Partnering for impact
Asia Pacific is one of the most rapidly urbanizing regions in the world. In this diverse region, urbanization rates surpass 85% in some areas while other areas are bearing witness to rapidly changing demographics, with aging populations who demand more and different urban services.
Cities have grown so rapidly that the Asian Development Bank (ADB) estimates that the region will need to invest US$1.7 trillion per year from now until 2030 to bridge its infrastructure gap. Today, over 400 million people in Asia Pacific still lack access to electricity, 300 million are without safe drinking water, and 1.5 billion lack basic sanitation services. More than 250 million people live in slums.
While cities present some of our greatest challenges, they are also our greatest opportunity. And the opportunity is to reimagine how our cities work and how they serve the communities and organizations that call them home. By sourcing the region’s immense appetite for learning from good practice, applying innovative solutions and approaches, and capacity for collaboration, there is a further opportunity to catalyze leapfrog development. In Asia, the speed of urbanization and burgeoning demand it has caused are matched by an eagerness to find new partners, delve into challenges, and find optimal strategies to address them.
While this region is incredibly geographically and socio-economically diverse, its cities share many of the same challenges. Climate change and living with persistent heat are pressing concerns from India to Australia. Mobility challenges plague cities across the network from Japan to Indonesia. A lack of affordable housing is as much a concern in Bangkok as it is in Sydney. Issues of water management and flooding confront almost all 23 network cities in the region. Collaboration between cities as well as partnership with the private sector can create scalable solutions to begin to address these challenges.
Fundamental to resilience-building, and to enabling cities in Asia Pacific to address their most persistent problems, is creative collaboration and working across silos to design multi-benefit solutions. Resilience challenges are faced by all urban stakeholders; cities need partners from all sectors to help them tackle the pressing challenges of our day, and unlock funding to deliver critical solutions.