Balikpapan hosts ASEAN meeting on Environmentally Sustainable Cities

Urban-LEDS model city in Indonesia, Balikpapan hosted the 16th meeting of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Working Group on Environmentally Sustainable Cities (AWGESC) last 02-03 May 2018.

During the meeting, five Indonesian cities led by Balikpapan committed to ban plastic use in their cities as a means of reducing waste generation. Other cities included Banjarmasin City, Malang City, Cimahi City, and Sigi Regency.

Mr. Suryanto Ibrahim (leftmost), Head of Balikpapan City’s Environment Agency leads the commitment to ban plastic use as a means of reducing waste generation during the 16th AWGESC meeting. (Photo credit: Ministry of Environment and Forestry, Indonesia)

“Environmental issues have been one of our concerns and have been included in our visions, which is to make Balikpapan a sophisticated, livable, and sustainable city… Balikpapan also sticks to the 52-48 commitment which means 52% of the total land area is committed as natural reserves and only 48% of the land can be developed,” said the Acting Mayor of Balikpapan, Mr. Rahmad Mas’ud, during the activity.

In 2014, the city of Balikpapan was among the recipients of the ASEAN ESC award. As it is Indonesia’s turn to host this year’s AWGESC meeting, the country’s Ministry of Environment and Forestry (MoEF) deemed it appropriate for Balikpapan to serve as the meeting venue.

Located a few kilometers away from the city center, Balikpapan boasts of its community-managed mangrove forests which are able to sequester carbon and provide employment opportunities to nearby communities. Participants visited Balikpapan’s mangrove center as part of the ESC meeting.

ICLEI Southeast Asia, represented by its Regional Program Manager, Mr. Ranell Martin Dedicatoria and Interim Country Manager for Indonesia, Ms. Gina Karina also participated in the meeting. ICLEI initiatives on climate change including Urban-LEDS II and the Ambitious City Promises were presented during the meeting.

Under the Urban-LEDS I project which ran from 2013 to 2016, ICLEI assisted the city of Balikpapan in developing its first community-level greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions inventory and formulating a low emissions development plan. Now in its second phase, ICLEI continues to help the city in terms of promoting vertical integration and strengthening measurement, reporting, and verification (MRV) processes of climate action plans. Urban-LEDS II is jointly implemented by ICLEI and UN-Habitat with support from the European Commission.

Comprised of representatives from ASEAN member countries, the AWGESC is established to intensify cooperation in addressing problems associated with urban environmental management and governance to achieve sustainable development as well as promoting a clean and green environment.

Download a copy of ICLEI’s presentation during the 16th AWGESC meeting here.

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