Asian Urban Information Center of Kobe

Research Note

The 2004-5 Baseline Survey on Millennium Development Goals in AUICK Associate Cities

The 2004-5 Baseline Survey on Millennium Development Goals in AUICK Associate Cities

Millennium Development Goals

In 2000 a major United Nations Conference adopted certain goals to raise the quality of life, especially of people who are among the poorest of the world's poor. These goals were set at the beginning of the new millennium and were to be achieved within the next 15 years, by 2015. They came to be called The Millennium Development Goals, or MDGs. Seven of these goals have come to be major guideposts along the road to building a more just and humane world order.

The seven major goals are as follows.

  1. Eradicate Extreme Hunger and Poverty
    Halve the proportion of people living under the national poverty line1
  2. Achieve Universal Primary Education
    Ensure that all children, boys and girls, will be able to complete primary school.
  3. Promote Gender Equality, Empowerment of Women
    Eliminate gender disparity in primary and secondary school, increase the number of seats women hold in electoral offices.
  4. Reduce Child Mortality
    Reduce the under-five mortality rate.
  5. Improve Maternal Health
    Reduce by three-quarters the maternal mortality rate.
    Halt by 2015 and begin to reverse the spread of HIV/AIDS
  7. Ensure Environmental Sustainability
    Introduce sustainable development policies into country policies and reverse the loss of environmental resources. Halve by 2015 the proportion of people without sustainable access to safe drinking water. Achieve improvement in the lives of 100 million slum dwellers.

As part of its work to help promote the United Nations population and welfare policies, AUICK has turned the attention of its Associate Cities to these goals.

1) The language of the MDGs states "Halve the proportion of people living on less than $1 a day. The Vietnam report, included herein, however, makes the very good point that a US$ 1 per day is less meaningful than using each country's own poverty line. Thus we adopt this language here.

AUICK Strategy: Building City-University Partnerships (CUPs)

Since 1989 AUICK has been working with cities throughout Asia, carrying out research projects on urban conditions, training urban administrators in integrated urban planning in Kobe, and disseminating information through newsletters, website and publications. In 2004, AUICK established a new strategy to work with nine select cities, designated AUICK Associate Cities (AACs), on a sustained basis. These cities would be the locus of AUICK urban research projects. They would also send two groups of urban administrators to Kobe each year to participate in training workshops on integrated urban planning. The designated cities are Chennai, India; Chittagong, Bangladesh; Danang, Vietnam; Faisalabad, Pakistan; Khon Kaen, Thailand; Kuantan, Malaysia; Olongapo City, The Philippines; Surabaya, Indonesia; and Weihai, China.

To initiate this new strategy, AUICK decided to carry out a baseline survey in each city on the condition of the MDGs. AUICK has two aims in this strategy. One is to obtain information on the welfare conditions of the cities' citizens on the MDGs so that urban administrators can more effectively assist in meeting the United Nations goals. The second, however, was to promote what AUICK calls City-University Partnerships (CUPs) in each of the Associate Cities. As this report will make clear, cities often do not have sufficient data for their own effective planning. They need more and better data to be able to engage in more meaningful planning for their own improvement.

This urban data shortage is the product of long histories of highly centralized governments and administrations in all Asian countries. It is usually the central government that collects data for its reports and planning. Too often those data are not sent back to local governing or administrative units for their own use. Development and welfare plans and projects are usually the preserve of the central government, which typically tells local units what will be done, how and when. For some years it has been recognized that this over centralized structure does not provide the best mechanism for promoting social and economic development. Throughout Asia, governments are working to decentralize power, authority and responsibility in order to give local units greater capacities to plan for and implement the projects and activities they find most important for improving their lives.

AUICK seeks to assist in this process by helping cities form long lasting partnerships with local universities. This was an idea generated in a 2000 year study published by AUICK, titled Five Cities: Modelling Asian Urban Population Environment Dynamics. That study demonstrated that cities often lacked the data they needed to plan more effectively for their citizens' welfare. This problem could be overcome by building permanent linkages with local universities. Natural and social scientists and engineers from the local university can help the city collect the data it needs to assess its current position on a wide range of conditions and help the city devise plans to address any of these concerns.

This is the strategy adopted for this baseline survey. The city administrators worked together with local university people to obtain what data they could on the MDGs. They then prepared reports together, providing MDG and other information on the city. This is not something that will be done in a short time or with one project. AUICK will continue to encourage its Associate Cities to work with the local universities in all of the studies that AUICK sponsors.

MDGs in Nine AUICK Associate Cities

Reports for eight of the nine Associate Cities are included below. Here we provide a brief overview of those reports, with some comments on the general condition of the MDGs and of the Cities themselves. To reinforce the point made above about the lack of data at the city level, we have no report from Olongapo City in the Philippines, because relevant MDG data are not available at the city level. The central government does collect data and has a rich website on the MDGs, but data are available only down to the province level, not to the level of the local cities.

Despite this general problem, we find that some cities do have extensive data, and with the local university faculty have managed to provide a rich picture of the progress and problems in meeting the MDGs. Many are working effectively with local universities to create ongoing City-University Partnerships, which should provide good assistance to urban administrators in the future.

