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2011 Asian Urban Forum Focuses on Financing Future Cities

Asian Urban Forum 201115 November 2011: The Asian Development Bank (ADB) hosted the 2011 Asian Urban Forum, which took place from 15-17 November 2011, in Manila, the Philippines, and was organized around the theme "Financing Future Cities." The Forum aimed to increase awareness about financing mechanisms currently available to promote green, competitive and inclusive cities, which are expected to improve environment protection, support the economy and build equity in Asian urban areas. The event provided a platform for: sharing of experiences and new enabling frameworks and planning systems for urban infrastructure investment; explaining and discussing the use of new financing structures and investments; and showcasing project proposals and discussing practical financing potentials. It brought together leading officials from central and municipal governments, financing institutions, the private sector, NGO representatives, academia and multilateral agencies.

Addressing the forum, ADB President Haruhiko Kuroda stressed that developing clean competitive cities is key to the development of Asian countries. He noted that, currently, urban areas are responsible for 80% of the GDP. According to ADB, half of the world's megacities with populations of over 10 million are located in Asia, but rapid urbanization has increased a number of challenges: over 200 million urban dwellers live in poverty; pollution is increasing; and climate change poses a new threat with the onset of increasingly severe disasters.

At the Forum, ADB launched the publication titled "Competitive Cities in the 21st Century: Cluster Based Local Economic Development," which underlines that climate change has increased disaster risks, and that income gaps within and between developing countries are widening. The publication, which is based on case studies in Bangladesh, India, and Sri Lanka, provides governments, businesses, the private sector and communities an approach for planning competitive, sustainable and inclusive urban economies. [Asian Development Bank Press Release] [Asian Urban Forum 2011 Website] [Publication: Competitive Cities in the 21st Century: Cluster Based Local Economic Development]