Integrated Urban Services: Webinar Spotlights Learnings from Asian Initiatives

The US Department of State, the  US Department of Energy and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) collaborated with ICLEI Southeast Asia and ICLEI South Asia for their first peer learning event, titled ‘Where to Start: Integrated Infrastructure Planning’ under the larger Integrated Urban Services programme. The peer learning event was organised on the 28th of November 2022, and brought together experts from ICLEI and various cities, including Rajkot in India and Naga in the Philippines, which were part of the GIZ-supported Urban Nexus programme, to foster learning among other cities on co-designing and implementing an integrated urban services project.

In her opening remarks, Ms Helen Santiago Fink, representing the US State Department, highlighted the US-ASEAN Smart Cities Partnership and focused on the critical role played by urban system integration and circularity. Ms Jennifer Daw, representing the NREL, provided an overview of the three- year Integrated Urban Services programme under the US-ASEAN Smart Cities Partnership, funded by the US State Department and implemented by NREL. The programme was launched in January 2021 to help ASEAN cities build resilience in their energy, water, and food provision systems and is being implemented in Cagayan De Oro, Philippines and Iskandar, Malaysia.

Mr. Emani Kumar, Executive Director, ICLEI South Asia, gave a brief overview of the nexus projects in local governments and focused on key learnings and challenges, such as the critical role played by institutional arrangements and innovative financial instruments, among others. Mr Chetan Nandani, Deputy Municipal Commissioner, Rajkot, shared the city’s experience and the learnings gained while implementing projects with an integrated approach, especially in the key sectors of water, wastewater and energy. He also spoke about the opportunities brought by the project in capacitating municipal officials in innovative technological solutions for promoting resource efficiency and circular economy.

Similarly, Mr Wilfredo B Prilles, Jr., City Planning and Development Coordinator, City Planning and Development Office, Naga City, Philippines, shared his experience and how the Urban Nexus project promoted cross-sectorial coordination; leveraged synergies across the key sectors of water, land and energy; facilitated collaboration across administrative domains to improve institutional functioning; and optimised resource management in its spatial planning.

At the end, Ms Ritu Thakur, ICLEI South Asia, took the audience through various resources developed by ICLEI such as the implementation guide on ‘Innovating in Urban Green and Blue Infrastructure to Improve the Food Water Energy Nexus’, and online courses to promote integrated resources management in their own cities. She also presented on the Transformative Action Program (TAP), one of the initiatives by ICLEI to support local and regional governments in facilitating technical assistance and climate finance. More than 70 participants actively interacted with the experts during the webinar. The event can be accessed here.

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