interest in advocating for the United Nations Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW). During the global COVID-19 pandemic, physical intercity exchanges worldwide were put on hold for three years. However, New Taipei City, a city that values diversity and gender equality, made the decision to travel over 1,240 kilometers and visit Boston after global borders reopened in 2023.

New Taipei City's commitment to SDGs is highly esteemed, and international city exchanges remain consistent in the post-pandemic era.
Despite the 5-degree Celsius temperature, there was an abundance of enthusiasm from Taiwan in Boston's City Hall on March 14. Jao Ching-yu, Secretary-General of New Taipei City, presented cultural, artistic, and sustainable accomplishments from New Taipei during her visit to Boston City Hall. During the meeting, which took place at a table adorned with the flags of both the Republic of China and the United States, attendees included Tiffany Chu, chief of staff to the mayor of Boston, James Reginald Colimon, international partner relations manager, and Pai En Yu, manager of immigrant affairs strategy and communication. Despite the distance between the two cities, they share common ideals and have maintained close contact.
The city exchange began through the 2021 World Earth Day Forum, where Mayor Yu-Ih Hou of New Taipei City presented SDGs through a video, marking the onset of collaboration between the two cities. In that year, New Taipei City not only received recognition as Taiwan's leading sustainable city but also received the German iF Design Award for its Local Voluntary Review (VLR) report.
New Taipei City has made significant progress in their city exchange with Boston.Ching-yu Yao played a crucial role in this progress by not only inviting the Boston delegation to visit the city through a letter to Mayor Hou, but also engaging in discussions on a variety of important topics such as public transportation, diversity, gender equality, and SDGs sustainable development. This exchange promises to provide New Taipei City with valuable experience and benefits.

Despite the 5-degree Celsius temperature in Boston, the colleagues from the New Taipei City Secretariat were filled with enthusiasm and excitement.

In March, a team from New Taipei City went to New York to invite a delegation to witness the "most impactful sustainable event on earth."
New Taipei City has not only conducted city exchanges with Boston, but also with New York. Since the initiation of their partnership in 2019 to review local voluntary reports (VLRs) on SDGs, the two cities have signed the New York VLR Declaration in 2021, not only engaging in urban exchanges with Boston, but also with New York. In 2023, the New Taipei City Secretariat team took the lead and dispatched an official delegation to visit New York City after the borders were reopened. They arranged the next meeting and look forward to the visit of the New York delegation to witness how New Taipei City practices the SDGs and moves towards its goal of becoming a sustainable city by 2030, showcasing that "The Strongest Sustainable City on Earth is in New Taipei City".
Furthermore, on March 10th, the delegation from New Taipei City attended the Circularity Day event held in the Manhattan district, which was organized in collaboration with the Columbia University Climate School and Barnard College. Advocates of circular economy from various fields, including business, community, art, and education, came together on this day, where they promoted circularity through community composting, uniform exchange, and creative art using recycled materials, ubiquitously deploying the circularity concept.

Ching-yu Yao, the Director of New Taipei City Secretariat, was photographed with Mark Levine, the Manhattan Borough President, during Recycling Day.

This event was attended by Ching-yu Yao who emphasized the importance of considering the product life cycle in product design. According to her, products should be designed in a way that allows used items to be reused or repaired instead of ending up in landfills.Ching-yu Yao aspires to see the promotion of the "circular model" by corporations, governments, institutions, and individuals to contribute towards a sustainable future.

The New Taipei City Government officials paid a visit to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's MIT Media Lab in the Boston metropolitan area to gain further insights.

Competent Authority: Secretariat
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