The rapid urbanization in Asia-Pacific, now breaching 50 per cent threshold, is posing challenges for cities across the region to adopt and implement sustainable urban development policies and actions.
As a result of successful advocacy, through the Global Task Force initiated by UCLG, local governments’ roles have been recognized in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The role of urban local bodies (ULBs) is even more critical as up to 65 per cent of SDGs are in the urban domain. Despite the importance of ULBs, their effectiveness depends largely on the national policy, legal and institutional framework for city governments and the level of autonomy given to them by higher tier(s) of government. ULBs in many Asia-Pacific countries do not have a strong level of administrative authority, policy and fiscal autonomy, adequate skills, resources, technologies or capacity to play a more direct role in city planning, management and development. ULBs need to be assigned a more direct role and responsibility for developing and managing their cities, and be given the responsibility and resources through better vertical fiscal and institutional arrangements. City Enabling Environment (CEE) assessment 2018, by UCLG ASPAC in collaboration with Cities Alliance and UNDP, covers 28 countries and aims to understand the legal, policy and institutional gaps that are faced by cities in the region. The side event will bring together urban stakeholders to share the findings from CEE Assessment in Asia-Pacific and brainstorm reforms and policy actions by national governments to strengthen local governments to achieve sustainable urban development.