"You cannot afford not doing it"
- Strong leadership is the key to success for integrating global concerns into urban management in the Asia-Pacific region
- IGES networking event of WUF3 - Vancouver, Canada

23 June 2006

Vancouver, Canada: The Urban Environmental Management Project of the Institute for Global Environmental Strategies (IGES), Japan hosted a side event "Integrating Global Concerns into Urban Management in Asia: Challenges and Experiences" at the World Urban Forum in Vancouver, Canada on 20 June 2006. The event, attended by more than 70 people, was successful.

The global environmental impact of cities in the Asia-Pacific region is growing with rapid urbanisation and the rapid economic development that often accompanies the urbanisation process. Unfortunately, it is a common understanding that such global impacts are often not on the agenda of local managers, as they are faced with various other urban environmental issues that are often more pressing and require immediate attention. On the other hand, if we look at the city level practices in the region, we see that there are many encouraging stories of successful integration of global concerns into local management. This event tried to identify the challenges, opportunities, barriers, experiences and strategies in integrating those global concerns into urban management in the region.

Jeremy Harris, the former Mayor of Honolulu, delivered a keynote speech entitled "The Role of Cities in Meeting the Challenge of Sustainability". Following the presentation, a panel discussion brought together mayors and distinguished scholars from key developing and developed countries in the Asia-Pacific region, including China, India, Thailand, Australia, and Japan, to explore various questions - What is the state of integrating global concerns into urban level management in the region? What kind of lessons can be drawn from successes and failures? What should be done, and by whom to promote the integration of global concerns into local management in developing cities in the region?

The presentations and discussions suggested that cities (both in developed and developing countries of the region) can make a real difference in terms of mitigating their global environmental impacts through i) proper incentives and regulations, ii) innovation and utilisation of key technologies such as solar energy technology and information technologies, iii) strong leadership by mayors, and iv) enhanced awareness of citizens. What is important to note is that many of these improvements do not have to come at the expense of local environmental quality and do not require heavy financial investment. In fact, in many cases the measures that bring global environmental benefits also brought about economic savings to the city. As pointed out by Jeremy Harris, "It's not that you cannot afford doing it. The truth is that you can't afford not doing it".

For enquiries about this press release please contact:
Dr. Xuemei Bai, Senior Research Fellow
Urban Environmental Management Project
The Institute for Global Environmental Strategies(IGES)

Tel: +81-46-855-3840 Fax: +81-46-855-3809

Ms. Kido
, PR Officer, IGES
2108-11 Kamiyamaguchi, Hayama, Kanagawa, 240-0115 Japan
Tel: +81-46-855-3734 Fax: +81-46-855-3709

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