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examining current trends and implications of rapid urbanization of cities in Asia



The Urban Transformation in Asia: Policy Implications of Decentralization

Challenges and Opportunities

10-13 August 2008 East-West Center

Honolulu, Hawaii, U.S.A.

East-West Seminars 1601 East-West Road

Honolulu, Hawaii 96848 Mr. Ray Burghardt, Director

[email protected]

Maui Headquarters 1305 North Holopono Street Suite 2, Kihei, Hawaii 96753

Mr. Ray Shirkhodai, Executive Director [email protected];




New URBAN ASIA Seminar Series...1 Inaugural Seminar Executive Summary....3 List of Participants...7 Program Agenda..11 Roundtable Dialogue Discussion Topics and Questions.17 Participating Cities

Jakarta, Indonesia.27

Seoul, Korea.33

Kathmandu, Nepal39

Quezon City/Metropolitan Manila, Philippines.......45

Honolulu, Hawaii, USA..53

Los Angeles, California, USA59

San Diego, California, USA..65

Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam71 Program Session Chairs79 Program Discussion Leaders..89 Other Program Participants....105 East-West Center Representatives..115 Suggested Readings...117


New Urbanization Seminar Series


The East-West Center is launching a new seminar series that will examine the current trends and implications of rapid urbanization of cities in Asia from a broad systems-wide approach (political, economic, social), with special focus on issues of urban governance. The seminar series will bring together government and non-government organizations, including elected and appointed city officials, urban planners, civil society representatives, and urbanization experts from Asia and the U.S. to discuss work already underway in the public and private sectors in preparing cities in Asia to effectively cope with the dramatic growth in the region. In small, informal roundtable discussions, seminar participants will have the opportunity to engage in peer-to-peer exchanges on policy options and implications, as well as exchange ideas, offer new perspectives, and share information about experiences, best practices, tools and strategies for managing the urbanization process and its consequences. Seminar participants will be encouraged to reflect on their long-term strategic visions, proactive political leadership, commitment to bold plans, and the ability to reconcile divergent interests for the common good. The year 2008 marks an unprecedented transformation in the history of human settlements, as more than half of the worlds population now lives in urban areas. By 2015, twelve of the 22 megacities projected to develop worldwide will be in Asia, and by 2030 Asia will account for more than half of the worlds urban population2.66 billion people out of a total global urban population of 4.94 billion. (United Nations Population Fund, State of the World Population 2007: Unleashing the Potential of Urban Growth). This transformation is redefining peoples lifestyles, employment, welfare, housing needs, and social interactions. It is creating new power relationships in organizations and government, altering the geopolitical landscape. The extraordinary growth of cities in Asia has been pivotal to expanded economic development and increased wealth in the region. But it is also changing the social fabric and culture of the countriesexacerbating poverty, slums, and environmental degradation in the urban agglomerations and peri-urban areas. Policymakers at all levels must respond to both the challenges and opportunities of urbanization in order to maximize its potential to improve the quality of life for all citizens. Urban Governance Issues The rapid growth of Asian cities has already resulted in major strains on urban administrative systems as they strive to adequately respond to the rate of political, economic, social, and physical changes. There is an urgent need to strengthen and expand the management processes and capacities as well as participatory decision-making mechanisms at all levels. Good urban governance should address the interdependent and mutually reinforcing principles of sustainability, subsidiarity, equity, efficiency, transparency and accountability, civic engagement and citizenship, and security. Several major challenges that underlie the effectiveness and efficiency of governing cities in Asia include:

complexity of governance resulting in boundary disputes and shifting responsibilitiespoor coordination between and within local, national and regional governments and special-purpose authorities;

inadequate capacity of governments and agencies to address the challenges of rapid urbanization effectivelylocal government as weakest link, discrepancies between function and technical capacity, inability to design, finance, and implement policies and programs that responsive to the priorities and needs of all citizens; and


existing systems and processes of governance need to be strengthenedprofessional and

personal integrity and accountability of elected and appointed officials and civil servants; citizen participation and equal access to information; transparency in laws and public policies. (Urbanization and Sustainability in Asia, Asian Development Bank and Cities Alliance, 2006; The Global Campaign on Urban Governance, UN-Habitat, 2002)


Inaugural Seminar

The Urban Transformation in Asia: Policy Implications of Decentralization

10 13 August 2008 Imin International Conference Center

East-West Center, Honolulu, Hawaii, USA The inaugural seminar, co-sponsored by the East-West Center and the Pacific Disaster Center, will examine current trends of urban growth and decentralization and the policy implications for Asian cities. Participation in the seminar is by invitation only. The Challenge of Decentralization As urbanization and economic growth in Asia have increased, so have political and administrative pressures to decentralize government decision-making and transfer service delivery from central government to local government. National governments in Asia have recognized the political and financial benefits of decentralizing; and decentralizing policies of Asian governments are placing urbanization issues at the local government level with the expectation that these governments will play a more active role in managing urban development and financing urban services. The challenge to both national leadership and local governments across the region is to approach decentralization policies and processes consistently and systematically by developing strategic approaches that fit country conditions, but that also benefit from regional and global lessons of decentralization. This approach requires substantial investment in strategic planning, institutional development and capacity building, and management and financial systems development. (East Asia Decentralizes: Making Government Work, World Bank, 2005). While progress with decentralization has been encouraging, fundamental problems remainmany countries are caught in an institutional limbo between the dissolution of old, top-down service-delivery mechanisms and the emergency of still-weak decentralized structures. In many instances, local governments are being asked to undertake greater responsibility for raising public money to provide infrastructure and services, implement fiscal discipline and accountability, and provide opportunities for stakeholder decision-making. These local governments, however, often lack the resources and power to fulfill their new responsibilities. Seminar Sessions and Discussion Topics Working Session I: Democracy, Decentralization, and Urbanization in Asia: The Challenges of New Policies, Strategies, and Institutional Frameworks Topic 1: Decentralization and the Democratic State in Asia: Devolution with Accountability Topic 2: Urban Decentralization in Asia Trends and Issues Topic 3: Fiscal and Administrative Capacities of Local Governments


Working Session II: Asia Urban Infrastructure: Challenges and Opportunities Topic 1: Governance and Finance: Challenges of Urban Infrastructure Development Topic 2: Multi-Source Urban Infrastructure Planning, Finance, and Development Topic 3: Regional Planning of Infrastructure Development and Access Working Session III: The Evolving Role of Civil Society in the Urban Transformation Topic 1: Forging Civil Society and Local Government Partnerships Topic 2: The Role of Civil Society in Improving Urban Governance Topic 3: Capacities and Accountability of Civil Society Organizations Working Session IV: Urban Adaptation to Environmental Change: An Integrated Approach to Risk Topic 1: Globalization of Urban Risk Topic 2: Urban Society and Adaptation Challenges: An Integrated Approach to Risk Topic 3: Practical Applications and Strategies

Content Description of Working Sessions Working Session 1 Democracy, Decentralization, and Urbanization in Asia: The Challenges of New Policies, Strategies, and Institutional Frameworks Key issues to be addressed include implications of realignment of enhanced local government responsibilities and relationship/institutional arrangements with unified metropolitan administrative authorities and impacts on economic development, fiscal power, political policy/decision-making, and governance (strengths and weaknesses, multi-level governance, civil society participation, ecological sustainability, social and spatial inequalities); need for creativ