8th UCLG ASPAC Congress and International Conference

8th UCLG ASPAC Congress and International Conference

From Steady Recovery to Sustained Prosperity in Post COVID-19 Asia Pacific

Year 2020 started with a significant challenge for Asia and the Pacific region. The outbreak of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) has put a strong test to the region’s resilience. The COVID-19 has spread to at least 177 countries and affected more than 27 million people, including 894,983 fatalities, reported to WHO. The number of cases is predicted to increase in a matter of months.

In addition to being a health crisis, the COVID-19 pandemic has affected societies and economies at their core. A great number of people have lost their jobs and livelihoods in the Asia and the Pacific region. Migrants and displaced people are forced to return home and it has triggered to a massive humanitarian crisis. The World Bank predicts millions of people in the East Asia and South Asia region to suffer from poverty in 2020. Gender inequality intensified during the pandemic and reduced women’s economic opportunities. Moreover, the June 2020 Global Economic Prospects indicates that global growth could shrink by almost 8% in 2020. Many countries are expected to face recessions.

As the pandemic impacts are deeply local, it requires local governments to re-examine policies and invest on public health services, economic stimulus, and social security to recover faster from the pandemic. Some local authorities were forced to implement domestic lockdowns and its results differ in preventing the spread of virus. The threats of a second wave of COVID-19 infection and the possibility of even worse outcomes in multiple sectors have become emerging issues for local governments. Therefore, new approaches to drive a sustained recovery from social, economic, and health crisis are necessary.

The abovementioned outlook does not guarantee the sustainability of the Asia-Pacific development. Climate change impacts, exacerbated by environmental degradation, has become more severe and frequent. Despite our efforts to contain this crisis, global temperature is in fact set to increase by at least 3°C towards the end of the century – twice as much the limit warned by climate experts. The Asia-Pacific region alone accounted for 48.8 per cent of the global total greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, followed by Europe and the US with combined emissions of 19 per cent.

The implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in Asia and the Pacific has neither been satisfactory. At the current rate of progress, the region will unlikely meet any of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), according to the latest SDGs Progress Report issued by the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP). The assessment further found that for more than half the SDGs, the progress in the region is either stagnant or heading in the wrong direction. These include ending hunger (Goal 2), reducing inequalities (Goal 10), building sustainable cities and communities (Goal 11), and combating climate change (Goal 13).

8th UCLG ASPAC Congress and International Conference on “From Steady Recovery to Sustained Prosperity in Post COVID Asia Pacific”

The United Cities and Local Governments Asia Pacific (UCLG ASPAC) is the largest regional section of UCLG World. Its members -representing local political leadership from cities and local governments across Asia-Pacific- have set a high priority on achieving SDGs by 2030 and have been working with partners around the world to accelerate the SDGs localisation. UCLG ASPAC Secretariat and its members have also been active in strengthening cooperation and building resilience to prevent and control the COVID-19 pandemic in the Asia-Pacific region. The 8th UCLG ASPAC Congress will convene in conjunction with an International Conference titled “From Steady Recovery to Sustained Prosperity in Post COVID Asia Pacific.” The event will be hosted by Zhengzhou Municipal People’s Government, and conducted in collaboration with UCLG ASPAC Secretariat, with support from partners, from 24 to 28 April 2021.

Objectives

  1. To drive sustained prosperity in Post COVID Asia Pacific and promote sustainable development through city- and local government- led actions
  2. To convene UCLG ASPAC Congress to elect President, Co-Presidents, Executive Bureau and Council Members of the Organisation.

The 8th UCLG ASPAC Congress and International Conference on “From Steady Recovery to Sustained Prosperity in Post COVID Asia Pacific” will serve as a platform to discuss comprehensive policies and best practices on driving long-term prosperity in post COVID-19 including through city-to-city international cooperation, while ensuring sustainable development and addressing urbanisation impacts. At the same occasion, UCLG ASPAC will convene its Congress, held every two years, to elect the new President and Co-Presidents.

The 5-day event includes cultural programme and study visits to learn from Zhengzhou’s experiences and achievements in different development aspects. Participating cities, local governments and international organisations can also take part in the event’s exhibition where networks, cooperation and business opportunities can be fostered.