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-- Dato’ Lakhbir Singh Chahl
Secretary-General, CITYNET
A Watershed Year
2005 has been a watershed year in the 18-year history of CITYNET. The CITYNET
Congress, held in conjunction with the Fourth UNESCAP Asia-Pacific Urban Forum,
in Hanoi, Vietnam, brought far-reaching results that will echo through the
Programme, Institutional and Financial direction of the Network in the coming years.
Quadrennial Congress Points the Way
The CITYNET General Council, organised once in four years as part of the Congress,
brought together the entire body of CITYNET members to brainstorm on critical
issues facing cities in the Asia-Pacific and CITYNET. The 20th and 21st Sessions of
the Executive Committee met and took decisions on several important issues,
including the recommendations of the General Council.
Mr. Hiroshi Nakada, President of CITYNET, commented on the growth of the
Network into an organisation that is propelling cities to realise their dreams. He
pointed out that city-to-city cooperation was becoming the pivot of urban
development in the Region.
Around the theme of “Making Millennium Development Goals Work for Cities,” the
Congress explored the multifaceted concerns being faced by the Region’s Cities. Over
250 representatives from local and national governments, civil society organisations,
research institutions, UN and other international organisations, and private companies
participated in the dialogue generated by the seminars and fora held during the
Key Outcomes of the 2005 CITYNET Congress:
 The programme direction of CITYNET for 2006-2009 was agreed upon.
 Office bearers of the Network – the President, Vice-Presidents, Executive
Committee, the Secretary-General, the Auditor, and Election Committee members
– were elected and given charge.
 The Cluster approach in Programme activities was reinforced, and a new Cluster,
on Disaster Mitigation, was conceptualised and approved. Existing Clusters met
and chalked out their future strategies and action plans.
 An agreement was signed between CITYNET and the Digital Solidarity Fund to
mutually cooperate to try and bridge the North-South digital divide.
 New members were admitted during the 20th and 21st Sessions of the Executive
 Separate membership categories were created to induct private companies and
individuals as CITYNET members.
 MDGs were launched in cities in Vietnam during a special ceremony under an
initiative by UNESCAP.
 Venues were decided for the next Executive Committee meeting and the next
CITYNET Congress.
The 22nd Executive Committee meeting will be held in Mumbai, India, in
October 2006.
The Sixth CITYNET Congress will be held in Yokohama, Japan, in November
New Executive Committee Takes Office
Elected during the General Council in October 2005, CITYNET new Executive
Committee took office for a four-year term. The new members include:
President: Yokohama
First Vice-President: Mumbai
Second Vice-President: Bangkok
Executive Committee Members: Colombo, Kathmandu, Kuala Lumpur, Makati,
Seoul, Urban Community of Greater Lyon, All India Institute of Local Self
Governance, Asian Coalition of Housing Rights, Association of Indonesian
Municipalities, and Yokohama (as host of the Secretariat).
Auditor: Suwon
Secretary-General: Dato’ Lakhbir Singh Chahl
Election Committee Members: Chittagong, Islamabad, Muntinlupa, Phnom Penh
New Members Enter the CITYNET Fold
Five new members took CITYNET membership in 2005. These are cities that are
looking to the Network for fruitful partnerships and development solutions, while also
offering their expertise to other CITYNET members.
 Banda Aceh
 Calbayog
 Da Nang
 Taichung
 Tomohon
CITYNET Trust Fund to be Established
One of the landmark decisions taken during the ……………was the setting up of the
CITYNET Trust Fund, with Makati as the host city. With growing financial demands
on city budgets, there has been a unanimously felt need to explore alternate channels
of resource generation within CITYNET. The Trust Fund is envisioned as a means to
consolidate the financial strength of the Network by leveraging its performance over
the years.
Secretariat Staff Gets Strengthened
The strength of Secretariat permanent staff remained unchanged during the year.
Working under staff constraints, the CITYNET Secretariat continued to tap alternate
sources of manpower. The Secondment Programme and the CITYNET Volunteer
Network again proved a key resource during 2005, and supplemented many a shortfall
in personnel.
Secondment Programme Continues to Boost Members’ Capacity
The Secondment Programmes, which began with the vision of building the capacity
of the staff of member cities and organisations, received continued support from
Yokohama City. Seconded staff from Makati and the All India Institute of Local Self
Government visited and worked at the Secretariat under the Programme in 2004-05
and 2005-06 terms, respectively.
Committed Volunteers Lend a Hand
For the fourth year in a row, the number of volunteers involved in the CITYNET
cause continued to grow. College students, practitioners between jobs, and retired
professionals made up a large percentage of the volunteers.
Seoul Assigns Staff to CITYNET Secretariat
In a long-term assignment, Seoul Metropolitan City deputed a Division Director from
its Administrative Bureau to the Secretariat – under full financial support from the
Clusters Get Institutionalised
A critical outcome of the 2005 CITYNET Congress was the concretisation of the
concept of Priority Clusters. Based on their development priorities, members have
organised themselves into Priority Clusters which are responsible for formulating
their own action plans and programme direction. With the aim of bringing sharper
focus to CITYNET activities, Clusters are expected to accelerate the achievement of
development goals in member cities and organisations.
Cluster members convened brainstorming sessions during the Congress to strategise
on action plans and to divide responsibility within the Cluster. Action plans reflected
the priorities of members involved in Clusters.
Compiling of best practices; Pre-election leadership training for women wanting to be
in local government; Devising of strategies to ensure 50% representation of women in
public positions.
