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There is no other region in the world where fast-track urban growth happens as in Asia, and confronts urban development with more challenges than anywhere else. In most Asian cities however, the capacities to identify, prepare and realize bankable infrastructure investments are either lacking or nascent.
To support Asian cities bridge this gap, CDIA collaborated with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Singapore and National University of Singapore to deliver a five-day training course as part of the 10-year anniversary of CDIA dubbed, “Effective Urban Infrastructure Programming and Good Practices Workshop.”
Held in Singapore from 17-21 April 2017, the event brought together 33 senior government policy makers and their professional staff from 14 cities in Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, Nepal, Pakistan, and the Philippines.
The training course was split into seven modules; and participants had the opportunity to not only gain practical knowledge, but also openly discuss topics relative to: prioritizing infrastructure investments, enhancing sustainable project formulation, financing infrastructure investments (including public-private partnerships), and project feasibility/project preparation studies. Three CDIA partner cities also shared their good practices in addressing development challenges in flood management, water supply, and urban transport.
To strengthen the participants’ experiential learning, site visits to relevant Singaporean authorities and infrastructure such as Urban Redevelopment Authority on Planning City Infrastructure, Housing Development Board and Tao Payoh Town Centre, Land Transport Authority and NEWater facilities were undertaken.
Well-known academics Dr. Malone-Lee, Lai Chook; Dr. Lee, Kwan Ok; and Assoc. Prof. Liao, Wen-Chi; among others from the National University of Singapore delivered informative lectures and were open to all questions from the cities. CDIA’s Senior Infrastructure Finance Specialist Stuart King also presented the City Infrastructure Investment Prioritization and Programming (CIIPP) toolkit. Capacity Development Adviser Thomas Hagedorn, along with interns Edgar Vasanthakumar and Julian Hoffmann provided further inputs and helped facilitate the workshops.
Taking into account the new knowledge and better perspectives gained from the training course, participants were expected to develop their own infrastructure investment projects that will seek to realize inclusive and livable cities as part of progressive development towards Asia’s urban future.
“Sustainable development needs a strategic vision and plans which lead to the formulation of adequate projects. CDIA’s focus during its 10 years of existence has always been bringing projects and funds, cities and financiers together,” said CDIA-GIZ Program Coordinator Mrs. Claudia Hermes.
“The exposure and the learning which we had an opportunity to be acquainted with is an excellent knowledge to gain. It will help us in planning things more coordinately, effectively and efficiently; and we got exposed to new technologies in Singapore and other countries, and I wish these kinds of expediencies will be shared more globally and with other people,” said Mr. Nasir Ghafoor Khan, Chief Executive Officer of Water and Sanitation Services Co. of Mardan, Pakistan.
Both the cities of Singkawang in Indonesia and Cagayan de Oro in the Philippines further expressed optimism that in cooperation with CDIA, they can address their development issues. As Singkawang Mayor Awang Ishak Sidik put, “we face challenges in financing infrastructure projects, but we hope that after this program, we can apply for CDIA support for them to come to our city and start to work together.”
The participants will continue to work on their individual project ideas for their cities and will present and discuss the updates in a session later on in September 2017.