Hosted by ADB, the South-South City Leaders Forum has been formulated on the premise that solutions to the multiple and interconnected problems cities face must come from cities themselves. The objective of the South-South City Leaders Forum is to spread good ideas and experiences among cities, and to help build a strong network amongst city leaders, especially in developing Asia and the Pacific. Organized by ADB’s South Asia Department (SARD), in partnership with the Regional and Sustainable Development Department (RSDD), East Asia Department (EARD) and Cities Initiative for Asia (CDIA), the inaugural South-South City Leaders Forum will take place on 2-3 December 2014 in Manila, Philippines.
Cities are engines of economic growth, generating over 80% of gross domestic product (GDP) in many countries of the Asia and the Pacific. Asia’s cities will become home to another 1.1 billion people in the next two decades. Over 200 million now live in urban slums, and this figure is predicted to soar to 692 million by 2015. South Asia for instance, accounts for almost half of the world’s urban poor. Many cities are struggling with environmental degradation, traffic congestion, inadequate urban infrastructure, and a lack of basic services, such as water supply, sanitation and waste management. Maintaining economic competitiveness, while creating sustainable and inclusive livable cities is the biggest urban challenge facing Asia. Solutions for increasingly complex urban environments require bold action guided by knowledge.
The South-South City Leaders Forum will gather about 50 city leaders and city managers, senior government officials, policy makers and sector experts from Asia and the Pacific and other regions, to spur new ideas and share best practices and successful innovations in building livable, sustainable, competitive and inclusive cities. The forum will emphasize knowledge sharing of innovative urban solutions and practices, with a clear orientation on results and outcomes, and encourage regional cooperation by building a strong network among city leaders in Asia and the Pacific. The forum will also provide an opportunity for city leaders to engage with ADB project officers.
ADB’s support for sustainable urban development is guided by its long-term strategic framework, Strategy 2020. ADB’s New Urban Operational Plan covers clean water, sustainable transport, energy, solid waste management, urban planning and financing. The plan fosters Competitive, Inclusive, and Green Cities to improve the performance of cities on the Economic, Equity, and Environment (3Es) spectrums. The South-South City Leaders Forum thus supports ADB’s Strategy 2020 and its Urban Operational Plan.