The United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP), the International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives (ICLEI) and the Urban Nexus co-organised a session on “Sustainable Solutions for Asian Cities through Innovative and Integrated Resource Management” as part of the 2017 CityNet Congress, held in Colombo, Sri Lanka on 5-8 November 2017.
Organised on the theme “Our City, Our Future: Sharing Local Solutions for Sustainable Development”, the congress offered a unique opportunity to cities to voice the challenges they face and their solutions as well as network and form partnerships with other CityNet members, partners and business leaders. Through peer-to-peer learning platforms, city mayors, civic leaders and international experts gathered to collaborate on climate change, disaster risk reduction and other urban development issues.
The three organisations also co-organised a parallel session on “Sustainable Solutions for Asian Cities through Innovative and Integrated Resource Management”. Ruth Erlbeck, the Urban Nexus Project Director, presented the Nexus approach and initiatives covering 12 cities in 7 countries. More than 30 Nexus initiatives have been elaborated (pre- and feasibility studies on infrastructure projects) amounting to an investment volume of more than USD 300 million.
The project partner cities representatives, Ms. Nanda Sharad Jichkar (Mayor of Nagpur City, India) and Mr. Sahaphon Karnjanavanich (Deputy Mayor of Nakhon Ratchasima [Korat] Municipality, Thailand) presented the progress made in planning and implementing project activities. They also shared good practices on practical and ongoing urban Nexus initiatives and city level infrastructure development that have resulted in positive impacts, ranging from large-scale infrastructure investment models to smaller projects such as Waste Water Treatment Plant rehabilitation (Korat), Enabling Procurement Processes for Local Government (Korat), Solid Waste Management (Nagpur), and Peer-to-Peer learning on waste water re-use (Nagpur).
A lively discussion followed the presentations and focused on how to mainstream the Nexus approach and make it sustainable. The essence of the conversation during the session is that while the Nexus approach is a great vehicle for urban planning, development and implementation of public infrastructure projects, emphasis must equally be put on empowering local administrations and the creation of enabling framework conditions to adopt and implement integrated, holistic approaches.
CityNet is a Network of Local Authorities, a regional international body, bringing together local authorities, NGOs and other relevant organisations to build capacity and promote sustainable urban management. CityNet, which is celebrating its 30th anniversary, has 187 member cities and organisations. Some 300 international and local participants attended the congress, among them member cities, associate members and international organisations.