UCLG ASPAC Welcomes New Leadership and Invigorates Cities to Advance Economic Development in the Asia-Pacific Region

November 13-15, 2023 | UCLG ASPAC successfully organised the 9th UCLG ASPAC Congress taking the theme “Advancing Balanced Economic Development for Asia and the Pacific,” hosted by the Yiwu Municipal People’s Government and the Chinese People’s Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries (CPAFFC). UCLG ASPAC took the 9th Congress to the next level, emboldening cities and local governments to rise to their highest potentialities, particularly to attain the Sustainable Development Goals.

The 9th UCLG ASPAC Congress explored opportunities for cities and local governments in industrial upgrading, trade promotion, youth entrepreneurship, child-friendliness, and rural revitalisation. The Congress also accelerated its endeavours for development and sustainability through a Trade Matchmaking session. UCLG ASPAC Committees convened to present results of activities and workplan: Circular Economy Committee, Culture Committee, HDP Nexus Committee, South and Southwest Committee, Southeast Asia Committee, Standing Committee of Women in Local Governments, and Tourism Committee.  

Notable messages were shared throughout the Congress. At the opening ceremony, Mr. Wang Jian, Party Secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Yiwu Municipal Committee, indicated Yiwu’s willingness to strengthen ties in trading and investment that will contribute to the development and prosperity of the Asia-Pacific region. Mr. Ashok Kumar Byanju Shrestha, Immediate Past President of UCLG ASPAC and Mayor of Dhulikhel Municipality, emphasised the need to foster cooperation and leverage the opportunities of digital economy. Mr. Shi Zhongjun, Secretary General of ASEAN-China Centre, considered the following important: building open and inclusive system of cooperation, securing high-standard regional economic integration, exploring new domains of practical cooperation, and enhancing amity and trust among people. Ms. Tri Rismaharini, Minister of the Ministry of Social Affairs of Indonesia, President of UCLG ASPAC (2018-2021), highlighted the need for UCLG ASPAC members to work together for the common good and to encourage the growth of small and medium enterprises. Mr. Yan Dong, Vice President of CPAFFC, expressed their commitment to coordinated development that is open and inclusive, equal and mutually beneficial, and innovative and green. Mr. Ban Ki-Moon, 8th Secretary General of the United Nations and Chairman of the Boao Forum, recognised that unity and cooperation remain critical to address the numerous challenges to humanity.

At the main forum’s keynote speech, Dr. Bernadia Irawati Tjandradewi, Secretary General of UCLG ASPAC, recommended the need to focus on inclusive growth, sustainable development, innovation and technology, and collaboration, for cities and local governments to advance balanced economic development. Mr. Lee Hee-sup, Secretary General of Trilateral Cooperation Secretariat, underscored the significance of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) as the first trade agreement that united China, Japan, and the Republic of Korea which can bring numerous benefits to the member countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). Mr. Cai Jin, Vice Chairman of China Federation of Logistics & Purchasing, Asia-Pacific Regional Chair of the International Federation of Purchasing and Supply Management, mentioned the need to improve the service level to promote the logistics industry.

At the main forum’s roundtable dialogue, Mr. Dakila Carlo Cua, Governor of Quirino Province (becoming the newly elected President of UCLG ASPAC), shared how the economic cooperation between the provincial government and the Korea International Cooperation Agency helped reduce poverty incidence and restored major watersheds in five villages. Mr. Luo Zupan, Vice Mayor of Yiwu, discussed the city’s open and inclusive investment and trade policies. Mr. Sam Broughton, Co-President of UCLG ASPAC and Mayor of Selwyn District, stated how the Pacific Territorial Authority initiative of LGNZ was conceptualised to improve the people’s quality of life in the Pacific Islands.  Mr. An Enfa, Member of Standing Committee of CPC Kunming Municipal Committee and Vice Mayor of Kunming Municipal People’s Government, affirmed the commitment to eco-friendly policy and high-quality development. Mr. Nakano Yusuke, Mayor of Hamamatsu City, remarked that to create a vibrant city, it is essential to focus on the development of jobs and the people. Datuk Abd. Hamid Bin Hussain, President of Sepang Municipal Council, disclosed how public-private partnerships can support the implementation of the sustainable development goals.

