The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the New Urban Agenda are remarkable commitments by the global community to a sustainable and better life for all. Municipalities and other stakeholders are now grappling with questions about how these global goals can be translated to local realities and how appropriate solutions and processes can be introduced. As a contribution to the creation of liveable and water-wise cities, BORDA Southeast Asia has developed an integrated sanitation approach for the management of urban waters.
The City Forum on Integrated Sanitation, conducted in Bangkok on 12-13 October 2017 by BORDA Southeast Asia, brought together stakeholders from multiple countries to discuss integrated sanitation and to set up the city alliance People-Sanitation-Cities.
Joining the forum were more than 40 high-level representatives of national and provincial governments from seven countries in Southeast Asia (Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Myanmar, Philippines, Vietnam) and West and Central Asia (Jordan), as well as municipalities’ representatives such as mayors and deputy mayors. These provinces and municipalities are already working with BORDA and its local partner organisations on integrated sanitation. Also participating in the forum and providing professional input were the Asian Institute for Technology (AIT), the Cambodian Institute for Urban Studies (CIUS), and BORDA’s local partner organisations BNS Philippines, VAWR, ESC Cambodia, LPTP, BEST and AKSANSI.
During the two-day event, participants learned from each other about the progress towards the SDGs and New Urban Agenda applications in the seven countries. They also shared their experiences with integrated sanitation planning and progress towards its implementation on the local level. During intense working group sessions, participants identified several challenges in terms of urban planning and integrated sanitation: funding constraints, municipal capacities, enabling legal and policy frameworks, operational issues, and options for private-sector involvement. The working groups concluded that there is a high need and demand for regular exchange and knowledge transfer as a basis for joint learning and capacity building.
The city forum’s main outcome was the setting up of the city alliance People-Sanitation-Cities, with all forum participants as founding members. These include the municipalities of Sleman (Indonesia), South Tangerang (Indonesia), Sahab (Jordan), Yangon (Myanmar), Bauang (Philippines), Bac Nihn (Vietnam) as well as Kratie Province (Cambodia) and Luang Namtha Province (Laos). As a first commitment to working together as an alliance, supported by BORDA as facilitator, the founding members drafted the alliance’s mission/vision statement.
People-Sanitation-Cities shall serve as an interest group of partner cities focussed on implementing system solutions for the management of urban waters. Its mission will be to promote “Essential Public Services for All” as a contribution to the realisation of the SDGs and the New Urban Agenda. The alliance's vision is to strengthen cities’ capacity to implement sustainable system solutions with a particular focus on polycentric urban planning processes encompassing water, wastewater, solid waste and faecal sludge management. The alliance’s main objectives are to form an internationally linked community of practice on integrated sanitation, establish a knowledge hub and exchange network, and lobby stakeholders to promote the interests of cities in the area of integrated sanitation.
As next steps, a Secretariat will be set up to represent People-Sanitation-Cities and a working plan for the alliance will be developed.
As an outgrowth of existing multi-level partnerships and participants’ outstanding experience at the city forum in October, the creation of the People-Sanitation-Cities alliance is a remarkable accomplishment that will enable its members to engage in the closer exchanges that are essential to the realisation of liveable and water-wise cities.
The October 2017 City Forum on Integrated Sanitation in Bangkok brought together multi-level government authorities, expert institutes & local partner organisations for an exchange on integrated sanitation & the launch of an international city partnership
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