9th High Level Seminar on Environmentally Sustainable Cities

8–10 March 2018

Siem Reap, Cambodia

Government of Cambodia
Government of Japan
ASEAN Working Group on Environmentally Sustainable Cities
ASEAN Secretariat

The High-Level Seminar (HLS) on Environmentally Sustainable Cities (ESC) is organised annually to gather together influential East and Southeast Asia policymakers, experts and practitioners working on clean, green and sustainable cities. Since 2010, senior officials from the region’s environmental and urban line ministries, city authorities and development partners have met in various cities in Asia to:
  1. Share and promote their latest ideas and initiatives on sustainable city development;
  2. Exchange knowledge and explore collaboration potential; and, importantly,
  3. Develop specific recommendations to the East Asia Summit Environment Ministers Meeting, which includes ASEAN Environment Ministers, on practical cooperation activities on environmentally sustainable cities.
A keystone initiative which has been catalysed under HLS is the “ASEAN ESC Model Cities Programme,” established in 2011, and the “SDGs Frontrunner Cities Programme”, the successor of the ESC Model Cities Programme, which are both programmes managed by the ASEAN Working Group on ESC (AWGESC). With support from the Government of Japan and others, these programmes have supported over 40 cities in eight ASEAN countries, helping them develop a variety of innovative, replicable pilot projects and sustainable development practices. HLS also provides these cities with a platform to learn from each other, as well as from other cities and partners, and to report on their progress to the East Asia Summit of environment ministers. Since 2017, HLS broadened its focus to the multi-dimensional nature of city development, in addition to environmental concerns, and also responds to the need of aligning city-level development with the 2030 Agenda on Sustainable Development, particularly the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) .
Aligned with the set of six SDGs to be reviewed at the High Level Political Forum (HLPF) in July in 2018, New York, HLS will share practical experiences and discuss how to promote local sustainable actions related to the six goals by ASEAN cities, national governments, development partners, and private companies in their efforts to achieve sustainable cities in Asia.
Set of Goals which will be reviewed at 2018 HLPF in New York
(SDGs 6) Clean Water and Sanitation (SDGs 7) Affordable and Clean Energy
(SDGs 11) Sustainable Cities and Communities
(SDGs 12) Responsible Consumption and Production
(SDGs 15) Life on Land
(SDGs 17) Partnership for the Goals
THEME: “Sustainable Cities: Sustainability and means of implementation for successful initiative" (tbc)
The UN-led 2030 Agenda on Sustainable Development and the other universal agreements – such as the SDGs, the Paris Agreement, and the New Urban Agenda – laid out roadmaps for enhancing global well-being and prosperity. At the regional level, ASEAN Member States also reaffirmed their aspiration for similar joint prosperity expressed in the ASEAN Community Vision 2025. With these global agreements and goals in place, the role of cities in achieving these goals is increasingly recognised as important and critical.
Whilst policies and actions on SDGs varies from city to city, and recognising that stakeholders with different roles and responsibilities are all interconnected, there needs to be an understanding of how different stakeholders analyse and address the means of implementation (e.g. finance, human-resources, governance, environmental resources) needed for successful policies and actions. This could provide useful lessons which could be replicated even in different circumstances in order to facilitate SDGs actions at city level.
In the two and a half years since the global goals were adopted, cities and stakeholders have made progress on SDGs actions. Thus, HLS this year will be focusing on sharing successful case of policy and project implementation in cities across the Asian region with emphasis on answering questions such as “how has the challenge been analysed?”, “what were the available resources?”, and “how has the challenge been overcome?”. In short, we expect participants to share the essence of their successful experiences in order to facilitate further action elsewhere.
Participants will hear and learn first-hand lessons from selected Asian cities on implementing actions which contribute to achieving the set of goals to be reviewed at the 2018 High-Level Political Forum in New York. By facilitating an in-depth exchange among cities, development partners and other stakeholders, this HLS aims to set out examples of practical implementation activities under key goals, in order to encourage more cities to align their development plans with the 2030 Agenda on Sustainable Development and SDGs in order to truly achieve sustainable cities in Asia.
HLS’s learning objectives include:
  • To increase awareness on SDGs and its means of implementation
  • To learn from ESC Model Cities year 3
  • To have peer-to-peer learning on selected SDGs goals
Target participants consist mainly of government officials from environment ministries in ASEAN Member States. Local and city-level authorities, bilateral and multilateral development agencies – including but not limited to ADB, ESCAP, GIZ, JICA, OECD, UN-Habitat, and others – city networks, NGOs, private companies, academia and community groups will also join the seminar. Their participation will allow the sharing of experiences and the opportunity to explore possible collaboration and partnerships. The total number of attendees is expected to be around 200.
8-10 March 2018
(*AWGESC NFP Meeting will be held on 7 March)
Apsara Palace Resort and Conference Center, Siem Reap, Cambodia
The Government of Cambodia in partnership with the Government of Japan, the ASEAN Working Group on Environmentally Sustainable Cities, and the ASEAN Secretariat.