Regional Centre

ASEAN SDGs Frontrunner Cities Programme
The First Regional Workshop (the Inception Workshop)

The First Regional Workshop (the Inception Workshop) of the ASEAN SDGs Frontrunner Cities Programme (SDGs-FC) was held on 26- 28 September 2018 in Tokyo and Nagano, Japan. There were about 70 participants comprising: (i) representatives from all ASEAN Member States (AMS) (except Brunei Darussalam and Singapore); (ii) the ASEAN Secretariat; (iii) local governments nominated as participating cities of SDGs-FCs; (iii) IGES (the implementing agency) and; (iv) resource persons from United Nations University Institute for the Advanced Study of Sustainability (UNU-IAS), UN-Habitat's Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific, Japan’s Local Policy Design Office and the Japan-ASEAN Centre.

The SDGs-FC is a new initiative under the ASEAN Working Group on Environmentally Sustainable Cities (AWGESC) supported by the Government of Japan through the Japan-ASEAN Integration Fund (JAIF). It aims to support ASEAN cities to achieve inclusive, sustainable, resilient and dynamic development in line with ASEAN Vision 2020. The programme strategically builds on the ASEAN ESC Model Cities programme (2011 – 2017), which had supported and recognised 40 frontrunner cities in their innovative practices/policies in bottom-up environmental management.

In support of the global 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the SDGs-FC programme expects to raise the capacity and profile of 27 ASEAN cities, (comprising ‘SDGs Frontrunner Candidate Cities’ and ‘Model Cities’) to develop and scale up multi-dimensional benefit model practices/policies towards clean and green sustainable development. It will also actively catalyse the agenda of SDGs localisation to contribute towards the national voluntary reporting and implementation of the SDGs in AMS.


On the morning of Day 1, participants received encouragement and inspiration at the Opening Session through Welcome Remarks by: (i) Dr. Vann Monyneath, AWGESC Chairperson and Deputy Secretary General of the General Secretariat of National Council for Sustainable Development of Cambodia; (ii) Dr. Vong Sok (Director, Environment Division, ASEAN Secretariat); (iii) Mr. Naoki Takahashi (Deputy Director-General/Deputy Assistant Minister of the Regional Policy Division, Asian and Oceanian Affairs Bureau, Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA), Japan); and (iv) Mr. Tokuya Wada (Deputy Director-General for Environmental Policy Ministry of the Environment, Japan (MoEJ). This was followed by keynote lectures by three experts on the latest trends and perspectives regarding SDGs.

On the afternoon of Day 1, project teams comprising National Focal Points (NFPs), National Coordinators (NCs) and representatives of Candidate SDGs-FC presented highlights of their proposed project action plans in lively panel sessions (Table 1). Subsequently, teams which were implementing projects with similar themes were grouped into two breakout sessions, where they discussed common priorities, targets and expected challenges and also gave feedback to each other on how to improve the quality of their proposed plans.

Table 1: Overview of Proposed Projects by Candidate SDGs-FC
Candidate SDGs-FC
Themes of Proposed Projects
Priority SDGs
Cambodia 1) Kep Pilot green buildings with renewable energy (solar panels), 3R’s, sustainable water/wastewater management and gardens in public offices, tourist zones, residential areas and schools. 6, 7, 11
Indonesia 2) Banjarmasin Improved solid waste management in communities with smarter ‘Waste Banks’ equipped with online services.Pilot ban on single-use plastic bags in traditional markets, expanding from existing ban in retail shops and supermarkets 3, 8, 11
3) Malang Scaling up voluntary systems of MRV (monitoring, Reporting and Verification) of environmental data from schools to other stakeholder groups. To be updated

4) Luang Prabang Upgrading of public park and market through public-private partnership for the promotion of local culture, businesses and tourism. 8, 11
5) Xam Neua Green city development and improved solid waste management in households, markets and schools. 11, 12
Malaysia 6) Shah Alam Reduction in building energy use in UiTM Campus 7, 11, 12
Myanmar 7) Mandalay Creating the city’s first ‘Mobile Environmental Awareness Vehicle’ (replicating and learning from Yangon) 11, 13
8) Yangon Citywide scaling up and upgrading ‘Mobile 3R’s Awareness Vechicle’ from 1 to 4 Districts 11, 14, 15
Philippines 9) General Marcos Alvarez (GMA) Cavite Community-based floating type Biogas digester To be updated
10) San Carlos, Negros Occidental Construction of pilot centralized wastewater treatment facility and drainage system in Sipaway Island and peer exchange with GMA Cavite 6, 13, 14
Thailand 11) Phuket Sustainable waste management for Green City targeting the diversion and sound treatment of organic waste in schools, markets, shops and restaurants. 15
12) Udon Thani To be updated

