Skip links

GCoM Southeast Asia Regional Workshop: Launch of City-Level Climate Action Plans

Bangkok, 30-31 March 2023 | The Climate Action Plans (CAPs) of 8 pilot cities from Indonesia (Medan, North Minahasa, Pontianak, and Tangerang) and Malaysia (Iskandar Puteri, Petaling Jaya, Putrajaya, and Segamat) were launched successfully at the recently held GCoM Southeast Asia Regional Workshop on March 30 and 31 in Bangkok, Thailand. The two-day workshop convened 101 participants ranging from GCoM pilot cities in the region, EU delegations, UCLG ASPAC as the GCoM Southeast Asia Secretariat, GCoM Global Secretariat, development and technical partners, to GCoM signatories in Asia and Europe. The organisation of the workshop was part of UCLG ASPAC’s role as the Secretariat of the GCoM SEA.

The CAPs are the culmination of in-depth collaboration and extensive public consultations between the pilot cities, technical partners, and other relevant stakeholders over the last year. The Vietnamese pilot cities (Cao Lanh, Hue, Nam Dinh, and Sapa) are finalising their CAPs and will launch their CAPs after the workshop. While starting the CAP development later than the other pilot cities in the region, Thai pilot cities (Hua Hin, Mae Hia, Nonthaburi, and Suphanburi) will launch their CAPs this year.

The event facilitated cities and partners to share their knowledge and experiences in 5 distinct panel discussions: reporting methodology, low-carbon development, circular economy, adaptation measures, and nature-based solutions. There were also some interactive sessions during the working group on circular economy and poster presentations by pilot cities. During the site visit, workshop participants went to Chulalongkorn University Centenary Park which showcases the practices of climate adaptation. The park, which was formally inaugurated in 2017, currently serves as a public space, a green space, and water retention.


Opening Session

In his opening remarks, Mr. Kiatchai Maitriwong (Executive Director of Thailand Greenhouse Gas Management Organisation or TGO) discussed how the GCoM Asia Project’s rollout in four Thai pilot cities encourages local climate action planning to meet achieve Thailand’s Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs). The assertion is supported by the fact that the EU gives planning and implementation equal emphasis, as stated by H.E. Mr. David Daly (EU Ambassador to Thailand). The Ambassador also highlighted a number of support channels that the EU and its partners have set up for the GCoM signatories to access alternative financing for their climate actions.

Dr. Bernadia Irawati Tjandradewi (Secretary-General of UCLG ASPAC/GCoM Southeast Asia Secretariat) spoke on behalf of the GCoM Southeast Asia Secretariat. She emphasised the importance role of cities and local governments in meeting the climate targets. She also advocated for the twin campaigns, Cities Race to Zero and Cities Race to Resilience, and urged cities and partners to go beyond current efforts to accelerate local climate actions. She invited all stakeholders to create collaboration opportunities aligned with global and regional activities. Ms. Mar-len Abigail Sombillo Binay-Campos (Mayor of Makati and GCoM Board Member for Southeast Asia) underpinned the important work GCoM has done in Southeast Asia. “This workshop will hopefully become a beacon for cities and stakeholders to re-kindle their climate efforts,” said Mayor Abigail as she ended her video message.

Being the newest signatory of the GCoM, Bangkok is inspired to take its climate initiatives further and to align its current climate documents with the CAP development process. “We are honoured to be the host of GCoM Southeast Asia Regional Workshop as we can learn from and share with other cities in the region,” said Adviser to the Governor of Bangkok (Environmental Affairs) Mr. Pornphrom Vikitsreth.


Pilot City Achievements

In Southeast Asia, EU-funded GCoM Asia Project covers 4 countries: Indonesia, Malaysia, Vietnam, and Thailand. Representatives from each nation discussed the overall progress of pilot cities during the event. The Coordinator of GCoM Southeast Asia Secretariat/UCLG ASPAC Mr. Rendy Primrizqi shared the successes of Indonesian pilot cities, followed by Prof. TPr. Dr. Ho Chin Siong (Director of UTM – Low Carbon Asia Research Centre) for Malaysia, Ms. Thao Nguyen (GCoM Country Coordinator for Vietnam) for Vietnam, and finishing with Ms. Tharee Kamuang (Adaptation Expert) for Thailand. The presentations from 4 countries were responded to by the representative from the European Commission, Ms. Maria Rosa Sabbatelli (Deputy Head of Unit for Industrialised Countries & Foreign Policy Support at the Service for Foreign Policy Instruments (FPI) of the European Commission).


Panel 1 – Peer Review on Reporting Methodology

The first panel brought together five experts to discuss various reporting platforms: MyCovenant in Europe, SIGN SMART and SIDIK in Indonesia, CDP-ICLEI Track for cities across Asia and Pacific, Thailand National GHG Inventory in Thailand, and Climate Smart Cities Assessment Framework in India. Acting as the moderator, Mr. Michel Mouchiroud (Deputy Head of FPI Regional Team Asia & Pacific) facilitated a fruitful discussion between Mr. Paolo Bertoldi (Senior Expert of European Commission’s Joint Research Centre or JRC), Prof. Dr. Rizaldi Boer (Senior Researcher of Centre for Climate Risk and Opportunity Management in Southeast Asia and Pacific or CCROM-SEAP IPB University), Ms. Hanah Paik (Asia Pacific Lead, Cities, States, and Regions of CDP), Ms. Mewadee Seresathiansub (Manager, Low Carbon City and Society Office Thailand Greenhouse Gas Management Organization or TGO), and Mr. Punit Gandhi (Lead of Climate Centre for Cities at the National Institute for Urban Affairs or NIUA).


