City leaders engage in transformative urban planning discourse at UrbanShift Asia Forum 2023

“Planning and financing sustainable cities is challenging and complex. However key stakeholders, including city authorities, national governments, global city networks, and multilateral and bilateral financing institutions, are stepping up to jointly assist cities in mobilizing and accessing climate finance for urban sustainability projects. Through this event, we have gained access to numerous opportunities. I hope this marks  the starting point of our collaboration and partnership to create a better world “

Harry Hadi, Head of the Regional Development Agency of Palembang City, Indonesia, delivered this closing statement on behalf of the city leaders in attendance during the final day of the UrbanShift Asia forum held in New Delhi, India, from September 25 to 28, 2023.

Officials representatives from cities in India, Indonesia, Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, Jordan, and China attended the opening session of UrbanShift Asian Forum on 25 September 2023.

The 3-day regional high-level event gathered over 250 participants consisting of city leaders, experts, and urban practitioners from cities across India, Indonesia, Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, Jordan, and China. More than 20 Indonesian delegates representing national and sub-national government officials participated in the event.

The participants engaged in dialogues and technical assistance sessions to identify a wide range of urban challenges, collaborate on solutions, and connect around shared goals.  

Indonesian cities push forward sustainable urban development 

At the national level, Indonesia continues to recognize the important role of cities in urban development.  Togu Santoso Pardede, Director of Local Development at the Indonesian Ministry of National Development Planning (Bappenas) during his keynote speech the the forum’s opening session, shared “Indonesia, through the Sustainable Cities Impact Programme (SCIP), seeks to implement and mainstream environmental and climate components in the urban development plans. The intervention will be conducted in five pilot cities, including Jakarta, Palembang, Balikpapan, Semarang, and Bitung.” 

City representatives from India and Indonesia engage in technical exercise for Day-2 City Academy session on 27 September 2023.

The role of cities in shaping a sustainable future is pivotal to confronting climate issues. Balikpapan City in Indonesia continues to instigate city climate action since its participation in the Urban LEDS project in 2019. Showcasing its recent best practices in one of the sessions, Murni Supeno of Balikpapan’s Development Planning Agency shared that they created an online portal called My Innovation House which allows users to share their innovations.

My Innovation House facilitates access to non-monetary opportunities such as local or international networking and publicity. All submissions are publicly available on the portal. This platform aims to drive inclusivity in innovation through program design and encouraging participation through competitions.

Tri Indrawan, Jakarta’s Deputy Head of Development Planning, presents Jakarta’s initiative during Day-1 City Academy session on 26 September 2023.

DKI Jakarta is a bustling metropolis known to face some of the world’s most challenging urban issues. Urban growth and expansion are among the pressing issues the city has to overcome in realizing a sustainable future. Jakarta’s Deputy Head of Development Planning, Tri Indrawan, shared Jakarta’s lessons learned on overcoming its urban challenges through its Transit Oriented Development Goals (TOD) program. The strategies include policy shifts in many sectors, including transportation, housing, and environmental issues. Highlighted during the City Academy session was one of the best practices of urban expansion in Jakarta, which saw the green zone development of Daan Mogot Apartment, governed under the governor regulations No.21/2017.

On the second day, a High-Level Investors Roundtable, a session organized by C40 Cities, saw a discussion on financial strategies for bus electrification and vehicle logistics in India and Indonesia. The session aimed to facilitate discussions between city officials and investors to support ambitious strategies and financing models to accelerate and scale the deployment of climate finance.

(Left to right) ITDP Indonesia Interim Director, Gonggomtua E. Sitanggang, Head of Road Transport Division of DKI Jakarta Provincial Transportation Agency, Ferdinand Ginting and Head of Jakarta Investment Centre, Tona Hutauruk.

ITDP Indonesia’s Interim Director, Gonggomtua E. Sitanggang, moderated the event and started the session with a presentation titled “Powering Change: Exploring Innovative Business Models for Transjakarta Electrification.” Present as panel speakers were Head of Road Transport Division of DKI Jakarta Provincial Transportation Agency, Ferdinand Ginting, and Head of Jakarta Investment Center, Tona Hutauruk.

Launching of the UrbanShift City Academy

The UrbanShift Asia forum also saw the launch of the Urbanshift City Academy, a curated online learning program that is freely available for urban development practitioners interested in deepening their knowledge on urban climate finance and urban growth.

Specifically, the UrbanShift City Academy offers open access to eight self-paced and interactive online courses focused on urban planning themes that are critical to shaping low-carbon, climate-resilient, and inclusive cities. These courses have been expertly developed by notable organizations including the UN Environment Programme, World Resources Institute, C40 Cities, ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability, and other global partners. 

Moreover, with the aim to enhance city-level capacities, UrbanShift has released a new guide for city-business partnerships titled “Public-private Collaboration to Accelerate Sustainable Urban Development.” Developed by C40 Cities, this guidebook for Global South cities shares best practices on public-private collaboration for urban sustainability issues and features 30 inspiring case studies.

(Left to right) Dewangga, City representative from Semarang City, and Zaharatul Hasanah, national delegation from The Ministry of National Development Planning/BAPPENAS presents their working group’s result during Day-2 City Academy session on 27 September 2023.

Some of the key learning and takeaways during the forum include:

  • Sustainable economy thrives on green jobs, equitable development, and sustainability.
  • Collaboration between the public and private sectors is essential for climate action.
  • The private sector can contribute to technology and capacity development, not just finance.
  • Innovative problem-solving, business models, and partnerships drive progress. 
  • Stakeholder engagement is crucial for complex challenges, from implementing sustainable urban growth strategies to tackling the current climate emergency.

UrbanShift is a global program that supports cities to adopt integrated approaches to urban development, building a low-carbon, climate-resilient future where both people and the planet can thrive. The program is funded by the Global Environment Facility and led by the UN Environment Programme, in partnership with World Resources InstituteC40 CitiesICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability, the UNDPThe World Bank, and Asian Development Bank (ADB).

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