Managing cities for a better tomorrow

  • Metro News
  • Tuesday, 22 Oct 2019

Delegates from 60 countries attending the launch of the forum at Setia SPICE Convention Centre. — Photos: CHAN BOON KAI/The Star

THE need for a sustainable urban future has led to a strong call for cities to embrace a ‘can do’ spirit in driving sustainable development across the Asia Pacific.

The 7th Asia Pacific Urban Forum (APUF-7) addressed the need for careful planning, with United Nations Under Secretary-General Dr Armida Salsiah Alisjahbana declaring that a sustainable future is crucial for the fast growing urban population of the region.

“Governments and state leaders have committed themselves to achieving the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) by 2030 during the United Nations general assembly in September.

“The SDG Summit resulted in a call for a decade of action,” she said in her speech at the opening of the APUF-7 at Setia SPICE Convention Centre in Penang.

United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat) executive director Datuk Seri Maimunah Mohd Sharif said cities in Asia Pacific are at the forefront of global efforts to achieve the SDGs by 2030, serving as engines of economic prosperity, innovation and well-being.

“To ensure the full implementation of the New Urban Agenda, our cities must be better planned, managed and financed for improved resilience and to meet the needs of all citizens including the urban poor.

“We must protect the environment and leave no one and no place behind,” said Maimunah.

“This forum is the largest regional urban forum to date and the first to discuss local action,” she said.

Penang Island City Council mayor Datuk Yew Tung Seang said the forum was a good platform for everyone to share their experience and expertise.

“Penang started working towards becoming a low-carbon city about 10 years ago with the introduction of the first No Free Plastic Bags campaign in the country.

“The effort is followed by a ban on polystyrene in 2012 and now we are heading towards a total ban on single-use plastics by 2023.

“We have planted over 350,000 trees in Penang throughout the past 10 years. We plan to plant 100,000 more trees by 2023,” he said.

The forum was attended by over 7,000 policymakers, expert speakers and thought leaders from the public and private sector, research communities and civil societies from 60 countries.

Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow launched the forum.

The goal of APUF-7 is to provide opportunities to mobilise common action to address urban development challenges as well as provide insight into future-proofed urban solutions.

The event was graced by Fiji Prime Minister Josaia Voreqe Bainimarama.

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