The United Nations Human Settlements Programme, UN-Habitat, is the agency for human settlements and sustainable urbanisation. It is mandated by the United Nations General Assembly to promote socially and environmentally sustainable towns and cities with the goal of providing adequate shelter for all. Leading efforts to advance UN system-wide coherence for sustainable urbanisation, UN-Habitat is playing a key role implementing the Goal 11 of the Sustainable Development Goals adopted in September 2015 as well as the New Urban Agenda (NUA) adopted in Quito, Ecuador in October 2016.
Founded in 1967, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, ASEAN, was established with the signing of the ASEAN Declaration, aiming to promote collaboration and cooperation among Member States, as well as, to advance the interests of the region as-a-whole. Today, there are currently 10 Member States: Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Brunei, Laos, Myanmar, Cambodia and Vietnam, forging ahead together towards the achievement of ASEAN Community Vision 2025.
Since 2008, UN-Habitat and the ASEAN Secretariat have engaged in a variety of UN and ASEAN Secretariat engagements. Most notably, UN-Habitat has been developing a new generation of sub-regional programmes which target all or selected ASEAN countries, especially in the area of cities and climate change. Meanwhile, the Bangkok Office of UN-Habitat is increasingly engaged in knowledge programmes with fellow UN agencies, on issues of migration, health, resilience and urban data in support of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and implementation of the New Urban Agenda.
About the project
Half of the 600 million people in the ASEAN region already live in urban areas and by 2025 a further 70 million people in ASEAN will be city dwellers. Seeking to address this “mega-trend” of urbanization, the ASEAN Sustainable Urbanisation Strategy (ASUS) was launched at the 22nd ASEAN Coordinating Council (ACC) Meeting in November 2018, as one of the initiatives under the ‘Sustainable Infrastructure’ strategic area of the Master Plan on ASEAN Connectivity (MPAC) 2025.
Nearly one year after its launch, the ASUS and its two accompanying toolkits remains key to raising the standards of living of the citizens of ASEAN, enhancing shared prosperity of cities and regions, as well as strengthening climate action and resilience. In this regard, the period between 2020-2021 will be crucial to accelerating the implementation of the ASUS, with a special emphasis on small to medium-sized cities and intermediate cities, which are witnessing most of the growth in the ASEAN region over recent years and which will continue to exhibit significant upward population and economic trends.
As such, the accelerated implementation of ASUS will provide ASEAN cities with the opportunity to prioritize actions to achieve sustainable urbanisation, while implementing practical activities customised to their unique city contexts, designed to raise the standards of living of those within ASEAN which lie at the core of the New Urban Agenda and ASEAN Community Vision 2025.
Towards this end, the ASUS has been disseminated to city networks in ASEAN, with many cities in each of these networks sharing common priorities and concerns. While some technical support is provided through the various city networks in ASEAN, further resources are needed to help cities develop credible action plans and/or financially viable project proposals. As part of this project, an implementation plan integrating several initiatives and intended to accelerate sustainable urbanization during the period of January 2020-June 2021 (Phase 1) could support the achievement of the expected ASUS outcomes by 2025, with a second phase of intensified action at the local level between 2022 to 2025.
In summary, these initiatives and proposed key outputs in Phase 1 includes: