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Philippine Urban Forum Marks the Start of CDIA’s Urban October Commemoration

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Since 2014, Urban October has provided an opportunity to highlight the world’s urban challenges and the need for everyone’s commitment to building more inclusive, resilient, and sustainable cities. This year, CDIA marked the start of Urban October by joining the first-ever Philippine Urban Forum on 5-6 October 2023 in Manila, Philippines.

Asian Development Bank (ADB) Principal Urban Development Specialist Alan Baird and Urban Development Specialist and concurrently CDIA Project Officer Lara Arjan participated in the Investment Forum on Day One.

In his plenary presentation, Alan underscored the importance of financial sustainability in cities, thereby strengthening their capacities, systems, and processes to create an enabling environment for the city to mobilize and manage its own financial resources at the same time attract investments from other sources.

Building on Alan’s insight, Lara re-emphasized that it is not the lack of resources that hinders most cities from achieving their development aspirations; rather it is the lack of bankable infrastructure projects that investors can invest in. She then introduced CDIA as a project preparation facility that can help cities prepare projects that are attractive to downstream financiers.

On Day Two of the conference, Capacity Development Specialist Kathleen Jovellanos and Communications Specialist An Rubenecia served as resource persons in two training events organized by the Department of Human Settlements and Urban Development (DHSUD) and the Urban Act project of Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) and its consortium, respectively.

They had the opportunity to exchange with city representatives and urban practitioners on the key considerations for preparing bankable projects that are in line with funder priorities. They also highlighted the importance of an enabling environment that will allow funders to see the city as a viable investment partner, and the systematic integration of climate resilience into project design.

With the theme, “Transforming our cities and communities and building resilient communities,” the Philippine Urban Forum aimed to promote a whole-of-nation approach to sustainable urbanization and the Philippines’ commitment to the New Urban Agenda and Sustainable Development Goals 2030.

It featured policy dialogues and knowledge exchange on new technologies and innovations in human settlements and urban development among more than 1,000 local and national government representatives, non-government organizations, academic and research institutions, development partners, and other stakeholders.

The forum also served as a platform by which the largest group of urban stakeholders expressed their commitment, through the Manila Urban Declaration, to the attainment of the Philippine New Urban Agenda vision – better, greener, and smarter cities in the inclusive Philippines.

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