Penang to host largest, most diverse urban forum in Asia Pacific for the first time


DELEGATES from the Asia Pacific region will be thronging Penang for the 7th edition of the Asia Pacific Urban Forum (APUF7) this Oct 15 to 17.


Held for the first time in Penang, the forum would see participants from China, Thailand, Indonesia, the Philippines, Singapore, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, Bangladesh, India and others discussing the implementation of several frameworks and agendas in the region.


The forum, co-organised by the Malaysia Government, Urbanice Malaysia and UN-Habitat, serves as a platform to discuss the implementation of New Urban Agenda, the Paris Agreement, Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction, Addis Ababa Action Framework and the 2030 Agenda in the region.


Penang Local Government, Housing, Town and Country Planning Committee chairman Jagdeep Singh Deo said the theme of the forum was ‘Future of Asia and Pacific Cities: Transformative Pathways to Achieve 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development’.


“It will also serve as a venue to launch the Future of Asia-Pacific Cities (FoAPC) Report 2019 in partnership with the Asian Development Bank, the European Union, The Rockefeller Foundation, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), UN-Habitat and Singapore’s Centre for Liveable Cities.


“The FoAPC looks at the implementation of urban solutions across different classification of cities against four critical development challenges, namely, natural resources management, climate change, disaster risk and rising inequalities,” Jagdeep told a press conference in Komtar today.


Jagdeep (left), Yew (centre) and Addnan (right) looking at the APUF7 bunting after the press conference.


He added that the official opening ceremony would be held at the Setia SPICE Arena on Oct 15.


“There will be a 60-minute high-level roundtable session after the opening event. This is an interactive dialogue between representatives from the Asia Pacific cities, where they will be talking about practical solutions and partnerships towards sustainable development.


“There will also be leaders’ dialogue sessions and deep dive discussions to talk about four core topics – urban and territorial planning, urban resilience, data and technologies for smart cities and urban finance,” he said.


Jagdeep speaking to the media during the press conference.


Jagdeep also highlighted the pre-opening event ‘The Cycling Mayors’ which will be held on Oct 14.


“The event is open to mayors, local council presidents and representatives from UN-Habitat and UN-ESCAP (Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific).


“The goal is to gather mayors, council presidents and city administrators from all over the country and other cities in Asia to cycle along the coastlines of Penang. The Penang Chief Minister, ministers, state executive councillors are also invited to take part in the event.


“The participants will be cycling 14km from the Batu Maung Transfer Station to Karpal Singh Drive. There will be five refreshment stations along the way – the Batu Maung Transfer Station, the Bridge of Hope, GSD bicycle park, The Light, and Karpal Singh Drive.


“The cycling event is limited to 150 people only and the closing date for registration is on Sept 15,” he said.


Penang Island City Council (MBPP) mayor Datuk Yew Tung Seang said the council was in the midst of preparing for APUF7.


“We will do our level best to ensure that the event is a success,” he said.


MBPP management services department director Mohamed Akbar Mustapha said a festival, ‘Potpourri’, would be held at the Esplanade on Oct 17 from 4pm onwards.


“There will be cultural performances, projection mapping on the City Hall, and plenty of street food for the public to enjoy.


“Public will be able to enjoy performances from legendary artistes such as Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Nawab Khan and Datuk David Arumugam; as well as cultural performances like boria, Baba Nyonya dances, Indian dances and Chinese art of face mask changing,” Mohamed Akbar said.


Also present at the press conference was MBPP secretary Datuk Addnan Mohd Razali.



Story by Christopher Tan

Pix by Alissala Thian