The “KASpaces Regional Webinar on Sustainable Cities and Resilient Communities”, held virtually from the 16th to the 18th of November 2021, illuminated key learnings from the 10 KASpaces country-level webinars on sustainable cities, held across South and Southeast Asia between July and September 2021. The event was jointly organised by ICLEI South Asia, ICLEI South East Asia and Konrad Adenauer Stiftung (KAS), Singapore.
The six technical sessions over three days saw vibrant discussion following presentations by representatives from the regions’ national and subnational governments, civil society, and private sector organisations on successes, best practices, opportunities, challenges, and priorities in action towards Sustainable Development Goal 11 (“Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient, and sustainable”), especially in the context of the exigencies during the COVID-19 pandemic, recovery and ‘Build Back Better’ scenarios.
The focus areas included internal migration, urban climate resilience, affordable housing, holistic waste management, sustainable urban transport, and integrated urban water management. Some of the salient efforts and ideas highlighted during the seminar were:
- Surat Municipal Corporation succeeded in including migrants in service delivery during the pandemic by setting up requisite systems before the disaster struck.
- As exemplified at the Sagarmatha Next art gallery in Nepal, climate-responsive building design can be achieved by adapting building science and using appropriate materials and construction technologies.
- Local governments in Sri Lanka achieved success in decentralising housing policy governance by favouring community contracting and community-managed finance over commercial contracting, and by involving the beneficiaries in the decision making.
- Bangladesh has successfully demonstrated sustainable urban transport practices by using weathering steele. 100% recyclable material to construct bridges and retrofitting the old Kachipura Bridge using carbon fibre-reinforced polymer laminate.
- Colombo has become the only South Asian city to be globally accredited as a wetland city by protecting freshwater in a sustainable manner.