Original post in Associated Press.
Co-organised with UN-Habitat, UCLG ASPAC, UNU-IAS, and IGES, the Academy helps regional city mayors to lead inclusive and sustainable future cities development and navigate challenging times in light of COVID-19
Held from November 2020 through May 2021, the second cohort of The Asia Pacific Mayors Academy recently concluded with a final module that saw 16 mayors participate from Indonesia, Iran, Malaysia, Nepal, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, and Thailand. For this capstone sixth module, the Academy focused on exploring future pathways to financing sustainable urban projects.
Organised by six collaborating partners, The Asia Pacific Mayors Academy was launched in 2019 by the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat) and United Cities and Local Governments Asia-Pacific (UCLG ASPAC) in cooperation with the United Nations University, Institute for the Advanced Study of Sustainability (UNU-IAS) Institute for Global Environmental Strategies (IGES) and APRU (the Association of Pacific Rim Universities).
Under the expertise of a faculty including regional experts from the APRU Sustainable Cities and Landscapes Program, the Academy engages newly elected or appointed city mayors in Asia-Pacific to increase their understanding and application of sustainable urban development tools, resources and technical solutions. Together, this multi-stakeholder network of local leaders explores scenarios with specific challenges as well as relevant case studies to facilitate plans for sustainable solutions in their communities. For example, in the sixth module, the Academy discussed leveraging urban land value, co-creating private sector innovation, and promoting polluter-pay solutions to create long-term value for citizens, businesses, and the environment.
Chris Tremewan, Secretary General of APRU, “APRU university experts work with city leaders and multilateral organizations to strengthen sustainable city development and to develop concrete plans for urban solutions. We are honoured to be one of the partners of the Academy. These specialised training sessions and knowledge exchanges have been invaluable during COVID-19 as we collectively respond to the crisis. We need to do everything we can to put cities on the path to recovery.”
Stefanos Fotiou, Director, Environment and Development Division, ESCAP, “By drawing on multi-disciplinary members from across the Academy’s network, this unique and inclusive initiative supports mayors and the critical role their cities can play in realising the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and Paris Climate Agreement. Starting local is essential to sustainability progress across the region, and it begins by addressing urban problems with smart sustainable solutions.”
The Academy offers a robust curriculum including modules on Cities 2030 – Designing, Planning and Managing Sustainable Urban Development and COVID-19 Response and Recovery in hopes to see strengthened regional cooperation and mayors applying learnings to generate positive outcomes in Asia Pacific cities.