Honourable Mayors, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen,
I am very pleased to deliver my remarks at this 5th Green Cities Mayor Council, convened under the Indonesia Malaysia Thailand Growth Triangle (IMT-GT).
This initiative is especially important as it represents the intersection of regional cooperation and efforts to localize the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The IMT-GT Green Cities platform demonstrates that even among cities, regional cooperation can strengthen policies, accelerate actions and generate best practices that can be shared and replicated across the region.
We know that cities are confronting multiple crises, including the socio-economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, the recurring effects of climate change, the affordability of housing, and the consequences of conflicts on supply chains, food and capital that have disproportionate impacts in cities.
In this context, mayors have great responsibilities to develop forward-looking plans that consider not just traditional urban planning but more integrated approaches to urban development, climate action and localization of the SDGs to achieve multiple benefits for citizens.
IMT-GT’s Sustainable Urban Development Framework provides a common approach that will result not only in scattered examples of green city solutions but a continuum of urban areas across the region built on integrated approaches to low-carbon development, nature-based solutions, enhanced governance and community engagement, all aligned with the SDGs.
Your cooperation and commitment to this framework will generate innovative urban solutions.
The health and strength of our urban areas is more important than ever. Green spaces have become essential to urban health, have climate benefits and reduce urban heat island effects.
Proper management of urban water resources and water harvesting is critical to health and sanitation and to building resilience.
Energy efficient buildings and transitions to renewable energy and district energy systems will put cities on a necessary low-carbon development pathway.
Low-carbon transport solutions will provide residents with mobility options and reduce congestion, and will improve the air quality in our cities.
ESCAP is pleased to have the opportunity to support IMT-GT, including through the upcoming UrbanACT project on transboundary cooperation on local climate actions.
We look forward to building long-term and fruitful cooperation with you and identifying opportunities for cities to contribute to Nationally Determined Contributions in support of the Paris Agreement.
Let me also take this opportunity to invite you well in advance to participate in the 8th Asia Pacific Urban Forum, to be held in Suwon, Republic of Korea, in October 2023, where we hope you will share the results of your work.
Thank you, and best wishes for a very successful meeting.