AUICK held the UNFPA Seminar jointly with the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) Tokyo Office at Kobe International House from 1:30 pm to 4:00pm, Friday 23 June 2006. The seminar, subtitled "Population, Urban Development and Environment in Asia," was organized as a forum of AUICK's First 2006 Workshop open to the public, and attended by 184 people.
seminar was opened with a welcome address by Mr. Yoshikane
Executive Director of AUICK. He explained that the seminar was
conducted with the objectives of raising awareness and understanding of
urban issues relating to concentration of population and informing the
general public of other countries' experiences, challenges they face,
and the initiatives they are taking with these concerns. Then, he
introduced Ms. Kiyoko Ikegami, Director of UNFPA
Tokyo Office, as a facilitator of the Seminar.
Ikegami introduced Dr. Gayl D. Ness, Professor
Emeritus, Department of Sociology, University of Michigan, and Dr.
Coordinator, Disaster Management Planning Hyogo Office, United nations
Center for Reginal Development (UNCRD) as two resource persons to
provide presentations on urbanization and environmental issues.
Ness presented on the history and future of Demographic Transition in
Asia and the world. Asia is now experiencing a major transformation of
population growth and urbanization. They come from new technologies,
such as medical, contraceptive technologies that reduce mortality and
increase the welfare of women and children. This rapid population
growth and urbanization with new technologies also produce a greater
impact on the natural environment. He concluded by remarking that: "In
all three cases - controlling mortality, fertility, and environmental
damage - the new technologies offer hope, but they also challenge us.
They require good governments that are concerned with peoples' welfare,
they require governments to make good policies and to work hard to
implement those policies effectively. If they do, there is much hope;
if they do not, there is much misery ahead for all."
Shoichi Ando made a presentation on sustainable urban development with
disaster safety. Taking the earthquake in Pakistan as an example, he
stressed that a community-based disaster management, which UNCRD is
promoting, will be the key for mitigating disasters. Although the
situation varies by locality, like in Kobe and Pakistan, he pointed out
that the fundamental policy will be common to all. He explained that
reinforcing buildings to make them safer will lead to improved urban
environment, since buildings are its main elements.
The ten senior officials from ten Asian cities in charge of environmental protection made brief reports on the history, current status, countermeasures, and challenges of environmental problems in their respective cities and countries.
Kazi Mobassher Ahmed Hashemi
from Chittagong, Bangladesh, reported: Recently Chittagong faces four
major urban environmental problems. (1) Slums: without adequate
housing, new migrants have moved into unplanned slum areas without
appropriate facilities for waste disposal. (2) Industrial waste
management: factories often dispose of wastes in an untreated manner.
(3) Hill cutting: the tree-covered hill around the city is cut and
leveled for development, which leads to erosion etc. The government
recently imposed a ban on hill leveling and tree cutting.
from Weihai, China, reported: Weihai has placed high priority on
environmental protection, such as controlling water, air, and noise
pollution and management of solid wastes. Thus despite the rapid
development, the environmental standard of the city has remained high.
The city currently meets these challenges for environmental protection.
1) To balance the environmental protection and the economic
development. 2) To build the capacity for emergency actions in response
to environmental conditions. 3) To improve public participation.
V. R. Gurumurthy
from Chennai, India, reported: Rapid urban growth has brought a great
increase in solid waste (currently 3,700 metric tons a day), however,
the city does not have the appropriate waste processing facility. The
existing landfills are two decades old and the city has included the
project of upgrading them to environmentally acceptable standards.
Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board (TNPCB) is monitoring environment
quality, such as those of air, water, and soil. The City Rivers are
already polluted by unauthorized sewage discharge and the Federal
Government has taken steps to rehabilitate them by evolving National
River Conservation Project under World Bank funding.
Henny Dwi Ferita
from Surabaya, Indonesia, reported: Surabaya also faces a number of
problems caused by rapid urban growth and in-migration. The shortage of
housing has given rise to slums and an extensive informal sector where
people live without facilities for effective waste management. Although
the river provides adequate water for the city, it is subject to
uncontrolled disposal from both residential and industrial activities.
The following projects are now underway: a) increasing public awareness
of pollution; b) seeking public reporting of illegal dumping; and c)
cleaning the river and planting trees along its banks.
Nazruddin bin Ismail
of Kuantan, Malaysia, reported: The rapid urbanization has resulted in
environmental degradation of air, water and land. Traffic congestion
causes air pollution, the lack of centralized sewerage system causes
water pollution, and the improper development on hill slopes causes
soil erosion and silting of the rivers. Also, the increasing solid
waste from residents and industries has caused environmental
deterioration. The countermeasures will include strict conditions for
new development and greater enforcement of regulation for waste
disposal. Currently, the federal departments, such as Department of
Environment, Department of Sewerage Services, and Land Office, have a
quarterly joint inspection of business establishment.
from Faisalabad, Pakistan, reported: The lack of disposal capacity and
systems for waste management has resulted in uncollected waste in open
spaces or illegal dumping. The existing sewage system is far below
acceptable standards. Emissions including waste water, noise and odors
from various industries in the city cause environmental degradation.
The traffic congestion is also becoming serious problem. The city is
committed to overcome these problems by: 1) Allocating 100 million
rupees in the next fiscal year to improve the waste management 2)
Launching a new project in coordination with JICA Japan to provide
clean drinking water to more citizens 3) Shifting all the textile
factories out of the municipal limits within one year.
