Asia Foundation’s Manila Conference Examines Planned Urbanization and South-South Cooperation

Manila, May 31, 2017 — Rapid urbanization is increasingly recognized as one of the most important development issues shaping our world today. With cities now making up half the world’s population, The Asia Foundation convened urban development experts, city government officials, academic scholars, and specialists from multilateral agencies across Asia in Manila from May 11-12, 2017 for the 16th meeting of the Asian Approaches to Development Cooperation (AADC) dialogue. The annual AADC event is an ongoing series addressing how Asian countries’ engagement in development and South-South cooperation is changing the global aid landscape and the development prospects for the region.

The meeting marks the 7th year of the Foundation’s partnership with the Korea Development Institute (KDI) in organizing the AADC dialogue. Focusing on Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 11, the Manila conference examined how Asian providers are addressing the challenges of urban planning, service delivery, and sustainable cities through their cooperation programs. Manila’s unique and continuous urbanization experiences set the stage for a dynamic dialogue between experts from cities in Asia facing challenges of rapid urbanization, including Manila, Cebu, Beijing, Singapore, Jakarta, New Delhi, Seoul, and Bangkok, as well as representatives from UNDP, UN-Habitat, the Asian Development Bank (ADB), and the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), who presented innovative programs aimed at addressing the challenges that cities face.

Highlights of the conference included a discussion of how China’s Belt and Road Initiative, spanning across Asia, Europe, the Middle East, and Northern Africa will increase connectivity and GDP for these regions, how public private partnerships are financing Asia’s transport and infrastructure needs from Manila to Laos, and how an innovative mobile application, Safetipin developed in India to promote urban safety, is being shared with other cities in Asia.

The meeting included a site visit to Manila’s Public-Private Partnership Center, during which the participants were introduced to the Duterte administration’s “Build Build Build” infrastructure development program. President Duterte’s strategy, which is part of the administration’s economic agenda, dubbed as “Dutertenomics,” hopes to address long-term issues by allocating 5.4% of the GDP to the initiative with over 60 infrastructure projects.

In previous years, AADC conferences have focused on the changing aid landscape, rising inequality and pro-poor growth, climate change mitigation and adaptation, social mobility, advancing South-South cooperation, and the role of NGOs and the private sector.

The Asia Foundation is a nonprofit international development organization committed to improving lives across a dynamic and developing Asia. Informed by six decades of experience and deep local expertise, our programs address critical issues affecting Asia in the 21st century—governance and law, economic development, women’s empowerment, environment, and regional cooperation.

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Related locations: Philippines
Related programs: International Cooperation

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Amy Ovalle, Chief Communications Officer
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