Naga is 2nd PH city under global S²Cities program; commits to make city safer in partnership with youth

(in photo above) Andrea Betancourt, S²Cities Global Manager of Global Infrastructure Basel Foundation (standing, leftmost); Kelly Donovan, S²Cities Regional Manager for Asia-Pacific of Global Infrastructure Basel Foundation (sitting, leftmost); Honorable Nene de Asis, Vice Mayor of Naga (sitting, third from left) on behalf of Honorable Nelson Legacion, Mayor of Naga; Victorino Aquitania, Regional Director of ICLEI Southeast Asia (sitting, third from right); Kenneth Abante, Executive Director of WeSolve Foundation (sitting, second from right); and other representatives from the Local Government of Naga City, ICLEI Southeast Asia, and the Move As One Coalition during the local launch of the S²Cities program.

The City Government of Naga in the Philippines has pledged to make its urban areas safer and more inclusive for its youth.

Naga City Mayor Hon. Nelson Legacion made this commitment during a ceremonial Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signing with ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability Southeast Asia (ICLEI SEA) on 27 April 2023 at the Jesse M. Robredo (JMR) Museum Amphitheater done as part of the youth-focused Safe and Sound Cities (S²Cities) program.

The ceremony also served as the official launch of S²Cities’ activities in Naga.

“We consider Naga’s official inclusion into S²Cities an affirmation of the city’s drive to meaningfully involve and engage the youth in governance and urban development. We hope that through this program, we will be able to identify and develop innovative ways of ensuring the safety and wellbeing of our youth. Naga is honored to be part of the S²Cities network and we look forward to a fruitful implementation ahead,” said Mayor Legacion.

Naga’s youth make up over 44,000 or around 21% of the city’s almost 210,000 citizens.

S²Cities is a global program led by the Global Infrastructure Basel (GIB) Foundation, in partnership with ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability, hosted by the Swiss Philanthropy Foundation, with the support of Fondation Botnar. It aims to improve young people’s safety and well-being in urban environments.

Program activities in Naga will include a survey of urban safety, stakeholder consultations, workshops and capacity building activities, and ideation, designing, and implementation of safety solutions, among other youth-focused engagements.

“With their numbers, unconventional thinking, fresh perspectives, and boundless energy, it is important that today’s young people are meaningfully involved in shaping the communities that they live in. The S²Cities program is a platform that will enable and capacitate them to transform their city in innovative ways together with the local government and other local stakeholders. ICLEI Southeast Asia looks forward to working with Naga to make the city a safe, sound, and inclusive city,” said ICLEI SEA Regional Director Victorino Aquitania.

ICLEI SEA is supporting selected cities in Southeast Asia to develop the capacities of local governments in engaging the youth to holistically address urban safety issues.

Naga is the second city in the Philippines and the third city in Southeast Asia to officially be part of the S²Cities global network of program areas. It follows the 2022 global pilot sites of Bandung, Indonesia and Envigado, Colombia, and locally Baguio City which was onboarded earlier this March 2023.

ICLEI SEA and Naga have previously worked together in various sustainable development projects, including the Cities for Climate Protection Campaign, Asian Cities Climate Change Resilience Network, and Urban Nexus: Integrated Resource Management in Asian Cities.

For more information on the S²Cities program, please visit https://s2cities.org/.

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