The Seventh Asia-Pacific Urban Forum (APUF-7) was held from 15-17 October 2019 in Penang, Malaysia, to mobilize partners from across the region to focus on accelerating implementation to achieve a sustainable future for cities throughout Asia and the Pacific.
CEMR (Eva Baños de Guisasola) attended APUF to represent IUC, International urban cooperation, one of the task forces of the Covenant of Mayors. She presented the urban agenda to the audience highlighting the following points: what is the Urban Agenda, 3 pillars of EU policy making and implementation, objectives of the EU Urban Agenda, example of the energy transition partnership (with partners, overall vision, objectives, process and meetings, 3 working groups, 5 actions in this partnership, public consultation process, findings, Commission interservice consultation), example of the adaptation partnership (partners, general objectives, specific objectives, workplan – steps and main deliverables foreseen, 10 actions), links to the new urban agenda and lessons learnt – inspiration for Asian Cities.
Questions from participants during the IUC session focused on the following: which are the particular criteria, procedures and benefits to cities joining various EC-funded programmes, specifically UIA, URBACT and IUC; any instruments focusing on innovation; the Urban agenda has provided a flexible governance mechanism which can be of inspiration to Asian cities; participants were interested in understanding the links between the GCoM and other regional covenants; how can Asian cities access the EU institutions?; there was a clear interest on how to involve the young generations on this type of activity; there were questions on the links between the EU urban agenda and the New Urban Agenda. A special interest raised while Eva presented the action of the adaptation partnership on “Training academy for politicians on adaptation to climate change”. Contact was made with a participant from Asia to explore this concept in in this continent.
The main lessons learnt from this session were: focus more on capitalisation of knowledge and dissemination of practices; sense of communitity created, involvement of diverse stakeholders, need for trust; national associations could support their members cities and regions; call to simplify language, and build a comprehensive narrative for better involvement of LRAs; requires ressources but positive results on lobbying/exchanging with most relevant partners; added value of multi-level governance and multistakeholder partnerships, close dialogue gap; low ressources limits both the level of ambition and participation of smaller/medium sized cities to participate, but they get visibility, networking opportunities, quick EU information; structures set up allow to continue working beyond the set up duration; peer reviews possible, training academies for politicians; flexibility in the approach to define and implement actions; networking with participants; interest from participants on tools available in European websites/initiatives; interest in the young generations, how they can get involved in EU exchanges.
APUF-7 provided a platform to discuss the status, challenges and opportunities of the implementation of the New Urban Agenda, the Paris Agreement and the 2030 Agenda in the region among others. The Future of Asia-Pacific Cities 2019 report developed by ESCAP and UN-Habitat in partnership with the European Union, Asian Development Bank, The Rockefeller Foundation, UNDP, Singapore’s Centre for Liveable Cities and many others was also launched. This report focuses on the implementation of urban solutions across different typologies of cities.
The presentation is available below.