Viet Nam
13) Hai Phong Drafting city’s pilot ‘Action plan to enhance marine plastic waste management’ and regulations for ‘Integrated marine plastic waste management on Lan Ha, Cat Ba bays’ 9, 14, 15

On Day 2, participants discussed issues regarding regional outputs including the standard structure and scope of the country and city reports on the SDGs, which shall be integrated into a regional ‘ASEAN Report on SDGs and Cities’. There was also an active discussion on how to link project activities in cities to national and global SDGs frameworks, targets and indicators. In addition, participants discussed and supported the initiative to draft a proposed ‘ASEAN Cities Declaration on Single-Use Plastics Reduction’ as a key initiative under the programme, which may be refined and eventually formally adopted as a Ministerial/Leaders’ statement through the official mechanisms of ASEAN.

On Day 2 and Day 3, participants attended field visits in Komoro and Ueda City, Nagano Prefecture. Participants were welcomed by the Mayor and senior officials of Komoro City, who shared their good policies and practices on sustainable city development, including on solid waste management, ‘compact city’ and renewable energy promotion and nature conservation based on traditional wisdom in silk production. The sites visited by participants were (i) a biomass-based heat boiler system at Hishino Onsen Tokiwakan Hotel; (ii) Examplse of solar sharing programme run by Ueda Citizen Energy (a non-profit organization) and supported by citizen investments at a school (Kamishina-Daiichi Nursery School) and farm (Gohara Organic Farm); and (iii) a Model Eco-House showroom with superior insulation design for energy saving performance developed by Hokushin Ecohouse Co Ltd.

Outcomes & way forward

The Workshop not only equipped participants with new knowledge, emerging ideas and tools for realizing and localising the SDGs, but also facilitated new friendships and deepening ties among team members across AMS for mutual learning. With a better understanding and united vision of the programme’s intended specific outcomes and achievements, participants gained clarity and confidence on how to successfully implement their activities going forward. In conclusion, participants agreed to pursue the follow-up actions towards the 2nd Regional Workshop which is planned to be held on 10-12 June 2019 in Lao PDR. (Table 2).

Table 2: Follow-up Actions from the Regional Inception Workshop
Programme Outputs & Events Follow-up Actions
NFPs, NCs and participating cities IGES
Project Actions Plans by SDGs-FC and Model Cities Revise respective draft proposed city project action plans based on the feedback and new ideas gained from the Regional Inception Workshop by towards finalization by 31 December 2018.
Related to the above, study the specific targets and goals under SDG-11 and indicate linkages with their projects, as far as possible. Linkages with other SDGs (in addition to SDG-11) are encouraged, as far as possible.
Circulate revised outlines, guidelines and templates of Country ‘SDGs’ and City Priority SDGs Reports. Support and guide NFPs NCs and cities via individual consultations.
Country ‘SDGs’ Reports Study and consider the feasibility of the latest template report outline and structure circulated by IGES.
City Priority SDGs Reports
2nd Regional Workshop Note that the 2nd Regional Workshop is planned to be organised on 10-12 June 2019 as a back-to-back event prior to the 17th Annual Meeting of the ASEAN Working Group on Environmentally Sustainable Cities (AWGESC) on 13 – 14 June 2019 Develop a Zero Draft of the proposed ‘ASEAN Cities Declaration on Reducing Single Use Plastics’ for discussion as a preliminary occasion to gather inputs for reporting at the upcoming Annual Meeting of the AWGESC in 2019.
Inform AMS and cities on updated information.
Presentation Materials
Cities’ Leading Roles for SDGs
Kazuhiko Takemoto, Director of the United Nations University Institute for the Advanced Study of Sustainability (UNU-IAS)
PDF (2.0MB)
Sustainable Cities and Communities
Bernhard Barth, Human Settlements Officer, UN-Habitat's Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific
PDF (699KB)
Outline of the Regional Circular and Ecological Sphere
Tetsuya Yamada, Senior Planning Officer, Environmental Strategy Division, Minister's Secretariat, Ministry of the Environment, Japan
PDF (2.4MB)

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