Panel 2 – Low-Carbon Development towards Climate-Neutral City

Underscoring the importance of climate mitigation, the second panel welcomed four cities (Putrajaya, Sapa, Bangkok, and Vienna) to present their best practices for low-carbon development. YBhg. Dato’ TPr. Fadlun bin Mak Ujud (President of Putrajaya Corporation, Malaysia), who was unable to attend in person, gave his presentation through a video message and discussed Putrajaya’s initiatives on stationary energy and mobility. Mr. Do Van Tan (Vice Chairman of Sapa Town People Committee, Vietnam) shared Sapa’s plan to upgrade its electric tram system as well as the difficulties they have encountered and the lessons they have learnt. Bangkok Master Plan on Climate Change 2021-2030, which includes 5 mitigation sectors, was explained by Ms. Sermsook Noppun (Head of Climate Change Strategy Sector, Environment Department, Bangkok Metropolitan Administration or BMA, Thailand). Lastly, Dr. Thomas Hruschka (Head Division Sustainable Development Sustainability Coordinator, City of Vienna, Austria) presented the ambitious target of the city to reach CO2 neutrality by 2040.


Panel 3 – Circular Economy

A panel discussion and working group session on the circular economy, led by Ms. Jacqueline Chang (GCoM Country Coordinator for Malaysia), concluded the first day of the workshop. She invited three speakers to share some exemplary practices of circular economy in different countries. Mr. Lee Lih Shyan (Director for National Solid Waste Management and Public Cleansing, Petaling Jaya City Council) highlighted the public-private partnership towards promoting the 3Rs (reduce, reuse, recycle) in solid waste management. Ms. Morgane Rivoal (Climate Change and Circular Economy Officer/Climate Change & Environment Unit, UNDP Vietnam) explained three interventions UNDP has been carrying out in Vietnam through Circular Economy (CE) Hub at the national level, CE Roadmap for Da Nang City, and Metabolic Study for Hue Province. Mr. Kai Hofmann (Director for Sustainable, Consumption, and Production Project GIZ Thailand) shared the single-use plastic use prevention in a tourist destination Phuket, Thailand and energy-efficient street lighting in 5 cities in Malaysia. Following the presentations from each speaker, the facilitator divided participants into four working groups to help them better understand circular economy tools.


Panel 4 – Adaptation Measures

The session continued with a focus on climate adaptation on the second day after the first day on climate mitigation. Mr. Paolo Bertoldi, Senior Expert at the Joint Research Centre of the European Commission, moderated Panel 4 on adaption strategies and welcomed three cities and two development partners to the podium. Ms. Elsa Risfadona (Head of Development Administration Division, Regional Secretariat of Pontianak City, Indonesia) presented some of the steps the city has taken to increase public involvement in climate resilience, such as the development of the Kapuas Riverside and the implementation Climate-Resilience Village Program (ProKlim). Three key adaptation objectives were outlined by TPr. Azman Ali (Director of Town Planning & Landscape Department, Segamat Municipal Council, Malaysia): better protection against flooding, prevention of dengue cases, and reduction of utilities’ downtime caused by tropical storms. Mr. Tran Song (Vice Chairman of the City People Committee Hue City, Vietnam) shared the city’s flood control before, during, and after the risks. 

In order to effectively execute a well-designed CAP, Ms. Maria Adelaida Antonette M. Cea (Technical Advisor, Cities & Climate Change Initiative Asia and the Pacific, UN-Habitat) emphasised the importance of forming partnerships and making use of available resources. Dr. Haris Piplas (Architect and Urbanist, Senior Consultant, Integrated Urban Solutions, Drees&Sommer), the final presentation, discussed some of the climate adaptation strategies that have been put into practice around the world.


Panel 5 – Nature-Based Solution

The final panel on a nature-based solution (NBS) was introduced by Mr. Piero Remitti (Co-Director of GCoM Global Secretariat) by outlining the history and advantages of NBS in order to get the conversation going. The first speaker, Mr. Safwan Shaari (Town and Country Planning Officer, Iskandar Puteri City Council, Malaysia), discussed how NBS are integrated into Iskandar Puteri for climate mitigation and adaptation, for instance through Sireh Park, the Skudai River rejuvenation plan, and the Iskandar Puteri Agriculturist Community. The Vice Chairman of the Cao Lanh City People Committee of Vietnam, Mr. Nguyen Phuoc Cuong, then discussed how the VietGAP standard is used to grow mangoes in Cao Lanh.

Dr. Thomas Hruschka (Head Division Sustainable Development Sustainability Coordinator, City of Vienna, Austria) gave three NBS examples from the perspective of the City of Vienna: green facades, rainwater management, and Vienna Climate Team. In order to combat climate change in urban areas, Ms. Maria Adelaida Antonette M. Cea (Technical Adviser, Cities & Climate Change Initiative Asia and the Pacific, UN-Habitat) offered some useful information and guidelines. Dr. Haris Piplas (Architect and Urbanist, Senior Consultant, Integrated Urban Solutions, Drees&Sommer) concluded the presentation by saying that NBS may be achieved by integrating technology into urbanism.

Written by: Rona Ikram Putri

Return to top of page