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UCLG-ASPAC elects its first woman President, inducts new members

Surabaya Mayor Tri Rismaharini was elected as the president of United Cities and Local Governments Asia Pacific (UCLG ASPAC) for 2018-2020 during the 7th UCLG-ASPAC Congress held in Surabaya

SURABAYA (INDONESIA): More than 1200 participants from over 40 countries participated in the grand opening ceremony of UCLG ASPAC Congress 2018 held atDyandra Convention Center in Surabaya, Indonesia between September 12 and 15, 2018. The Congress was hosted by the Surabaya City Government and jointly organised by United Cities and Local Governments Asia Pacific (UCLG ASPAC). The inaugural session began with a series of cultural performances, and beating the Gong marked the official commencement of the Congress in the city of Surabaya.
Ignasius Jonan, Minister of Energy and Mineral Resources (ESDM); Vincent Guerend, Ambassador of the European Union (EU) to Indonesia and to Brunei Darussalam; Won Heeryong, Governor of Jeju, President of UCLG-ASPAC (2014-2016 & 2016-2018); Tri Rismaharini, Surabaya Mayor; Dr Bernadia Irawati Tjandradewi, Secretary General of United Cities And Local Governments Asia Pacific (UCLGASPAC); Emilia Saiz, Secretary-General, UCLG World, Khoo Teng Chye, Executive Director, Centre for Livable Cities Singapore; and a host of other dignitaries graced the inaugural ceremony.
Parks Tau, President of UCLG World, and Dato’ Maimunah Mohd Sharif, Executive Director, UN-Habitat could not attend the event but sent their greetings and best wishes through the recorded video messages.
Ignasius Jonan in his inaugural address spoke on the significance of cooperation between different stakeholders engaged in various areas of urban development. Speaking of waste to energy plants and its initiatives in Indonesia, he added that the waste to energy program is mandatory, especially for big cities in Indonesia. Jonan explained that the central government continues to encourage every city or region to become a large and modern city, for that good waste management must be done, one of which is waste to energy, making waste into electricity.
The theme of this year’s Congress was “Innovation-Driven Development for Sustainable Cities”. A series of plenary and technical sessions were also organised during the three-day event. UCLG-ASPAC Congress is a biennial event that brings together key development actors across Asian Pacific countries.
After handing over the baton to new President of UCLG ASPAC Tri Rismaharini, Won Heeryong, the Governor of Jeju Province reiterated, “I will remain the strongest support of friends in Asia Pacific.” In response, the newly elected President Tri Rismaharini said that she would extend her support in making cities livable and happy places to live. Dr Bernadia also congratulated Surabaya Mayor and said that she has transformed the city of Surabaya into a livable city. She expressed that her efforts would inspire other city leaders and bring positive results for other local governments in Asia Pacific region.
UCLG ASPAC Congress also elected Ranjit Chavan, President of All India Institute of Local Self-Government (AIILSG) as the Co-President of UCLG-ASPAC for the 2018-2020 period. Chavan said, “My focus would also involve expanding the reach of UCLG ASPAC in the cities where it has not marked its presence yet. Our efforts will include reaching out to local governments through the in-person approach and also through widening the reach of our various communication media.”Quoting Mother Teressa Chavan reiterated, “None of us, including me, ever do great things. But we can all do small things, with great love, and together we can do something wonderful.” He also committed to keep working towards empowerment of urban local bodies in Asia Pacific.
The Congress offered participants the opportunity to take part in a large number of activities, from the high-level sessions highlighting recent urban development and innovations and its applications, to a range of other sessions and activities devoted to discussing the current and potential challenges facing the urban future community. The thematic sessions and social programs of the Congress, the variety of topics covered and the external exposure of the event offer participants and exhibitors a wide range of opportunities to develop cooperation, partnerships and business linkages and to strengthen networking.

Wall of Innovation
UCLG ASPAC and United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific jointly set up a Wall of Innovation at the Congress venue to record the views of the Congress participants on four given themes—Governance and Capacity Development for Resilient Cities, Municipal Finance, Data and Technology for Smart Cities, and Urban and Territorial Planning. Several participants from different countries expressed their views and wrote on the Wall of Innovation. One participant from Thailand wrote, “Municipal Finance decisions and resource all location should be rooted in local needs and challenges. Stakeholders at each level should be engaged and involved when identifying needs. Critical to this process is the youth and adolescent in cities. Innovation in how to engage this constituency is important.” A municipal official from India wrote about the significance of capacity development and people’s participation in decision-making process, “people’s participation in planning, governance should be ensured so that the urban challenges can be managed in a better way.”
Another participant from France wrote and suggested the use of technology for proper waste management, “Use technology and digital tools to reduce daily material waste for a more environmental friendly lifestyle.” There were several other innovative and thoughtful ideas which were expressed. The recommendations from Wall on given themes were discussed in one of the plenary sessions and would also feature in the outcomes of the Congress, local authorities’ statement at the 2019 Asia Pacific Forum on Sustainable Development. These suggestions will also feed into the 2019 Future of Asia Pacific Cities Report.

Guangzhou International Award for Urban Innovation
The secretariat of Guangzhou International Award for Urban Innovation selected 15 cities as the finalists for this year’s Guangzhou International Award for Urban Innovation. The selection process by the technical committee members was held in Surabaya, Indonesia at the sideline of the UCLGASPAC Congress. The selected cities would present their initiatives at the International Conference on Urban Innovation, Guangzhou in China; out of which only five cities will be selected by the Jury. The biennial Guangzhou Award is a collaborative vision among the City of Guangzhou, the United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG) and Metropolis to recognize exemplary models of innovative policies and practices in the local implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the New Urban Agenda.

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