CDIA, ADB and UNECE Organize City-to-City Learning Exchange on Urban Renewal

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CDIA, Asian Development Bank (ADB) and United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) facilitated a learning exchange on 18 March 2022, specifically to showcase two ADB projects on urban renewal and development of affordable housing in Ulaanbaatar and inspire similar efforts in Bishkek. A total of 36 national and city officials of Kyrgyz Republic and Mongolia attended, to share their insights and experiences in planning and implementing urban renewal projects.

The virtual event was organized as part of CDIA’s technical assistance to Bishkek Municipality to develop their investment project dubbed, “Integrated Development of Substandard Settlements in Bishkek Project (IDSSBP).” It aims to improve basic urban services and enhance employment opportunities in five pilot settlement areas.

“The south-to-south learning exchange was designed to showcase the strategies, mechanisms and financing solutions employed in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia to address its housing and key urban development challenges,” says CDIA Capacity Development Specialist Kathleen Jovellanos. “Lessons from Ulaanbaatar will be used by Bishkek officials to prepare the IDSSBP for the benefit of at least 75,000 residents.”

Head of Department from the Kyrgyz State University of Construction and Architecture Tolobai Keneshov presented the main housing challenges in Bishkek and how the IDSSBP can address them.

CDIA-UNECE Coordinator Tommaso Bassetti further presented how UNECE and the city have been working together to assess the problems and needs in the settlement areas, and how it has connected with CDIA to help Bishkek take their project forward.

A key highlight of the event was the presentation from Mongolia, led by Deputy Governor for Construction, Housing, and Industry and Technology Park B. Sukhbaatar and facilitated by ADB Urban Development Specialist Arnaud Heckmann. It focused on two ADB-funded projects: Ulaanbaatar Urban Services and Ger Areas Development Investment Program, and Ulaanbaatar Green Affordable Housing and Resilient Urban Development Project. Both projects  aim to improve the living conditions of residents in Ulaanbaatar through a holistic and inclusive approach to urban renewal and development, thereby addressing key issues in low-income settlement areas such as the lack of basic climate-resilient urban infrastructure and services, and prospects for economic and livelihood activities.

To ensure complete understanding of the two projects, a physical learning visit to Ulaanbaatar by Bishkek delegation was proposed to be undertaken with support from ADB.

To date, CDIA has a total of five project preparation study interventions with the government of Ulaanbaatar, three of which have been linked to ADB financing, including the two projects mentioned above.


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