Sustainable Cities (Kitakyushu Urban Centre)

6th High Level Seminar on Environmentally Sustainable Cities

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The 6th High Level Seminar on Environmentally Sustainable Cities (HLS ESC), organised by the Governments of Malaysia, Japan, Cambodia, the ASEAN Working Group on Environmentally Sustainable Cities and the ASEAN Secretariat, was held in Johor Bahru, Malaysia from 9 to 10 February 2015 under the framework of the East Asia Summit Environment Ministers Meeting (EAS EMM).

Date 9 -10 February, 2015
Venue Thistle Hotel, Johor Bahru, Malaysia
Framework East Asia Summit Environment Ministers Meeting (EAS EMM)
Organisers Government of Malaysia, Government of Japan, Government of Cambodia, ASEAN Secretariat, and ASEAN Working Group on Environmentally Sustainable Cities
Secretariat Institute for Global Environmental Strategies (IGES)
Number of participants Approx.250
National and local governments, bilateral and international development agencies, city networks, NGOs, private companies, academia and community groups
Language English
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Summary of Sessions

The Seminar was chaired by by Prof. Ryokichi Hirono (Professor Emeritus, Seikei University, Japan; President, Asia-Pacific Evaluation Association (APEA)) and co-chaired by Datin Paduka Dr. Dahlia Rosly (Director General, Federal Department of Town and Country Planning, Ministry of Urban Wellbeing, Housing and Local Government) and Dr. Vann Monyneath (Deputy Director General for Technical Affairs, Ministry of Environment, Government of Cambodia/Chairperson, AWGESC). The Seminar brought together about 250 participants consisting of representatives from 12 national governments, 36 local authorities and 26 international organisations, non-government organisations (NGOs), research institutions, private companies and others for information exchange, knowledge sharing and frank discussion on the agenda of environmentally-sustainable city development through Plenary and Thematic Sessions.

In the Opening Session, Opening Speeches were delivered by Mr. Soichiro Seki, Vice-Minister for Global Environmental Affairs, Ministry of the Environment, Japan and YB. Datuk Halimah Mohd Sadique (Deputy Minister, Ministry of Urban Wellbeing, Local Government and Housing, Government of Malaysia). The Keynote Presentation was delivered by Datin Paduka Dr. Dahlia Rosly.

As with previous seminars, the event brought together diverse stakeholders to review the progress made in EAS participating countries on promoting ESC, exchange knowledge on priority areas and emerging topics as well as to explore collaboration opportunities. This year, the seminar looked back on the preceding five High Level Seminars and the achievements over five years since the 1st HLS ESC in 2010. ASEAN, East Asian countries and key stakeholders discussed the way forward for nurturing an emerging ‘ASEAN ESC Community’ post-2015. The other highlight of the seminar was the presentation of the outputs of the ASEAN ESC Model Cities Programme Year 2 by the implementing cities, which was warmly welcomed by participants and appreciated by ASEAN Member States. The ASEAN ESC Model Cities Programme represents a concrete output of the HLS ESC seminars, as it has been specifically designed to realise the practical activities for promoting ESC as recommended by the 1st HLS ESC.

Active discussions were held over five Plenary Sessions and six Thematic Sessions, which highlighted good practices by local governments as well as enabling actions and new initiatives by supporting stakeholders. This year, the seminar was held back-to-back with the international ‘FutureCity Initiative’ Forum (8 February 2015; held for the first time outside of Japan) in Malaysia, jointly organised by the Government of Japan, Government of Malaysia, Iskandar Regional Development Authority (IRDA), Johor Bahru City Council (MBJB) and Universiti Teknologi Malaysia.

The Seminar concluded with the adoption of a Chair's Summary which reaffirmed important actions and ideas for furthering the promotion of ESC in the region and provided specific recommendations to EAS Environment Ministers on broad paradigms and practical collaborative activities under the EAS EMM framework.

Future Plans

The outputs of the 6th HLS ESC will be reported to relevant major meetings and seminars pertaining to ESC, including those under global processes such as the post-2015 development agenda and the preparations for the 3rd United Nations Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development (HABITAT III, to be held in 2016) and to provide full support to their regional preparatory processes.


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