RCAP 2017: Highlights

ICLEI- Local Governments for Sustainability in partnership with Ministry of Planning and Investment, Government of Vietnam, Asia LEDS Partnership, and LEDS Global Partnership (GP) hosted the Resilient Cities Asia Pacific 2017 in Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam with an aim to forge partnerships and the ultimate goal of identifying implementable solutions and creating lasting impacts for cities in the region.

Gino van Begin, Secretary General of ICLEI, inaugurated the congress with his welcome remarks which focused on the significance of events like the RCAP as these serve as critical inputs to what is being discussed at the global level.

"The ideas we generate, the issues that we talk about, and the solutions we formulate here are ultimately taken up in global processes specifically in terms of resilient cities. We are formulating a feedback loop system and this helps us integrate the local and regional governments into the global discussion,“ Mr. Begin shifted the focus on local and regional governments saying they have "secured a clear leadership role in the advancement of climate action."

Mayor Kinlay Dorjee of Thimpu, Bhutan reported their active participation to RCAP in the last two years. They believe that one can pursue happiness through urban resilience. "We need to work as a team to achieve our goal to become more
resilient and fight together youth issues and climate resilience together."

Dr. Pham Goang Mai, MPI, Vietnam offered the adaptation context for this year's host city, explaining that it is a key issue since Ho Chi Minch will reach 10 million inhabitants in the near future. The forum is a chance for them to learn how to build a resilient megacity from their peers especially Bangkok.

Post COP23 Deliberations

The first plenary session of RCAP 2017 brought together representatives from various UN agencies to discuss the role of local and subnational governments in the implementation of the NDCs as per the Paris Agreement of 2016, as well as the impacts of the UNFCCC COP 23 on ongoing dialogues of urban resilience.

ICLEI Secretary General Gino van Begin shared the success of the Climate Summit of Local and Regional Leaders which ICLEI co-hosted for this year's COP noted the significance of Paris Agreement as it came into force this year, saying that it is "unstoppable and irreversible". Cities and regional governments are invited to take on the challenge of scaling up local climate action as van Begin explained, "This is the perfect time to engage local and regional governments in delivering national
commitments and raise ambitions globally."

Liam Fee, Climate Change Specialist at the UN-Habitat shared the recently published Sustainable Urbanization in the Paris Agreement- a global review of NDCs as compared to urban content.

He noted that urban challenges in Asia are directly concerned with adaptation and issues on flood, drought, and sea level rise threatens the region.

Ms. Jenty Kirsh-Wood of UNDP Vietnam underscored three things: ambition, finance, partnerships in planning and implementation of adaptation strategies operationalization of these three key areas should involve not only government agencies but the private sector, academe, and other stakeholders as well

Pooling a number of different agendas together – the commitments should be based on the government’s own planning system – which can be a key to achieving success.

In terms of partnerships, many cities now are struggling to raise finance. Risk transfer, insurance and more creative mechanisms are needed to address resilience.

Cities share stories on financing and planning for urban resilience
Parallel session B focused on cities as they share stories on urban resilience financing. The increase of urban population has put more pressure on limited resources as demand increases. This gap brings about the cities’ vulnerabilities in sectors such as water, transport, energy, and others. To counter this, Asian cities have started initiatives to create enabling mechanisms for creating a more resilient city. The session also had secondary cities share their experience as they are noted to experience high vulnerabilities stemming from lack of basic infrastructure, low capacity to recover from disaster, and inadequate development planning.

Building urban resilience through inclusive and participatory city climate action planning
This session focused on City Climate Action Planning; themes that were discussed include public transportation specifically bike-sharing systems in cities, the use of E-rickshaw, and others. Major challenges in this sector are vehicular growth to combat the GHG emissions in the city, knowledge sharing and capacity building of the local authorities, and lack of localized measure to combat the impact of climate change.

RCAP 2017 brings together cities, experts, and development partners to take on the discussions of the impacts of COP23 in urban resilience
The first day of Resilient Cities Asia Pacific Forum 2017 started with a successful note as cities, experts, and development partners take on discussions on urban resilience and climate change adaptation. ICLEI- Local Governments for Sustainability in partnership with Ministry of Planning and Investment, Government of Vietnam, Asia LEDS Partnership, and LEDS Global Partnership (GP) hosted the Resilient Cities Asia Pacific 2017 in Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam with an aim to forge partnerships and the ultimate goal of identifying implementable solutions and creating lasting impacts for cities in the region.

