City representatives, academics, and experts discuss mainstreaming sustainable urban development through an integrated resource management approach

The parallel session highlighted lessons and insights from the implementation of the Integrated Resource Management in Asian Cities: The Urban Nexus. The project, funded by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), is implemented by GIZ in cooperation with ICLEI-Local Governments for Sustainability and UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP). The Urban Nexus project applies a multi-level and multi-sectoral approach supporting twelve cities in seven countries in Asia including China, India, Indonesia, Mongolia, Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam. Ms. Ruth Erlbeck, Project Director of the Urban Nexus served as the facilitator and moderator of the session.

Providing a background of SDG implementation in India, Mr.  James Matthew, Deputy Director General of Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change reported that the ministry has developed a national SDG Index. The framework, released in December 2018, covers more than 300 indicators to measure SDG implementation at various levels. Mr. Matthew noted that SDGs can be further mainstreamed at the local level through consultations and collaborations with national government agencies and through a detailed analysis of a city’s challenges, pressures, and priority sectors.

The session discussed insights, challenges, and solutions towards making strategic use of the interrelationship between water, energy, and food security.

Meanwhile, Dr. Richard Cordial, President of Bicol State College of Applied Sciences and Technology (BISCAST) shared that as a meso-level partner of the project, they were able to develop, elaborate, and disseminate the Nexus concept and apply learnings to practical and applicable technologies. Through the Nexus project, BISCAST is implementing a pilot project on developing a climate-resilient house and has also developed and offered tertiary courses on the nexus of water, energy, and the built environment.

Advocating for integrated, collaborative solutions, Dr. Cordial stated, “We can not breakdown silos. We have to be connected and grouped; strive to work together and put our collective minds toward solving problems.”

Further, Ms. Nanda Jickar, the Mayor of Nagpur India, reiterated the central role that women play in promoting integrated resource management and as key actors in local climate action. She shared information on the industrial hub in Nagpur which serves as an area for providing capacity building activities for women while at the same time acting as a platform for self-help groups. Ms. Jickar believes that women are pioneers of this society as they play a major role in waste segregation and ultimately how resources are allocated, disposed, and recycled.

“We believe that the country can only progress if the women can come forward,” she stated.

Bringing the discussion to the issue of finance, Economic Affairs Officer of UNESCAP, Omar Siddique underscored that access to financial resources is a prerequisite of successful project implementation. Local governments may look into two financial instruments: public-private partnership and the land-value capture which can be more relevant for secondary cities.

Lastly, Mr. Sunil Dhapte, Director of YASHADA, an administrative training institute, highlighted the importance of building the capacities of local governments in developing and implementing strategies to address issues of sustainability and urban development.

Participants were then given the opportunity to discuss key issues of integrated resource management through a breakout group session. Four groups worked together to exchange ideas and insights regarding localizing global agenda in practice, opportunities to strengthen vertical and horizontal integration, challenges and best practices of integrated resource management in cities, and the role of academe/training institutes in institutionalizing the nexus approach.

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