In the framework of 8th UCLG ASPAC Congress (7-9 September 2021), the Global Covenant of Mayors Southeast Asia (GCoM SEA) Secretariat, GCoM Global Regional Coherence for Asia Pacific (GRC), and UCLG ASPAC jointly organised a virtual side event on “Climate Financing and Budgeting” at the first day of the UCLG ASPAC Congress, 7 September 2021.
By inviting speakers from a financial institution and local governments, the event was aimed to foster a change of knowledge, best practices, and strategies on financing climate programmes among public officials and key development sectors. There were 135 registered participants from 67 various institutions across Asia-Pacific, such as national government, local governments, associations, academia, and international organisations.
The opening remarks were delivered by the Board Member of GCoM for Southeast Asia Mayor Mar-len Abigail Sombillo Binay (Mayor of Makati City, Philippines). She highlighted that the COVID-19 pandemic and climate change are global issues. Local governments need to explore meaningful partnerships through multistakeholder collaboration to overcome growing and evolving challenges, to ultimately build a sustainable and liveable community.
“Taking parts in initiatives facilitated by organisations such as ULCG ASPAC, provides us the opportunity to explore a meaningful partnership with private sectors and non-government entities,” said Mayor Binay.
Following the opening remarks, the UCLG ASPAC Secretary-General Dr. Bernadia Irawati Tjandradewi moderated the presentation and discussion sessions.
Ms. Thalyta E. Yuwono (Senior Urban Specialist, The World Bank) representing The World Bank Gap Fund Team highlighted that cities in low- and middle-income countries struggle often to meet climate targets. Therefore, the World Bank, through City Climate Finance Gap Fund or simply the “Gap Fund”, supports cities with early-stage technical assistance in developing climate-related projects. In her presentation, she explained in detail what Gap Fund offers, the eligibility criteria to apply for Gap Fund, and sectors for Gap Fund.
Mayor Suriya Yeekhun (Mayor of Prix Municipality and Chairperson of Foreign Affairs, National Municipal League of Thailand) mentioned that Prix Municipality’s climate action refers to Thailand’s National Adaptation Plan. Prix Municipality has also allocated a budget to endorse several activities related to climates, such as Waste Management System, Sufficient Farming, Alternative Energy, Ecological Restoration, Disaster Management, and Resilience City.
Mr. Wilfredo B. Prilles, Jr. (City Planning and Development Coordinator, Naga City, Philippines) representing the Mayor of Naga City began his presentation by mentioning that in the Philippines, there is a law that requires local governments to prepare Local Climate Change Action Plans (LCCAP). For its LCCAP 2021-2025, Naga has proposed funding to the People’s Survival Fund (PSF) but no avail. Therefore, Naga City has tried to optimise the local budget instead of depending on the national/international fund.
Ms. Sri Maryati (Head of International Cooperation Sub-division, Palembang City, Indonesia) representing the Mayor of Palembang City explained four types of Palembang’s climate actions: waste management using an incinerator, climate change management, Greenhouse Gas Emissions (GGE) mitigation, and disaster-resilient education. While some of the climate actions are funded by external parties (provincial government, central government, and foreign governments), the rest are funded by the City of Palembang, for example, Jakabaring Solar Power Plant, Light Rail Transit, City Sewerage, Adiwiyata School (environment-based school), and Kampung Iklim.
Having presented the materials by all speakers, the event proceeded to a discussion session, responding to questions from the participants. The questions varied from the Gap Fund, civil society engagement in Prix Municipality and Naga City, as well as sewerage project in Palembang. After questions had been addressed, the moderator gave the floor to Ms. Alexandra Lehmann (Attaché, Foreign Policy Instruments European Union Delegation to the People’s Republic of China) to deliver closing remarks.
Ms. Lehmann highlighted that while being at the epicentre of climate actions, cities are the most vulnerable ones to the impacts of climate change. In response to this, the European Commission has published a set of climate and energy policy proposals to include steps to reduce GHG emissions by 55% by the year 2030 and to make the EU climate-neutral by 2050.
“No matter how great the policy one player sets in motion, what lies on the centre of the way to success is a global collaboration,” Lehmann said.
She also mentioned the EU’s important project in Asia: Global Covenant of Mayors Asia, which aims to accompany the cities in executing their climate actions, including Climate Action Plan (CAP) preparation, in Southeast Asia, South Asia, Japan, South Korea, China.