(Published on ICLEI South East Asia website with contributions from ICLEI South Asia team)

RCAP 2017: Day 2

Financing Urban Resilience
This session brought together bilateral and multilateral agencies that are involved in financing climate action for local and sub national governments. The session linked financial institutions' priorities with cities' needs and capacities for implementation of resilience actions. Integration of climate initiatives in development finance mechanisms were discussed.

Ms. Susan Jose, from CDIA said they ensure climate change and resilience aspects in development and project preparatory studies through examining climate risks and vulnerability, capacity development delivering training evaluation, assessing environment and social safeguards.

"Funding for integrated projects that could bring both climate adaptation and mitigation benefits is increasing, because the goal is to achieve overall resilience," said Mr. Pranab Baruah from GGGI (TBC).

Ms. Ruth Erlbeck, from GIZ also pointed out their struggle with bank issues. "Banks don't love integrated projects, they like to go the conventional way", she said.

"Bureaucracy continues to become our challenge to come up with more innovative solutions that might be more sustainable. Thus, funding mechanism highly depends on cities' leadership and commitment to enable the environment," she added.

One Planet City Challenge: Regional Perspectives
In this session, cities got together to discuss the One Planet City Challenge conducted by WWF annually all over the world, with focus on the cities and their actions on resilience.

Erlinda Creencia, from the City Environment and Natural Resources Office, City of Santa Rosa, Philippines described Santa Rosa’s vision and mission, the changes city has experienced from rural to urban, from agricultural to industrial, and their action plans in solid and water waste management, charcoal briquetting facilities, material recovery and so on.

Mr. Le Duc Chung, BTC and MPI Joint Action to tackle Climate Change and Green Growth Finance for Support Programme, Vietnam shared the efforts that have been done in three provinces. Some activities done at the central level are - establish baseline, assessment of institutional and technical capacity, planning climate change action plans, revise urban master plan.

He also said that they have conducted social economic assessment, climate change maps, and done research on hydrology. And based on that, three provinces started with pilot projects to test the adaptability.

Peri-Urban Ecosystems and Urban Resilience
The discussion was around the impacts of climate change on peri urban ecosystems and their importance in urban resilience building.

Mr. Ajay Kumar Singh, GEAG, spoke about how an ecosystem is degenerating in the peri-urban area. Some of the reasons are rapid urbanisation population growth, exploitive government policies, poverty, failure to include ecological services in evaluating ecosystems resources, illegal construction on the flood plain, soil mining, and increasing input cost among others.

Mr. A A Khan, Government of Uttar Pradesh shared the green plan for the Indian state which includes reforestation in degraded forest, catchment area - decentralised based forest management, conversion of biodiversity, agro-forestry, eco-tourism, and wildlife protection to name a few.

He further discussed the relevance of peri-urban ecosystems which provides space for water harvesting, agriculture production, livelihood for local poor, goods, services and so on.

While talking about urban resilience, Ms. Denia Syam from the ACCCRN pointed out, "Resilience building is not a technical but a governance problem. There is a gap between city and surrounding ecosystem administrations."

Supporting Urban Resilience in Asia Pacific Cities
The forum focussed on going beyond the planning phase and successfully build resilient cities, local governments should take ownership of the resilient strategies and raise requisite resources to enhance the adaptive capacity and mitigation of climate risk.

Mr. Saurabh Gaidhani, City & Practice Management, Asia Pacific, 100RC spoke about the shocks and stresses that can lead to a social breakdown and collapse in LGs but can also bring opportunities for cities to evolve and in some circumstances, transform above the Business as Usual path of development.

By 2030 ASEAN is expected to have 373 million urban population and ASEAN will need $2,6 billion of finance for building the necessary infrastructure, he said.

Mr. Supachai Tantikom, Chief Resilience Officer, Bangkok Metropolitan Authority, Thailand said that resilience is about surviving and thriving regardless of the challenge. He further said that urban resilience is the capacity of individuals, institutions, and systems within a city.

He mentioned that they want to improve city flood resilience but the biggest challenge is implementation because this will be done by the local government, and as a CRO they don’t have an operation mandate.


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