The First Session of the 2023 UCLG ASPAC Executive Bureau “Inter-Municipal Cooperation for Resilient and Sustainable Cities”

April 11-13, 2023 | Kathmandu – UCLG ASPAC successfully held its first session of the 2023 Executive Bureau Meeting taking the theme “Inter-Municipal Cooperation for Resilient and Sustainable Cities.” Supported by the Government of Nepal, Municipal Association of Nepal (MuAN), Kathmandu Metropolitan City, Lalitpur Metropolitan City, and Dhulikhel Municipality, the event reached out to more than 200 mayors and officials of cities and local governments, associations, relevant ministries, organisations, and academicians from nearly 100 cities within Asia-Pacific region and other regions. As the first full on-site event following the pandemic, UCLG ASPAC rejuvenated the spirit of collaboration, a foundation to support the city’s efforts for development; thus, spotlighting the importance of city cooperation to be resilient and sustainable.

#1 Day (April 11, 2023): Orientation Workshop on Gender Responsive and Participatory Budgeting (GRPB) and Regional Assembly on City-Wide Inclusive Sanitation (CWIS)

Both events were organised parallelly and managed to attract more than 150 participants. The Orientation Workshop on Gender Responsive and Participatory Budgeting once again encouraged cities, local governments, and local government associations to support gender mainstreaming and inclusive public services delivery at the local level. At the end of the session, two groups of participants worked on actions needed in the region, aspects missing for adopting GRPB, and gender inclusion initiatives in local governments in the region.

In the framework of the MuNASS Technical Session, the Regional Assembly on City-Wide Inclusive Sanitation (CWIS) managed to generate commitment through sharing experiences from city leaders regarding an essential update to address City Wide Inclusive Sanitation (CWIS) principles in city sanitation planning to Asia-Pacific cities and local governments. The commitment from city leaders for regional CWIS implementation was read at the session of the Adoption of Kathmandu Recommendations 2023 that took place the next day.

#2 Day (April 12, 2023):UCLG ASPAC Committee Meetings, MuNASS’ Site Visit to Lalitpur, Opening Ceremony of the First Session of the 2023 UCLG ASPAC Executive Bureau, Plenary Sessions on Inter-Municipal Cooperation for Resilient and Sustainable Cities, Announcement of Awards on Sanitation, and Adoption of Kathmandu Recommendations 2023

Approximately 100 UCLG ASPAC members attended and actively participated in the Committee meetings arranged by the Standing Committee of South and South West, Standing Committee on Women in Local Government, Committee on Circular Economy, 21st Century Maritime Cooperation Committee, Committee on Tourism, Financial Management Committee. In parallel, 25 city leaders from Bangladesh and Nepal learned more about social inclusiveness in sanitation and public toilets management through a site visit to Lalitpur Metropolitan City.

Deputy Prime Minister and Home Minister of Nepal Mr. Narayan Kaji Shrestha, in his keynote address on the opening of the Executive Bureau Meeting, urged the UCLG ASPAC members and delegates to take the responsibility through strengthening regional collaboration among cities, share knowledge and skills and work tirelessly in advancing inter-municipal cooperation and building sustainable and resilient cities.

There was also a Plenary Session on Inter-Municipal Cooperation for Resilient and Sustainable Cities that was elaborated into three sessions. The first session, focusing on Localising the SDGs, presented the experiences and good practices of three ASPAC cities in the development of Voluntary Local Review (VLR) and establishment of a mutual learning platform for Localising the SDGs, they are Dhulikhel Municipality, Guangzhou Municipal People’s Government, and New Taipei City Government. The second session discussed the City Enabling Environment (CEE) for Resilient and Sustainable Cities in response to the presentation on City Enabling Environment Ratings in Africa. The third session was on City-Wide Inclusive Sanitation for Sustainable Development.

Mayor Ashok Kumar Byanju Shrestha, Dr. Bernadia Irawati Tjandradewi, and Dr. Roshan Raj Shrestha also awarded two cities, Ratnanagar Municipality of Nepal and Kushtia Municipality of Bangladesh, as the winner of the first ever UCLG ASPAC-MuNASS Awards on Sanitation Excellence. The second day also saw the adoption of Kathmandu Recommendations 2023.

#3 Day (April 13, 2023): UCLG ASPAC Executive Bureau Meeting, City Enabling Environment (CEE) Rating Session, and Site Visit to Dhulikhel

The Executive Bureau Meeting was chaired by President Ashok Kumar Byanju Shrestha and attended by more than 50 persons (the ExBu members and observers).

The meeting acknowledged and approved among others:

  • The 9th UCLG ASPAC Congress in Yiwu to be held on November 13-15, 2023 with the selected theme on Restructuring of the Asia Pacific Value Chain;
  • Acknowledgement on the initiative of establishment of UCLG ASPAC Logistics Committee (to be led by Yiwu Municipal People’s Government);
  • Revisiting the Initiative of Establishment of UCLG ASPAC Youth Committee (proposed by Jeonju City);
  • The LCP National President, Mayor Michael L. Rama, as the Co-President of the Southeast Asia Sub-Region, and Mr. Nelson Collantes as the Chair of the Southeast Asia Committee;

New members of UCLG ASPAC: Lalmonirhat Municipality (Bangladesh• China: Qingdao Municipal People’s Government; • India: Dharamshala Municipal Corporation; • Indonesia: Pariaman City; • Nepal: Biratnagar Metropolitan City, Dhangadhi Sub-Metropolitan City, Bheemdatt Municipality, Birendranagar Municipality; • Pakistan: Mardan Municipal Council; • South Korea: Gyeongju City.

City Enabling Environment (CEE) Rating Session

The CEE Rating session discussed and elaborated on the Country Assessment Process (CCE Rating General and CEE Rating specific on Indicator 11), the Role and responsibility of LGAs in the CEE Rating Assessment, and provided understanding related to the renewal of evidence-based data validation process which the CEE Experts facilitated. The session also facilitated opinions and input from the city and LGAs regarding the data collection process to their views on the CEE Rating. The session concluded with the group presentation of the country assessment process in each region.

Site Visit to City Hall of Dhulikhel and Dhulikhel Hospital

Generously hosted by the Dhulikhel Municipality, the ExBu members and foreign delegates joined the site visit to the city hall of Dhulikhel and Dhulikhel Community Hospital. At the city hall, all delegates were enlightened in the achievement of Dhulikhel which highlighted among others the high rate of city literacy (71%-98%), fully immunised city, child-friendly city, healthy city, full COVID-19 vaccine, clean and green city, free education in higher studies.

The team members of Dhulikhel Hospital shared the community programmes carried out by the Hospital to address the health issues in different rural areas in Nepal through a holistic approach, quality service delivery, rational community-based methods, innovative public health interventions, and effective partnership programmes. The programmes of community development are included as follows: Improved Cooking Stove; Post-earthquake Reconstruction; Microfinance; Survival to Revival (SURE) Project; Weaving Loom Project; Fishery Project. The participants were greeted by the founder of the Dhulikhel Community Hospital, Prof. Dr. Ram KM Shrestha, who delivered his inspirational remarks.