Marivic Jadulco Nierras
from Olongapo, Philippines, reported: Olongapo faces the following
environmental problems: 1) Illegal clearing of the hilly land around
the city has caused erosion, silting and flash flooding. 2) The city
lacks a central sewage system and almost a fifth of the solid waste is
not properly collected, which leads to water, land, and air pollution.
3) The present landfill site faces shortage of funds for upgrading. The
city has been working on several measures to tackle those problems.
Declogging works of the drainage systems as well as river distillation
is being undertaken, and the provision of infrastructure support is
also in progress. A study on the improvement of waste disposal system
was already conducted in 2004 with the technical assistance from City
of Windsor, Canada.
from Khon Kaen, Thailand, reported: Kohn Kaen Municipality uses diesel
fuel for many purposes, and consumes 1,200 liter per day. The increase
of petrol price becomes a major problem of the city, which is
considering biodiesel as an alternative energy source. A recent survey
concluded that the municipality could produce as much as 839 liters per
day, which is almost 75% of its current needs. The city is now
conducting analysis to determine what investment is needed and what
will be the breakeven point for it.
Dung Viet Dang
from Danang, Vietnam, reported: Under new policies to promote
development, Danang has shared with the rest of the country a very
rapid economic development. While this has provided resources and
opportunities for the people, it has also produced a series of
problems. Urban transportation and utilities infrastructures are
underdeveloped. There is no public transportation system; about 30
percent of the people lack access to clean water and 12 percent lack
adequate sewage facilities. Much of liquid waste which is dumped
untreated from residences and industries into rivers, streams and
lakes, has caused serious water pollution. The industrial development
and the increase of automobiles have caused air pollution.
from Kobe, Japan, reported: Kobe City plotted out the "Kobe City Basic
Plan for General Waste Disposal (secondary plan)" in February 2001.
This plan sees the policy of waste administration largely shift from
conventional "proper disposal based on incineration and landfills" to
"reduction and utilization based on the 3Rs (Reduce, Reuse and
Recycle)." The city made changes in disposal categories of waste, and
after this waste reduced, recycling has steadily increased. The City
calls for a 25 % reduction in the amount of waste disposal by 2015,
compared to 2003.
After the presentations from the 10
cities, Ms. Ikegami introduced three other speakers: Dr. Ali
Mahmoud Mousa Madibo, Urban Planning Specialist, Arab Urban
Development Institute (AUDI), Ms. Shahana Chattaraj,
Programme Specialist, Asia and the Pacific Division, UNFPA, and Mr.
A. K. M. Rezaul Karim, City Planner and Head, Department of
Architecture and City Planning, Chittagong City Corporation.
Ali Mahmoud Mousa Madibo told that it is a big challenge to talk about
urban development and environment problem, because these issues involve
a delicate and difficult balance. From a socio-economic point of view,
education, health, etc. will be very important for local economic
development. On the other hand, environmental issues recognize no
boundaries. He stressed that we, as human beings, need to work together
in cooperation to make the world better.
Shahana Chattaraj mentioned that the world has experienced
unprecedented urban growth, especially in Asia. The crowded slums of
Asian cities house millions people living without access to clean
water, sanitation and health services. She pointed out that UNFPA sees
urbanization in Asia as a challenge and an opportunity, as most Asian
countries are only beginning to experience the remarkable shift of
people and economic activities. She emphasized that they need to
materialize this opportunity for better access to basic needs, while
ensuring the environment be protected and preserved for ourselves and
the future generation.
Mr. A. K. M. Rezaul Karim introduced Chittagong as a city resembling
Kobe City, which is beautiful with a bay and mountains. He expressed
enthusiasm as city planner and architect, for providing better urban
planning using their technology and natural/human resources.
The discussion open to the floor was facilitated by Ms. Ikegami.
Q: In recent years, disasters both natural and manmade have been increasingly affecting cities. What connection does this have with social poverty?
Q: What is the optimal growth rate of urbanization, in order to provide all the necessary urban facilities to the people, such as electricity, water supply, garbage management and education?
Q: People migrate because most rural areas in Asia are undeveloped. So shouldn't we concentrate on rural development to minimize urban migration?
Q: Children are learning about environmental protection, but many don't know just how serious the situation is. How can we educate them best?
Q: In order for City of Kobe to reduce its garbage levels, how best can local government, business, and citizens work together?
Dr. Hirofumi Ando, President of AUICK, summarized some of the main points raised in the presentations and discussions as follows: the population growth and the urbanization cannot be stopped but these cause environmental destruction. What we need to do is to think what we can do to protect the environment. The most important thing is good governance. It is necessary for us to pursue simultaneously environmental preservation and economic development. One of the solutions is the education of the public especially of the young. The active participation by the governments, communities, and NGOs are required to promote 3R (Reuse/ Reduce/ Recycle).
He also suggested that participants also learn from the bitter experiences to avoid the mistakes of the past. He concluded his remark introducing the "Think Globally, Act Locally", which was derived from United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED), 1992, Rio de Janeiro.
Dr. Hirofumi Ando closed the seminar by thanking the organizers of the forum, UNFPA Tokyo Office and AUICK, as well as Ms. Ikegami for her excellent chairpersonship and all the panelists and participants for making this event a success.