Prior to the Closing Ceremony, the Logistics Committee under the framework of UCLG ASPAC was set up. The Committee led by Yiwu aims to promote logistics interconnectivity among member cities in the Asia-Pacific region, help them build logistics networks, and advance common economic development in the Asia-Pacific region.

At the closing ceremony, Secretary General of UCLG ASPAC, underlined the role of local and regional governments and the necessity of collaboration for a sustainable and prosperous future. Mr. Dakila Carlo Cua, a newly elected President of UCLG ASPAC and Governor of Quirino Province and President of Union of Local Authorities of the Philippines (ULAP), reiterated that “The future is local” and identified that people, environment, governance, and peace are pillars to shape the future.

The 9th UCLG ASPAC Congress also had several competitions. Winners of the Asia-Pacific Sanitation Award were announced, namely: Warangal Municipality, Waling Municipality, Sakhipur Municipality, and Tangerang Regency. The second Photo Contest and first Essay Competition were also held during the Congress.

Statutory Affairs

One of the highlights of the Congress was the election of its Presidency, the Executive Bureau and Council representatives for 2023–2025. The following decisions were also made by the UCLG ASPAC Executive Bureau and Council members:

Mr. Dakila Carlo Cua
President of the Union of Local Authorities of the Philippines (ULAP)
Governor of Quirino Province

Co-President (Pacific sub-region)
Mr. Sam Broughton
President of Local Government New Zealand (LGNZ)
Mayor of Selwyn District

Co-President (East and Northeast Asia sub-region)
Mr. He Xiong
Mayor of Zhengzhou Municipal People’s Government

Co-President (South and Southwest Asia sub-region)
Mr. Bhim Prasad Dhungana
President of Municipal Association of Nepal (MuAN)
Mayor of Neelakantha Municipality

Co-President (Women in Local Government)
Madame Zhang Yajie
Vice Chairwoman of Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPC) Guangzhou Committee

Co-President (Associate and International Organisations members)
Dr. Ranjit S. Chavan
President of All India Institute of Local Self Government (AIILSG)

Co-President (Immediate Past President)
Mr. Ashok Kumar Byanju Shrestha
Mayor of Dhulikhel Municipality

Co-President (Host)
Mr. Heru Budi Hartono
Acting Governor of Jakarta Capital City Government

Co-President (Founding)
Mr. Chen Haousu
Chairperson of Chinese People’s Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries 2000-2011

Other decisions made included:

  1. Approval of new members
    • Waling Municipality (Nepal)
    • Tangerang Regency (Indonesia)
    • Kageshwori Manohara Municipality (Nepal)
    • Municipal Corporation of Turbat (Pakistan)
    • Bangladesh Municipal Development Fund (Bangladesh)
    • Khaniyabas Rural Municipality (Nepal)
  2. Establishment of UCLG ASPAC Logistic Committee
    ➤ The committee is led by Yiwu Municipal People’s Government
  3. Approval of North Minahasa Regency as the Host of the First session of the 2024 UCLG ASPAC Executive Bureau Meeting
  4. Approval of Zhengzhou Municipal People’s Government as the Host of the Second Session of 2024 UCLG ASPAC Executive Bureau and 2024 UCLG ASPAC Council Meetings    
  5. Approval of Goyang City as the Host of the 2025 Congress of UCLG ASPAC

UCLG ASPAC thanks all members and partners for actively participating in the 9th UCLG ASPAC Congress. We are looking forward to cooperating more with you to better impact cities and local governments in the Asia and Pacific region.