“From Jakarta to Quito with Love”

  • 2015•10•22     Jakarta

    Harnessing Asia-Pacific’s urban transformation: When Mary-Jane Ortega in her role as chairperson opened the sixth Asia Pacific Urban Forum in Jakarta, Indonesia, on 19 October 2015, she appealed for a strong focus on actions for sustainable urban development starting immediately while preparing for Quito’s Habitat III outcomes in a year’s time. The event’s host, M. Basuki Hadimuljono, Indonesian Minister for Public Works and Housing added “ with love” to include a heartfelt people focused dimension to the outcomes of the meeting. “From Jakarta to Quito with love” became the unofficial slogan of the event.

    On the first day, United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) and the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat) launched their much-anticipated report, The State of Asian and Pacific Cities 2015. According to the report, it is expected that by 2050 the urban population in Asia and the Pacific will reach 3.2 billion with most of them living in rapidly transforming small and medium-sized cities.

    The 6th Asia Pacific Urban Forum discussed the many challenges facing growing cities and the approaches needed to transform cities to become more inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable.

    Particularly the final Plenary Session on “climate smart and resilient cities” highlighted the many facets of sustainable urban development that influence health. It highlighted the urgency of action on urban form that increased livability in cities, the need to curb expansion and need for more sustainable design at all urban scales. Panel members from government, academia, industry and civil society showcased their perspectives and key recommendations. They ranged from good urban design and green infrastructure, to “sandwiching climate solutions between economic and political frames for easier swallowing”, to gender inclusivity, citizen engagement to scalable interventions and stronger governance for local government.

    In the last session, Uta Dietrich, Research Fellow at UNU-IIGH advocated for “health” to be included in APUF 6 Jakarta ‘Call for Action’ document’s recommendation on city planning and infrastructure development.