DELGOSEA at the 2015 ASEAN Cities Mayors Forum

DELGOSEA at the 2015 ASEAN Cities Mayors Forum

DELGOSEA featured strongly at the 2nd ASEAN Cities Mayors Forum, which was organised by UCLG ASPAC and took place in Makassar, Indonesia, from 8 – 9 September 2015.

The theme for this year’s Forum was “Adaptive and Intelligent Cities for Integrated Borderless Economic Region”. More than 130 mayors from all over ASEAN, joined by several hundred other participants from the business community, NGOs, local governments and international organisations, came together to discuss how local leaders in ASEAN can strengthen the local cooperation and support the development of stronger community institutions, infrastructure and social and economic life of cities through urban management and participatory governance.

The treasurer of DELGOSEA and country director for the Konrad Adenauer Foundation (KAS) in the Philippines, Benedikt Seemann, represented the network in a panel session on “Adaptive and Intelligent Cities for Better Living”, describing some examples from the DELGOSEA network and stressing the need for cooperation and good practice exchange across ASEAN. The interest in cooperation within the framework of the DELGOSEA network was considerable, especially from Indonesian mayors who had come out strongly to support the conference in their home country, and from the mayors on the Thai Delegation who were keen to become more involved in the DELGOSEA network. DELGOSEA members from Vietnam, Cambodia and the Philippines also attended and contributed to the discussions.

The Forum also featured breakout sessions, giving the chance for more nuanced discussions of individual topics, all connected to the theme of how cities can and have to change to prosper in an increasingly integrated world. The participants looked at how participatory planning can help cities become more resilient and adaptive, they debated how services can be improved through intelligent and smart systems and looked at the best ways of enabling competitive labour markets and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

Surrounding the conference were numerous events were held to promote ASEAN countries as well as the hosting city, Makassar on Sulawesi, including the Makassar Investment Forum, the ASEAN Cities Expo and the ASEAN Community & Expo. These were supported by UNDP, Embassies of ASEAN countries in Indonesia and involved local communities, women and youth organisations.

In a decisively worded ‘Makassar Declaration on ASEAN Cities and Local Governments’ the gathered mayors asked for a stronger ASEAN Secretariat to deal with local government issues and a specific unit to coordinate the regional actions, echoing DELGOSEA’s demands for closer attention to local government on the regional level. The declaration also specifically encourages the formalisation of the DELGOSEA network as a platform for best practice sharing and knowledge exchange across ASEAN.