Enviro - Solid Waste Management
Exchange of experience and expertise on SWM; Advisory services on developing
SWM policies and programmes.
Enviro - Water and Sanitation
Replication of successful decentralised wastewater treatment system.
Implementation of a sustainable transport project in selected Asia-Pacific cities.
Setting up of a special webpage on women on the CITYNET website; Devising of
strategies to bridge the digital divide.
Implementation of a citizens participatory disaster mitigation project; Setting up of
cooperation between tsunami-affected cities in Sri Lanka and Indonesia.
Capacity-building programmes and database on low-income housing; Community
development projects with partnerships between local government and civil society
groups; Integration of MDGs with Cluster activities.
Areas of Programme Activities in 2005
Types of Programme Activities in 2005
Long-Term Projects
A philosophical shift in CITYNET’s approach has been to focus on medium- and
long-term Projects. Under the rubric of Priority Clusters, these Projects contribute
more robustly to development in member cities. Their duration also ensures financial
stability for the Network, which in turn offers continuity to the programmes under
these projects.
Decentralisation Coming Into Its Own in the Asia-Pacific
Decentralised governance, already a recognised and recognisable reality in many parts
of Europe, is now becoming a necessity for fast-paced development in the AsiaPacific. City-to-city cooperation, a cornerstone of CITYNET methodology, is driving
partnerships of the Region’s cities with their counterparts in their own Region and
Bringing Asia-Pacific and Europe Closer
With the PRO-ACT Project, one important role CITYNET has taken on is to enhance
city-to-city partnerships between the Asia-Pacific and Europe.
Bridging the Digital Divide
A key feature of the development process in the Region has been a firm reliance on
Information Communication Technology (ICT), as a facilitator of enhanced public
services. The North-South digital divide, therefore, is a hurdle that CITYNET is
working to remove. In this context, an agreement was signed with the Digital
Solidarity Fund at the 2005 CITYNET Congress.
Post-Tsunami Reconstruction Project
In the one year since the Great Indian Ocean Tsunami of December 26, 2004,
CITYNET has been actively involved in rebuilding communities in Indonesia and Sri
Lanka. In the wake of the Tsunami, all members of CITYNET rallied as one to
support the affected cities. A promptly done survey of needs of the affected cities, as
well as of resources within CITYNET, ensured that relevant assistance reached those
who needed it with the greatest speed. Moratuwa City is a case in point, where the
need for gully bowsers to clear the sewage system was met by Yokohama City in
direct response to the needs-and-resources analysis within CITYNET.
As focus moved to medium- and long-term support projects, Yokohama City, whose
citizens had pooled donations directly following the Tsunami, channelled a major part
of these funds to CITYNET. In collaboration with local partners – URDI and AIM in
Indonesia, and HELP-O in Sri Lanka – CITYNET has built community centres,
libraries, toilets and other public facilities. Experts from Yokohama, Penang and
Kuala Lumpur have visited Banda Aceh City Hall and have been assisting the City
with its urban planning and reconstruction efforts. In Banda Aceh, a local market has
been partially rebuilt with CITYNET support, and has given back a means of
livelihood to the local community. The project continues, and aims at providing
housing for ……. in Indonesia, and ………. in Sri Lanka.
AWAREE Project: Spreading the Environmental Education Message
The three-year AWAREE (Integrated Environmental Education in Asian Cities)
Project, which began in Fall 2004, made long strides in 2005. The Project cities –
Hanoi, Nanjing, and Phnom Penh – have been working on action plans customised to
their conditions and requirements. As a consequence of the Project, each city has a
coherent Environmental Education (EE), policy and has been implementing it in
planned phases. Early in the year, a workshop was organised in Yokohama that saw
the Project cities gather to benchmark their progress, report on their activities, and
recalibrate their action plans. Storybooks, posters, brochures, and other EE materials
developed during this workshop have been used in pilot schools in the three cities
throughout the year. The AWAREE Project is being implemented by CITYNET with
financial support from the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), with
technical assistance from Yokohama City.
In 2006, the Project will move to its final stage, with the EE strategy in Phnom Penh
moving from pilot schools to all others. The City, where AWAREE has been the first
EE-related Project, has made rapid progress. Textbooks being developed under the
Project are set to be published as a follow-up project for schools across Cambodia
with the support of donor agencies and the Ministry of Education. In Hanoi,
guidelines for integrated EE in all schools in the City are well on their way. The
AWAREE Project, with its emphasis on practical methodologies, is contributing to
the growth of EE in the Region.
PRO-ACT Project: Decentralised cooperation across Regions
Launched in November 2004, the two-year PRO-ACT Project brought cities of the
Asia-Pacific and Europe closer together during 2005. At the “Workshop on EuroAsian Decentralised Cooperation for Urban Projects in Asia Using Bilateral and
Multilateral Donors,” in Phnom Penh in June 2005. In addition to forming and
fostering partnerships between cities in the two Regions, the Project aims to bring in
international donors and help them observe the benefits of decentralised cooperation.
The emphasis is on eventually ensuring a city-to-city cooperation element in urban
projects that are supported by international aid agencies. Partners in the Project
include EUROCITIES, the Urban Community of Greater Lyon, Economie &
Humanisme of France, and Colombo City, as the host of the CITYNET Sri Lanka
National Chapter.
KLRTC Courses Continue to Build Capacity of Municipal Governments
The Kuala Lumpur Regional Training Centre (KLRTC), part of the CIFAL Network,
is a joint Project between CITYNET, UNITAR, City Hall of Kuala Lumpur, UNDP,
Veolia Environnement and other partners.