The academic and private sectors joined forces to tap innovations and broaden stakeholder engagement to help build the business model for urban nexus initiatives at the 8th regional workshop “Leveraging Innovation and Broadening Stakeholder Engagement to Build the Business Model for Urban Nexus Efforts” held in Thailand on 14-16 November 2018.
The opening remarks were delivered by Dr. Alexander Raubold, Economic and Commercial Counsellor, Embassy of Germany, Mr. Stefanos Fotiou, Director of Environment and Development Division, UNESCAP, and Mr. Emani Kumar, Deputy Secretary General, ICLEI World Secretariat. Chulalongkorn University was represented by Dr. Vorapat Inkarojit, who was the keynote speaker.
The workshop was built on the outcomes and feedback from previous regional workshops, the Urban Nexus project’s national dialogues, outreach events, peer-to-peer exchanges and training. The emphasis of the presentation was on the role of the university in sustainability, Chulalongkorn University’s sustainability initiatives and producing future leaders with a sustainability mindset. The participants also visited Chulalongkorn University’s sustainable initiatives under the “Green Chula” programme. Furthermore, the workshop hosted the signing of the MoU between Bicol State College of Applied Sciences and Technology (BISCAST) of the Philippines and King Mongkut’s University of Technology Thonburi (KMUTT) of Thailand. They also announced their student exchange and academic cooperation within the framework of the Urban Nexus programme.
The Urban Nexus Project sees the “Strategic Partnership” (Sustainable Development Goals -SDG 17) with academe as a vehicle to improve sustainability of the Nexus approach as students, teachers, trainers and professors are natural multipliers of innovation. As Dr. Vorapat Inkarojit from Chulalongkorn University noted: “universities are living labs of innovation”.
During the workshop, project partner cities updated their ongoing Nexus initiatives albeit through a new format – “The Market Place”. Here, the cities’ representatives are assigned a station in a manner similar to a market stall and are visited by different groups of other participants. This format allows the cities acting as sellers to interactively present their Nexus project initiatives to the participants – the buyers –who then individually decide whether they want to “buy” the projects.
This session was followed by the Building the Business Model session with three sub-sessions: Leveraging Innovation, Broadening Stakeholder Engagement, and Developing Sustainable Financing solutions. The Leveraging Innovation sub-session discussed various innovations relevant to the Nexus approach such as Geothermal Energy, Nature Based Solutions and Green Buildings. The Broadening Stakeholder Engagement sub-session looked at lessons learnt and recommendations for increasing involvement of non-traditional partners to advance integrated approaches. The Developing Sustainable Financing Model sub-session discussed various sources of local government financing to support cross-sectoral infrastructure. Mechanisms including local taxes, tariffs, transfers and grants from higher level of government, PPPs, grants from international organisations were also covered.
Linking Urban Nexus Initiatives to SDGs, the last session addressed local and national level experiences with measuring and monitoring progress towards achieving of SDGs. Some best practices were also shared by the panellists.
The workshop was attended by approximately 100 participants from local and sub-national government officials from partner cities, government officials from the countries of the partner cities, line ministries, provincial governments, academic organisations, private sector enterprises and other relevant stakeholders.