Bandung and Baguio affirm youth’s role in creating safe and sound cities

Southeast Asia currently has an approximate youth population of over 213-million, 40% of which live in urban areas. As the region’s population continues to grow, cities must work towards being safer and more inclusive spaces where young people are empowered to meaningfully contribute to the sustainable development of their communities.

This is one of the key messages of the recently concluded online discussion “Youth-driven actions for sustainable local development in Southeast Asia” held in the sidelines of the 10th Asia-Pacific Forum for Sustainable Development on 30 March 2023.

The event served as a platform for the exchange of knowledge, experiences, lessons learned, and best practices for people-centered, multi-stakeholder-driven, and youth-oriented sustainable development actions being undertaken throughout cities in the region.

It featured key insights from the Safe and Sound Cities (S²Cities) programme areas of Bandung City, Indonesia and Baguio City, Philippines.

Arch. Donna Tabangin, EnP, the Baguio City Planning, Development, and Sustainability Coordinator (upper right, second from top), discusses the S²Cities approach being used in Baguio City, Philippines.

Speaking on behalf of Baguio Mayor Benjamin Magalong, Arch. Donna Tabangin, EnP, the City Planning, Development, and Sustainability Coordinator, talked about the various opportunities and programmes that the city offers to the youth, as well as the efforts being made by the government to ensure their safety and security. She also shares insights on the S²Cities strategy for Baguio.

“We shall continuously emphasize youth-driven actions and collaborative partnerships to find a common ground so we can work together towards safe and inclusive spaces, and be empowered to participate in meaningful ways as we shape the future of our city in which everyone has the opportunity to live a better life,” said Architect Tabangin.

Dheamyra Aysha Ihsanti, Project Implementer of the S²Cities Programme in Bandung City, Indonesia (upper right, second from top), talks about the placemaking strategy and participatory planning approaches her team is taking to transform some of the city’s dead spaces into community parks.

Dheamyra Aysha Ihsanti, a youth Project Implementer of the S²Cities Programme in Bandung, shared her team’s placemaking efforts to convert the dead spaces below the Pasupati Flyover into youth community hubs, an initiative developed through her group’s participation in an S²Cities local ideation competition.

“We believe youth participation is important in achieving the sustainable development goals because we are the future generation of leaders, policymakers, and changemakers. We are the ones who have spirit and fresh new ideas that could help our community in overcoming current and future challenges,” said Ihsanti.

Bandung is one of the pilot programme areas of S²Cities, having begun programme activities in April 2022. Meanwhile, Baguio officially became a part of the S²Cities global network of programme cities earlier this 2023.

The side event was jointly organised by the Children and Youth Constituency for Sustainable Communities (CYCSC), ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability Southeast Asia, and the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat) in Vietnam.

Serving as co-organizers were the City Government of Baguio – Philippines, World Resources Institute- Indonesia, and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization Office (UNESCO) in Vietnam.

S²Cities is a global programme aiming to improve the safety and well-being of young people in urban environments in secondary cities. It is an initiative proudly led by the Global Infrastructure Basel Foundation, in partnership with ICLEI, hosted by Swiss Philanthropy Foundation, and supported by Fondation Botnar.

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