The ASEAN ESC Model Cities Programme was established in 2011 to promote the development of Environmentally Sustainable Cities (ESC) in ASEAN Member States (AMS). To achieve this broad objective, the programme conducted activities at the local, national and regional levels. In Year 3, a total of 15 Model Cities (including 9 new cities) in AMS benefited from the programme. Similar to Year 1 – 2, the Model Cities received pilot project seed funds, training and regional networking opportunities. Moreover, in Year 3, two aspects of the programme were upgraded as compared to Year 1- 2.
First, more Model Cities progressed from only implementing ‘awareness raising and capacity building’ activities, and advanced towards applying their skills to achieve ‘transformative outcomes’. Building on the momentum in Year 1 and 2, Model Cities continued to make gradual improvements to local environmental quality by scaling up a variety of innovative activities. Benefits accruing to the National Focal Points (NFPs) were in three areas – (i) mainstreaming the SDGs; (ii) boosting incentives for cities to better fulfil the ASEAN Clean Land, Clean Air and Clean Water indicators; and (iii) strengthening or creation of national Model Cities networks. By aligning the programme with the SDGs, Model Cities programme’s support to the NFPs in Year 3 contributed towards increasing national readiness to respond to the global SDGs Voluntary National Review (VNR) mechanism, which is hosted under the UN’s High-level Political Forum (HLPF) on Sustainable Development.