Jakarta, 26 November 2014—The government of Indonesia this week hosted the Asia Pacific Expert Group Meeting for Habitat III.

Held under the auspices of the Ministry of Public Works and Housing, the meeting which took place in Jakarta and Bogor reconfirmed Indonesia commitment in taking the regional role in Asia Pacific in the preparations of Habitat III and the promotion of inclusive and sustainable urban development.

In June 2014, the Government Indonesia and UN-Habitat agreed to collaborate on the national and regional preparations for the third United Nations Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development (Habitat III), which will take place in 2016.

Government representatives from neighboring countries including Myanmar, Lao, Cambodia, Nepal, Timor Leste attended this two-days’ meeting as well as various speakers and participants from UN-Habitat, the Philippines, KU-Leuven Belgium, the Shanghai Tongji Urban Planning and Design Institute China, Tsinghua University China, Mayor from Surabaya and other Indonesian stakeholders and Habitat Agenda Partners.

In his opening remark, Mr. Imam Ernawi, the Director General of Human Settlements, representing the Minister for Public Works and Housing, mentioned that the meeting aimed to gather inputs for the next “High Level Asia-Pacific Regional Meeting for Habitat III” which will be hosted by the Government of Indonesia on May 2015 at Jakarta.  “Indonesia will also share the experience in preparing the first draft of National Report for Habitat III that already submitted in the First Prepcomm, especially for other countries that are in the beginning of their national report formulation. Indonesia also wishes to get inputs from other Asia-Pacific countries for the improvement of our upcoming Second Draft,” said Imam.

Sustainable Urbanization is essential for achieving Sustainable Development

On the first day, the meeting explored What should be New about the Urban Agenda in Asia and the Pacific for the coming decades, anticipating the Post-2015 Development Agenda and the challenges of sustainable development and climate change.  Yoshinobu Fukasawa, Director of UN-Habitat Regional Office for Asia-Pacific gave the keynote speech where he emphasized that sustainable urbanization is essential for achieving sustainable development. 

The first day also featured the lesson learned on new and innovative best practices, for instance, as presented by Mrs. Tri Rismaharini, the mayor of Surabaya. In her presentation, she stressed on the development with community where community involvement and participation are important for the city. Roi Chiti from UN-Habitat Headquarter in the “Moving Forward” session made clarity on the whole process leading to Habitat III with emphasis on all advocacy dimensions and opportunities of engagement for all constituency groups. He also highlighted the new challenges emerged from Habitat II like climate change, safety and inequality, which are spatially manifested in the cities and need to be addressed by the new global agenda.

National Reports preparations

On the second day, the meeting focused more on the discussion on preparing the national report. All UN member states will be called upon to participate in Habitat III and were requested already to prepare National Reports. The Indonesian National report team shared the process, challenges and lesson learned in preparing the first draft of the Indonesia National Report. Jos Maseland from UN-Habitat also presented on The State of the Asian and Pacific Cities 2015 while Prof. Mao Qizhi from Tsinghua University gave presentation on the State of China’s Cities.

The second day meeting enabled the active and productive dialogue among the participants. The meeting concludes with key messages which are the importance of inclusivity in the National Report preparation and to continue the intensive dialogue and collaboration among Asia Pacific countries towards Habitat III preparation.