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SURAKARTA, Indonesia, popularly known as a city of creativity and the heart of Javanese culture, hosted the 1st ASPAC Culture Forum. Humbly saying that while they have limitednatural resources to support its development, Surakarta is proud of its culture-based vision of development and its ability to hold more than 60 kinds of cultural events in a year and become a must-see tourist destination.Building on this, Surakarta or Solo as many people call it, has also become a founding member of the ASPAC Culture Committee established in 2015.
Keen to promote the value of culture in urban planning, UCLG ASPAC welcomed Surakarta local government’s initiative to host the first UCLG ASPAC’s Forum on Culture in Local Planning and Consolidation Meeting with Indonesian Cities and Regencies on 25 – 27 October 2016 at Sunan Hotel, Solo.
This forum examined the importance of culture in everyday life. It also provided spaces for knowledge transfer between leaders from Asia-Pacific region in terms of good practices, culture related policies, as well as awareness raising in the region on the value of integrating culture in local planning. Moreover, participants of this event were also given space to create network and cooperation on culture between cities and local governments.
OPENING CEREMONY – COLLABORATIVE CULTURE
Welcoming different cities and local governments, Surakarta local government prepared an opening ceremony which showcased the Javanese traditional dance called SrimpiLudiroMadu. With welcome remarks by the Mayor of Surakarta, FX HadiRudiyatmo, the beautiful performance in the opening ceremony captured the audience’s attention, and provided positive energy in welcoming the first session that highlighted “Local Leaders’ Outlook on the Value of Culture in Urban Transformation and Economic Development”.
PANEL SESSION – ENRICHING DISCUSSIONS
Moderated by UCLG ASPAC’s Secretary General, BernadiaIrawatiTjandradewi, 4 speakersexplored how their respective areas successfully made culture as key contributor in developing their city.JaninaCarine Medina Farinas, Councilor of Vigan City, in her presentation explained how she successfully established networks with artists in developing Vigan. When asked how she faced problems regarding limited fund, she highlighted on the importance of researching about the cultural assets present in the city. That way, we know what to offer. She also highlighted on the importance of knowing the strengths of surrounding areas and working together with them. By doing so, we canhave sufficient information on what todo and arrange suitable plan to develop the city.
The session continued with discussion on Urban Planning and Heritage Preservation. The 4 panelists presented on how they run campaigns and festivals in order to preserve the city’s heritage. Dwayne Paulo Samarista, Project Development Officer of Makati City, shared how Makati, which is a highly modern and urbanized city, continues to celebrate its heritage with various festivals held throughout the year.
Discussion on Culture, People, and the Environment was also part of this sharing session. Nilphamari Municipality’s Mayor Dewan Kamal Ahmed and Trenggalek‘s Vice Regent Mochamad Nur Arifin, highlighted their local authorities’ efforts to ensure inclusive development and the empowerment of people.Jeyon Kim, International Relations Coordinator of Jeju Special Self-Governing Province also shared about reframing the thinking on culture and going beyond appreciating it for its value as entertainment.
At the end of the event, mayors and leaders, representatives of cities and/or regencies who attended, took home with them lessons learned and action plans to be implemented in their respected areas. From gaining new understanding of culture, inspirations on how to network with relevant actors in promoting culture, and how to develop culture with limited available fund.
2017 Activities of the Culture Committee
A meeting of the Culture Committee was held after the two-days event, which offered a recap and summary of the Forum on Culture in Local Planning and also provided further information about the Culture Committee, specifically its aims, activities, and how members can be involved.
For 2017, some activities are already lined up, including 1) participation in the 2nd UCLG Culture Summit to be held in Jeju (date to be confirmed), 2) trainings on the theme of culture (i.e. Cultural Tourism Development) at the Jeju International Training Center, 3) 2nd Forum on Culture to be held in Vadodara City, India, and 4) projects with individual cities/local governments.