Southeast Asian cities, NGOs share insights into stakeholder-driven adaptation, resilience 

Cities and non-government organizations (NGOs) from the Philippines, Indonesia, and Malaysia shared their best practices on local-level stakeholder-driven adaptation and resilience initiatives during a Daring Cities 2023 virtual session held on 22 August 2023. 

Over 120 stakeholders from national governments, local governments, civil society organizations, non-government organizations, academe, private sector, and other societal sectors participated in the virtual session titled “Forging Partnerships: Stakeholder-driven Adaptation and Resilience Initiatives in Southeast Asian Cities. 

“Southeast Asia is one of the world’s foremost regions bearing the brunt of climate change. A multi-stakeholder and bottom-up approach has been proven to be an effective way of building resilience and adapting to climate hazards. This enables the innovative co-creation and co-ownership of disaster preparedness, management, and recovery actions that are tailored to local contexts and realities,” said Victorino Aquitania, Regional Manager of ICLEI Southeast Asia. 

The panelists and moderator during the Daring Cities 2023 virtual session “Forging Partnerships: Stakeholder-driven Adaptation and Resilience Initiatives in Southeast Asian Cities” held on 22 August 2023.

The roster of panelists included Riono, Head of Environmental Agency of Tanjungpinang City, Indonesia; Alan Luis Silayan, Chief of Party of the Climate Resilient Cities project; and Pamela Cabacungan, Low Emission Development Strategies Manager of ICLEI Southeast Asia. Arif Wibowo, Country Manager of ICLEI Indonesia, moderated the panel discussions. 

Meanwhile, Mar-Len Abigail Binay, Mayor of Makati City, Philippines, Southeast Asia Representative to the ICLEI Global Executive Committee, and Chair of the ICLEI Innovative Financing portfolio; and Ahmad Zabri bin Mohamed Sarajudin, Director of the Urban Services Department of Seberang Perai, shared their best inclusive adaptation and resilience practices through recorded video messages. 

Inclusivity is key to effective and sustainable adaptation and mitigation actions 

Asked about how community stakeholders played a part in shaping city priorities toward climate adaptation and resilience, Riono said “Most of Tanjungpinang is coastal, so it is heavily affected by the rise in sea level and flooding. This is why we have a hexahelix collaboration model with stakeholders for local climate change adaptation and mitigation. NGOs are action catalysts; local communities are accelerators; media are information disseminators; private businesses are resource enablers; universities are conceptors; and the local government is the regulator and facilitator.” 

Discussing the Climate Resilient Cities project, Silayan said “We need a tailor-fit approach for each city. We have done this through a baseline assessment which we call the Climate Change Capacity Assessment Framework which analyzes the capacity not just of the local government, but also the stakeholders surrounding the government, including the NGOs and academe. The idea is we want to form an ecosystem around the local government to sustain the efforts that we are doing.”  

“We come into these communities with data from literature and scenario modeling, among others. While these data are credible to use on their own, information that can be gathered from inputs of local stakeholders themselves can validate and even enhance the quality of data to be used for adaptation planning. This involvement of stakeholders at the data collection and planning stages can make them feel genuinely seen and heard and this can translate to more ownership and responsibility in co-designing adaptation solutions for the broader community,” shared Cabacungan on ICLEI’s experiences in working with community stakeholders. 

Noting some of the key points of the discussions, Wibowo said “The discussions highlight that stakeholder engagement is critical in addressing climate change impacts. Adaptation and mitigation efforts must be science-based so they can be aligned with overall local development plans and so that funding may be more easily accessed.” 

Daring Cities 2023 is an action-oriented initiative launched by ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability and the Federal City of Bonn, Germany. Carrying the theme “A just and equitable climate emergency response,” this year’s Daring Cities seeks to continue showcasing and catalyzing exemplary local climate action to tackle the climate emergency, including ambitious resilience-building and climate mitigation efforts. 

More information about Daring Cities is available at 

The virtual session may be replayed HERE in English and HERE in Bahasa Indonesia. 

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