In summary we can offer 7 observations from the eight city reports provided below.

1. General progress in health and education

All cities report at least some progress in the areas of health, education and reproductive health. In many the progress is very substantial, showing that the MDGs have already been met. This is in accord with AUICK's research findings over the past two decades. AUICK has done a number of surveys asking urban administrators what they considered to be their major problems, and what the areas of major progress were. Consistently Asian urban administrators note that they have been most successful in promoting primary education, primary health care and basic family planning or reproductive health services. Indeed over the past half century as Asian countries have moved from colonial to independent status, one of their major goals has been to increase educational and health services to their populations. In this their success has been a major source of optimism.

2. Poverty Alleviation Spotty

Many cities have no data on poverty, so they cannot say where they are or whether they are getting ahead or falling behind. One city, Danang, can report much progress so that there are no "hunger" families in the city. This probably comes very close to alleviating extreme poverty that is the first of the MDGs. Here is also a finding that the proportion living under US$1 a day remains substantial, but this is not a good measure for local poverty levels. It is far better to use each country's poverty line as the measure for poverty. Kuantan has only about one percent of its population living in slums, but a strong slum alleviation program is underway to increase the quality of life of those people. Similarly, it appears that Weihai has come close to eliminating extreme poverty, though the data are not sufficient to be sure.

At the other extreme, Chittagong appears to have been able to make no progress in reducing below 20 percent the proportion of people living in slums, but it has reduced from 8 to 3.5 percent the proportion of children in extreme hunger. And Faisalabad has reduced the proportion living under minimum dietary levels form 20 to 8 percent in the past two decades. Chennai has little data but an active slum alleviation program.

3. Universal Primary Education

Here there is much good news. Danang, Khon Kaen, Kuantan, Surabaya and Weihai can report universal primary school education for boys and girls. Though we have no data for Olongapo City, we can assume the same since the data for the Philippines have shown universal primary school education for some decades. Chennai reports 84 percent attendance with 75 (girls) to 84 (boys) percent completion rates. Chittagong shows improvement with boys now at 55 percent and girls at 46 percent. And Faisalabad has similar progress with boys now at 93 percent and girls at 51 percent. Completion rates in Faisalabad have not progressed, however, stagnating at about 50 percent for the past two decades.

4. Gender Equality

The most common data on gender equality are found in school attendance rates. As noted above, the six cities show little or no gender disparity in primary education. Chennai, Chittagong and Faisalabad all show declining disparity between boys and girls in school. In some cases, as Danang, girls outnumber boys in tertiary education; in Kuantan they outnumber boys in secondary education. These are, however, small differences that only emphasize the achievement of equality in education.

Nowhere, however, do women share equal political power. Women are a relatively small minority in electoral positions; they make up a larger and growing portion in upper administrative levels, but here, too, they tend to lag behind men.

There is good progress and still room for more improvement.

5. Child Mortality and Reproductive Health

Again, Danang, Khon Kaen, Kuantan, Surabaya and Weihai lead in showing very low levels of child, infant and maternal mortality. Here it is also clear that basic government services have been responsible for the improvement. Where immunization is widely available for infants, child mortality is low. Where professional birthing services and good family planning are available maternal and infant mortality are low. In the poorest of our nine countries, Bangladesh's Chittagong still shows very low levels of professional birthing care, though its extensive family planning program has increased the Contraceptive Prevalence Rate, which helps keep down what would otherwise be a higher infant and maternal mortality rate. Despite it low income level, Pakistan's Faisalabad shows a relatively high level (70 percent) of professional attendance in birthing.


HIV/AIDS is a rising problem everywhere and find education programs for young people attempting to provide basic information on the topic and risks of infection. It is clear that transportation workers and intravenous drug users are at greatest risk and are often the target of organized programs. There is also a rapid growth on international and local Non-Governmental Organizations working actively in this field. Chittagong is the only city to document this growth, showing a handful of new local organizations supported by international NGOs and International Government Organizations with new and very large budgets focused on the problem. In addition, there are some additional 20 NGOs new to the field, with their support coming as well from both International NGOs and GOs.

7. Environmental Sustainability

The MDGs identify two rather distinct aspects of environment sustainability: environmental protection, and safe water and sanitary services. While environmental protection programs - forest or wetland conservation or wildlife protection - are growing around the world, they appear to play only minor parts in AUICK's Associate Cities. This may be in part because these activities tend to be controlled at the national level, with little direct involvement of local urban governments. The cities do, however, have a more direct and active role to play in water and sanitation services. All cities show an active concern in improving water supplies and providing them to more and more citizens. Everywhere this is a rising problem for the future as both population and economic growth tend to demand more and more water. Cities must now work harder and invest more to obtain safe water sources for their populations. The same is true for sanitation services - sewage and solid wastes. For the most part progress is being made, in part because these are both areas where international capital institutions the World Bank and the Regional Development Banks have active programs.

