Resilient Cities Asia-Pacific 2015: The 1st Asia-Pacific Forum on Urban Resilience and Adaptation
DATE OF ENTRY
Recognizing the need to maximize the interaction and synergies across the water, food, and energy sectors and the potential for an integrated resource management approach to enhance resilience-building, the Asia Pacific Adaptation Network (APAN) and ICLEI Southeast Asia Secretariat, the sub-regional node for Southeast Asia, partnered with GIZ Urban Nexus and UNESCAP to sponsor two parallel sessions about the topic in the Resilient Cities Asia-Pacific 2015 (RCAP): 1st Asia-Pacific Forum on Urban Resilience and Adaptation. RCAP 2015, the first regional edition of the successful "Resilient Cities Series: Annual Global Forum on Urban Resilience and Adaptation", was held on 11-13 February 2015 in Bangkok, Thailand.
The nexus-resilience sessions gathered nearly 100 participants from the RCAP, which reflect great interest in the emerging topic. Attendees include local executives from several Asian cities, local and national government representatives, people from international and non-governmental organizations, universities, and civil society groups. Distinguished speakers come from UNESCAP, GIZ Urban Nexus Team, International Water Association, Institute of Global Environmental Strategies, Asian Development Bank, Hosei University, and Nonthaburi Municipality.
The first session presented evolving challenges, risks and vulnerabilities being faced by cities and highlighted the need to increase urban resilience. One entry point mentioned is through the urban nexus approach, which promotes a holistic, integrated approach to urban planning and resource management specifically in the water, energy and food sectors. ‘Resource efficient and low carbon cities will become more livable, competitive, resilient, sustainable, and ultimately more successful’, stated by Mr. Donovan Storey, Chief of the Sustainable Urban Development Section, Environment and Development Division of UNESCAP. Points that surfaced in the discussions include the importance of comprehensive and city wide approaches, vertical and horizontal coordination, innovative technological solutions to implement the WEF nexus, paradigm shift in urban governance, resilient physical and social infrastructure, and recognition of transboundary issues in terms of natural resource management. All of these can lead to inclusive (pro-poor) urban climate resilience.
In the second session, panelists discussed the importance of partnerships and platforms for knowledge exchange, including national-local dialogue, peer-to-peer learning, and South-South discourses. On the other hand, it is stressed, there is no ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach to development; context is always critical, along with issues of expansion and scalability. Some challenges in implementing the nexus approach that were mentioned include coordination problems (siloistic thinking), difficulty for local governments to access loans from international financing agencies, and lack of autonomy of some local governments to implement plans and programmes.
The RCAP 2015 gathered about 300 representatives from over 30 countries in Asia and the Pacific. The event was successful in launching reports, programmes and networks. Local executives supported the Bangkok Call for Action towards Urban Resilience in the Asia Pacific, which highlight the need ‘to do things differently; to be prepared; to innovate; to constantly learn and adapt; and to enact the full spectrum of resilience actions…for current and projected risks’. For more information about the RCAP, please visit http://