In order to implement the Solo Declaration, Ministers of Houisng and Urban Development of the Asia Pacific region have agreed to take a number of concrete actions in each of the five areas addressed by the workin ggroups. Some of these actions are precisely defined while others remain to be further elaborated. Individual governments have committed themselves to join particular actions and inform the APMCHUD Secretariat accordingly within the year 2010.
Ministers of Asia Pacific will cooperate as follows:
1. Community Participation in Planning and Governance Community participation is differently understood and practices in the different countries of the region with varying degree of results. There has not been enough information exchange and networking on community participation experiences in the region.
Governments will strengthen community participation in planning and governance by:
– Passing relevant policies and legislation for ensuring community participation in Housing and Urban Development projects at local and national levels that will benefit all parties concerned, particularly the communities.
– Setting up regional management information centers to develop networking activities including establishing cooperation with relevant networks, conducting training, and follow-up actions in the Asia Pacific region.
– Indentifying and publishing best practices and lessons learned on community participation.
– Undertaking impact assesment of community participation and identification of the benefits at all levels periodically.
– Establishing inter regional and cities awards on community participation among Asia Pacific countries on housing and urban development projects
2. Participatory Urban Slum Upgrading
Despite fuitful initiatives undertaken in the region, Asia Pacific accounts for 60% of the world’s urban slum dwellers. There is an urgent need in the region to scale-up creative and sustainable solutions. The slum dwellers should be recognized and empowered as major actors of improving their housing and living conditions, and governments should take a facilitating role. Ministers will share experiences, lessons and innovation in City to City cooperation for further replication and adoption in each context.
– Government will analyse and disseminate a wide range of slum upgrading innocative options including on tenure security, strengthening the financial networks for slum ugprading programmes and formalizing people-based approach as part of the planning process.
– Ministeries will initiate the formulation, adoption and implementation of Slum Upgrading Policies to be further mainstreamed in the national development policy. The APMCHUD Secretariat will monitor progress in collaboration wih UN-Habitat (ROAP).
– The delegations of India, Indonesia and Thailand have shown interest to receive study tours on participatory slum upgrading programmes. APMCHUD Secretariat will facilitate the visits and report the results in the next APMCHUD meeting.
– Indonesia will expand its Research Institute for Human Settlements into a regional center on community empowerment in slum upgrading.
3. Working Goup on Delivery of MDGs for Water and Sanitation
In Asia drinking water supply is progressing well, however there is a felt need for increasing water efficiency gains through various means of water demand management practices, desalination and reuse and recycling os wastewater treatment. Most countries in Asia are not on track to meet the sanitation MDG target. Access to safe sanitation is significantly lower than access to clean water. Therefore there is urgent need for community-basd approaches to spped up the procss for sustainable sanitation. Several actions have been proposed to meet this challenge. Very limited wastewater is treated resulting in contamination of water resources, hence there is an urgent need for focusing on wastewater treatment.
– Establish a centre of excellence on Water and Wastewater for Asia and the Pacific for knowledge sharing and technology transfer at national and regional levels. The centre will be established in two years (The Islamic Republic of Iran has offered to host the centre and UN-Habitat will lend possible support). The centre will be linked to a network of national and sub regional centres of excellence for both water and wastewater. The centre will organize one international workshop and two regional training programmes in two years and two international workshops and four regional training programmes in five years.
– Conduct exchange visists for studying succesful community-based sanitation, water and wastewater solutions and implement pilot demonstration pojects in three Asia countries in two years and six countries in five years (Indonesia has offered to facilitate study visits and UN-Habitat under Water for Asia Cities programme will support such visits for knowledge sharing and best practices).
– Increase investment flows into the sanitation, water and wastewater sector from national buydget, national and unternational financing institutions, domestic and international NGOs, private sector by end of two years in three countries and by end of five years in six coutries (UN-Habitat’s Water for Asian Cities Programme will facilitate sector investment in interested countries in Asia).
4. Financing Sustainable Housing and Urban Development
Asian countries are experiencing rapid growth of urban population that has put great challenges on ities and countries to provide adequate housing and urban instruacture for all. The challenges of providing adequate and sustainable housing and urban infrastructure finance concentrate in low and middle income groups. The current housing and urban infrastructure finance systems do not adequately address the financing issues for low and middle income groups. There is a need to recognize different approaches to address the housing needs of different groups, including empowering people and communities for sustainable housing and urban infrastructure.
– Governments will enable formal financial institutions to lend to low-income people and informal sector. This will include to:
o Review and reform current regulations which hinder lending to lowincome people and the informal sector;
o Initiate pro-poor financing instruments including guarantee, insurance and compulsory savings for housing schemes by national governments and financial institutions;
o Establish national pilot liquidity facilitites to support low-income housing lending programmes.
– Governments will strengthen the housing information systems to develop a holistic approach to housing finance. This will include to:
o Establish a knowledge clearing housing on housing finance issues, utilizing existing institutions such as Asia Pacific Housing Finance Network, Asia
Pacific Housing Research Network and Asian Real Estate Society.
o Promote intergrated housing finance policies by national governments, considering the linkages between informal and formal housing finance,between micro-finance and macro-finance, and between housing and economic development.
5. The Role of Communities in Addressing Climate Change
Given that the whole of Asia Pacific is witnessing rapid urbanization, increasing frequency of climate extreme events and sea level rise and related threats, APMCHUD needs to formulate a common Asia Pacific urban adaptation vision and policy agenda for governments and urban communties based on: more rationale land-use planning, more robust infrastructure, flexible livelihood strategies, smarter and greener urban services that are equally accessible to all. To optimise communities’ role in achieving the above, cities/local governments must involve experts, professionals, and community skilled practitioners and not work in isolation in order to take appropriate actions.
Governments intend to:
– Orgnaise a training programme to mainstream climate change interventions at the local level. It will:
o Bring together experts, professionals, research institutes, private actors and community stakeholders to discuss and exchange information and resources for climate change adaptation/mitigation at the local level.
o Produce guidelines for addressing climate change at the local level.
o Improve current local risk management/measures in response to climate culnerability and enhance community participation in hazard mapping including climate hazards.
– Hold a policy seminar with existing regional networks and initiatives on climate change to share experience and knowledge. This will aim at:
o Operationalizing a regional platform through more effective multilateral cooperation and resource mobilization.
o Creating partnerships among cities, encouraging awareness and prioritizing climate change interventions, exchanging best practices and documenting lessons learned and sharing them.
o Strengthing local action plans into the national policies in harmony with regional interest to address the climate change impacts.
– Identify an institution to serve as a focal point for the exchange of information and experiences on climate change best practices and lessons learnt in the region.
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