The Asia LEDS Partnership, in cooperation with ICLEI Local Governments for Sustainability and Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) organized the session, Low Emission Development Strategies for the Asia Region at the 4th Resilient Cities Asia Pacific Congress which took place on 15 April at the Hotel Eros, New Delhi. The key theme of the session was how these low-carbon initiatives all have a role to play in not only helping countries meet their NDCs, but also raising ambition. The importance of raising awareness of low-carbon development, such as the long-term benefits of public transport, was reiterated as a critical part of successful implementation.
The first panel shared insights on unlocking small-scale sustainable energy projects through strategic finance models, the challenges and opportunities of sustainable transport transitions, accelerating climate resilient action plans in cities, and the Asia LEDs partnership. This session was moderated by Marylaure Crettaz, Head, Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation and the panel included: Reto Dettli, Director, econcept, Switzerland; Martin Buck, CEO, SNZ Consulting, Switzerland; Chetan Nandani, Deputy Municipal Commissioner, Rajkot Municipal Corporation, India; Jayant Prasad, Executive Director, cKers Finance, India. The second group of panelists, meanwhile, shared how NDCs are being approached in five Asian countries including Vietnam, Bhutan, China, Sri Lanka and Mongolia. Each country revealed a variety of approaches and its own unique challenges. A key lesson was that NDCs can be a key driver of low-emissions development in the Asia region, however countries must decide how to integrate local issues. The representative from China, Mr. Hongxing Xie, Director of Bluetech Clean Air Alliance, highlighted the great steps forward that major Chinese cities have made on air pollution over the last five years leveraging issues in the local context. By using air pollution as an entry point to low-carbon change, Mr Xie said “we believe air quality can be the strongest driver for low carbon schemes in a lot of developing countries, especially countries facing air pollution challenges like in India and others in south-east Asia.“ This session was moderated by Maryke van Staden, Manager, Low Emission Development Pathway, ICLEI World Secretariat and Director of ICLEI’s carbon Center and the following served as panelists: Bui Hong Phuong, Official, Ministry of Planning and Investment, Government of Vietnam; Leki Choda, Planning Officer, Transport Development Division, Road Safety and Transport Authority, Bhutan; Jambaa Lkhagva, Director, Energy Market Research and Cooperation Division, Energy Regulatory Commission, Mongolia; Hongxing Xie, Director, Innovation Centre for Clean-air Solutions and Bluetech Clean Air Alliance Secretariat, People’s Republic of China.
Both panels struck some key issues on sub-national approaches to low-emissions development and reinforced that even across the different sectors and various countries in the Asia-Pacific region, small approaches that are considerate of the local context can grow to have big impacts in the long term.
Written by Timothy Shue from ICLEI Oceania Secretariat