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AUICK Program 1989-2010 in Collaboration with UNFPA

In the 1980s, the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) supported a series of studies and conferences
UNFPA International Conference on Population and Development
The UNFPA International Conference on
Population and Development, in Kobe, Japan
focusing on urbanization, population dynamics and development. Among these, the 1987 International Conference on Population and Development, held in Kobe, highlighted medium-sized cities' role in the development of their countries, their lack of financial and administrative capacities to solve population and growth related issues, and their neglect in overall development planning. The Conference Declaration recommended that UNFPA support the development of a network to link officials of Asian medium-sized cities, to take action on its findings. This led to the establishment of the Asian Urban Information Center of Kobe (AUICK) in April 1989, as a cooperative agreement between the City of Kobe and UNFPA. 

AUICK's first activities were a series of urban inquiries to the mayors and administrations of over 200 Asian cities, to find out the problems and issues affecting each city's populations and development. The inquiries revealed urban administrators' concerns on expanding urbanization and population related issues such as migration, health care, family planning, urban air and water pollution, and found that many sought capacity building technical information. AUICK took on the role to facilitate the exchange of this information, conducting in-depth studies and disseminating lessons learned on cities' changing characteristics and successful service provision practices. 

AUICK's Workshop training seminar
Asian administrators attend AUICK's
Workshop training seminar

AUICK began to arrange Workshop training seminars in 1996, for participation by Asian local government officials, to put a capacity-building approach to development into practice. Between 1996 and 2003, it trained 242 city administrators and planners from 69 cities in 13 countries, and arranged eight seminars on primary health care, population ageing, and water and environment issues in urban settings. It also published a Newsletter to reach a wider audience of developmental planners and related institutions throughout Asia, and its website at jigyo@kicc.jp contains a database of information and reports. AUICK's activities are guided by UNFPA and its Asia and the Pacific Regional Office, and Domestic and International Advisory Committees, made up of scholars and political figures of prominence in Asia. 

Since 2004, AUICK has worked with a core group of nine principal stakeholder AUICK Associate Cities (AACs), to build the capacities of 'critical masses' of trained personnel to improve service provision in each of
Chennai, India
A maternal health care awareness program in Chennai,
 India, one of the nine AUICK Associate Cities
the cities. The relevance of these cities to the AUICK Program is in the developmental challenges and characteristics that they share, and what they can learn from Kobe and each other. Their nine mayors participated in the 2004 AUICK Associate Cities Conference on ICPD Tenth Anniversary Review: The Current Status and Future Challenges of Asian Medium-sized Cities, to commit to sending senior officials to AUICK Workshops and incorporate lessons learned into their administrations' policies. A further twelve Workshops, on themes of primary and reproductive health care, environment, medical care and welfare, public utilities, waste management, HIV/AIDS, ageing issues and urban policy, have trained 113 senior AAC government officials and academic experts. The meetings incorporate best practice study dissemination, discussion and city report presentations by each AAC representative, to maintain the South-South (AAC-AAC), as well as the North- South (Kobe-AAC) element to AUICK's Program. 

Since 2005, participants have formulated 89 Action Plans, of which over 50 per cent have become city government policies to improve welfare provision. The Plans are a quantifiable, results-based outcome to the AUICK Program, and with recent City-University Partnership, Technical Support and Research Projects, they show AUICK's commitment to building Asian cities' capacities to manage their own solutions to emerging and persistent development challenges.


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