Donor initiative launched to address needs of Asia’s growing cities

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MANILA (AP) — The populations of Asia’s already crammed cities will rise by 1.1 billion in the next 20 years, and rising pollution and poor infrastructure will make lives more miserable without effective urban management, the Asian Development Bank warned Tuesday.

The Manila-based bank and the German government launched the Cities Development Initiative for Asia to raise up to $10 billion in new investments to fund the infrastructure needs of Asia’s booming cities.

The initiative, announced Tuesday, will help facilitate sanitation, urban transport, waste management and other municipal services, bank Vice President Ursula Schaefer-Preuss said.

Asia’s urban centers are rapidly expanding as millions stream from the countryside into the cities. More than 100 cities in China have more than 1 million people.

According to a 2003 United Nations report, 10 of the world’s 20 largest mega-cities, so-called “urban agglomerations” with populations over 10 million, are in Asia. “A well-coordinated, multi-donor initiative can contribute significantly toward improving the living conditions of people in Asian cities,” Schaefer-Preuss said.

“Our goal is to bring about lasting improvements in the living conditions of the urban poor, to limit negative environmental consequences of urban growth, and to make use of cities’ potential for national development,” Karin Kortmann, ADB governor for Germany, told the conference.

Asian cities, which account for half the world’s urban dwellers, face challenges that are unprecedented in history, M. Ramachandran, secretary of India’s Ministry of Urban Development, told the meeting of government officials, experts and donors.


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