The Eighth Regional Workshop on “Integrated Resource Management in Asian Cities: the Urban Nexus” was held in Bangkok, Thailand from the 14th to 16th of November, 2018.
The workshop was organised by the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and Pacific (UN ESCAP) in partnership with Regional GIZ and ICLEI Southeast and South Asia. The workshop was organised as part of the project “Integrated Resource Management in Asian Cities: the Urban Nexus” (thereafter called the “Urban Nexus Project”), financed by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and implemented by the Regional GIZ in partnership with ESCAP and ICLEI.
The Eighth Regional Workshop primarily aimed to tap innovation and broaden stakeholder engagement, particularly with the academic and private sectors, to help build the business model for urban nexus initiatives.
The workshop was opened by Dr. Stefanos Fotiou, Director of ESCAP’s Environment and Development Division; Dr. Alexander Raubold, Economic and Commercial Counsellor of the Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany; and Mr. Emani Kumar, Deputy Secretary-General of ICLEI’s World Secretariat and Executive Director of ICLEI South Asia. It was highlighted that the collaboration between ESCAP, as a Political Partner guiding implementation of the global agendas, particularly the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development; GIZ as an organisation with grounded projects and advisory services; and ICLEI, with its broad network of cities to take solutions to the local level, is unique. The project delivers solutions at the local level, while also contributing toward the global agendas.
Ms. Ruth Erlbeck, Project Director, GIZ Urban Nexus, explained how the project works with 14 cities across seven countries in the region: China, India, Indonesia, Mongolia, Philippines, Thailand and Viet Nam. To date, 40 nexus projects have been identified with a CAPEX mounting to 550 million euros. Later, Ms. Erlbeck also facilitated an interactive market place session, where eight cities presented their challenges and experiences while implementing nexus projects.
Mr. Emani Kumar highlighted on the success of Urban Nexus Training conducted in India. He mentioned that the cooperation with the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs and with NITI Aayog indicates national government interest in the nexus.
To promote strategic partnerships in the context of SDG 17, representatives from the Bicol State College of Applied Sciences and Technology (BISCAST) and King Mongkut’s University of Technology Thonburi (KMUTT) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the objective of establishing a sustainable university network that will continue to disseminate the nexus approach and solutions, particularly after the project ends.
Drivers to empower local governments and to mobilise action on nexus activities, innovation, stakeholder engagement, financing and links to global agendas was discussed in detail during the sessions.
More than 80 participants from China, India, Indonesia, Mongolia, the Philippines, Thailand, and VietNam attended the workshop. Nagpur Municipal Corporation (nexus partner city), Mahatma Gandhi State Institute of Public Administration Punjab (MGSIPA), Administrative Training Institute (ATI), Yashwantrao Chavan Academy of Development Administration (YASHADA) were represented by their officials who reviewed and discussed opportunities for applying nexus approaches.
A half-day site visit was organised on the third day of the workshop to learn more about the Green Chula initiative. The visit started with an in-depth tour of Chulalongkorn University’s (CU) Centenary Park to learn more about its sustainable, sponge city features and included visits to the CU Zerowaste program at the canteen, integrated transportation system (CU Bike, CU Popbus, Muvmi TukTuk, Toyota Hamo), energy conservation and monitoring project, and new PLEARN (play and learn) space.