Research Teams

Chittagong Research Team

Iftekhar Uddin Chowdhury (Team Director)
    Professor of Sociology, University of Chittagong
Rezaul Karim
    AAC Liaison Officer, Chittagong City Corporation
ATM Saleh Jahur
    Former Chief Executive Officer, Chittagong City Corporation
Abdul Mannan Chowdhury
    Professor of Economics, University of Chittagong
Mohd. Helal Uddin
    Assistant Professor, Department of Chemistry, University of Chittagong

Weihai Research Team

Du Yang (Team Director)
    Director, Division of Labor and Human Capital, Chinese Academy of Social Science Institute of Population and Labor
Zhang Dandan
    Research Assistant, Division of Labor and Human Capital, IPLE
Sun Chenggong
    Chief, Foreign Affairs Office, Weihai Municipal Government
Zhang Yang
    Director, Division of International Organization, National Population and Family Planning Commission

Chennai Research Team

V.R.Muraleedharan (Team Director)
    Professor, Department of Humanities and Social Sciences, Indian Institute of Technology
T. Swaminathan
    Professor, Dept. of Chemical Engineering, I.I.T. Madras
Shiv Das Meena
    Joint Commissioner, Corporation of Chennai
Murugesan Panneerselvam
    Chief Engineer, Corporation of Chennai

Surabaya Research Team

Sunarjo, MD, MS, MSc (Team Director)
    Social Demographer
H. Kuntoro
    Health Scientist
Ir. Togar Silaban
    Chief, Urban Infrastructures Division, Urban Development Planning Agency, Surabaya City
Mia Santi DEwi, SH
    Secretary of Surabaya City, Social Scientist

Kuantan Research Team

Alias Abdullah (Team Director)
    Assoc. Prof.& Director, Bureau of Consultancy & Entreprenurship, International Islamic University Malaysia
Ismawi Zen Hj.
    Professor & Deputy Rector (Planning & Development), IIUM
Hj. Alias bin Hj. Salleh
    Head, Division of Urban Planning, Kuantan Municipal Council
Abdul Rahim b. Abdul Manaf
    Head, Division of Health Development, Kuantan Municipal Council

Faisalabad Research Team

Muhammad Asghar Cheema (Team Director)
    Social Scientist
Jehangir Sial
Nadeem Ahmad Khan
    Private Secretary to Faisalabad City Nazim
Khalid Masood
    Officer, Planning & Coordination, Faisalabad Tehsil

Olongapo Research Team

Alex B. Brillantes, Jr. (Co-Team Director)
    Dean, University of the Philippines - National College of Public Administration and Governance
James Bong Gordon, Jr. (Co-Team Director)
    Mayor, Olongapo City
Joel V. Mangahas
    College Secretary and Director of Studies, UP-NCPAG
Elizabeth Simpao Zavalla
    City Planning and Development Coordinator, Olongapo City Government
Noriel Tiglao
    Engineer and Spatial Information Specialist, Assistant Professor, UP-NCPAG

Khon Kaen Research Team

Peerasit Kamnuansilpa (Team Director)
    Professor, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, Khon Kaen University
Kittichai Triratanasirichai
    Dean, Faculty of Engineering, Khon Kaen University
Wittaya Tharnchai
    Deputy Secretary Permanent, Khon Kaen Municipality
Vorapun Tulejun
    Chief of Operation Office, Khon Kaen Municipality

Danang Research Team

Trinh Duy Luan (Team Director)
    Ph.D in Sociology
Nguyen Thuy Anh
    Liaison Officer, Danang People's Committee
Le Duc Trang
    Statistician, Danang's Statistic Department
Vu Hong Phong
    Researcher, Master in Public Health

* The position title of each team member is the one which was notified in the research reports submitted to AUICK in March 2005 by the research teams.


Five Cities: Modelling Asian Urban Population- Environment Dynamics

Five Cities

by Gayl D. Ness & Michael M. Low
Price: US$17.90
Format: Paperback, 311 pages
Published in Singapore by Oxford University Press Pte Ltd.
First edition in 2000.
ISBN: 0195886933

About This Book

Far-reaching changes in population-environment dynamics are very evident in the urbanized areas of Asia. This multi disciplinary analysis applies usable dynamic modelling concepts to the population growth/environmental change/quality of life nexus in five medium sized cities in Asia: Faisalabad, Pakistan; Khon Kaen, Thailand; Cebu City, the Philippines; Pusan, South Korea; and Kobe, Japan. Photographs and its accessible style will enable this study to be used by community workers, planners and developers outside the towers of academia.


Newsletter No.46

Universalization of Primary Education for Urban Poor

1. AUICK Second 2005 Workshop

2. City Reports and Action Plans


3. Research Notes:
    The 2004 Baseline Survey on MDGs in AACs

4. Visit to AUICK Associate Cities: Weihai and Surabaya

5. AUICK's Strategy Development in Surabaya

6. Committee Meetings
    Executive Committee
    International Advisory Committee
    Domestic Advisory Committee

Copyright © 2003 Asian Urban Information Center of Kobe. All rights reserved.