Making our Cities Livable

As one of the co-chairs of Track 1 on Energy and Livable Cities, I am particularly excited about ACEF 2019 as we are going to explore practical applications of energy in cities, linking it to ADB’s operational priorities and Strategy 2030.

As most of you know, Livable cities is one of Asian Development Bank (ADB)’s priorities wherein we aim to work with our partners to transform the typical image of Asian cities from that of a polluted, congested and unsafe one to that of a safe, smart and resilient city. ABD’s Strategy 2030 has identified “making cities more livable” as one of its seven operational priorities. This Livable Cities Operational Priority Plan sets out the direction and approach for ADB to help its developing member countries (DMCs) build livable cities that are green, competitive, inclusive, and resilient. It also details ADB’s strategic operational approaches to provide support to cities in DMCs and to help them develop the right institutions, policies, and enabling environments to become more livable.

ACEF Track 1 on Energy and Livable Cities will highlight approaches and solutions that make cities more climate-resilient by incorporating flexible, low-carbon, clean energy systems and approaches into urban development.

For the first time under ACEF we have introduced the Scene Setter talk in the four sessions under this track. Here, ADB Project officers and subject matter experts will set the context of the session, based on ADB project experiences as well as the opportunities and challenges in the area. This is aimed to highlight the work of the operations and ensure key messages and outcomes from the four sessions which can help guide our urban sector projects.

Here’s a quick overview of what you can expect across the four sessions under this track at ACEF 2019:

Session 1.1: Urban Energy Planning for Smarter Utilities
Tuesday, 18 June | 2.00 pm - 3.30 pm

Utilities play a critical role in our vision for livable cities. In this session we will highlight the role of the current urban utilities in the future energy landscape and adaptation of new technologies with innovative thinking and business models. We will also discuss key challenges and success stories in the region.
Cities require reliable energy for efficient water supply, wastewater treatment, solid waste management, housing, logistics, and other essential functions. Presenters, from the Philippines, India and China, will share forward-thinking views, industry insights and concrete examples of how utilities can promote the integration of renewable energy and energy efficiency into urban planning. I will moderate this session and Stephane Bessadi, Senior Water Utility Specialist from ADB will set the scene for the session.

Session 1.2: Scaling Up E-Mobility as a Platform for Sustainable Urban Transportation
Tuesday, 18 June | 4.00 pm - 5.30 pm

This is a topic close of my heart! How can we ensure sustainable modes of transport in our modern smart cities? How can we create a strong enabling environment for e-mobility in Asia? What are the lessons learned? We will talk about all this and more in this session!
The mobility of city residents and goods in Asia today is largely dependent on petroleum fuels that power road vehicles and other public transportation systems. Presenters from Taiwan, Sri Lanka, Singapore, Hong Kong and India, will explore the potential for sustainable urban mobility. They will discuss a range of technological innovations, policy and regulatory support, attractive business models and financial structuring that can create an enabling environment for e-mobility. Yong Chen, Programme Officer, Sustainable Urban Energy, IRENA, will moderate this session and Ki Joon Kim, Principal Transport Specialist, ADB, will set the scene for the session.

Session 1.3: Heating and Cooling for Buildings in Cities
Thursday, 20 June | 9.00 am - 10.30 am

We all know that the buildings sector is a big energy guzzler! While this is a huge challenge, it also offers a great opportunity to leverage technology for low carbon heating and cooling for buildings. This session will focus on the buildings sector which is responsible for more than one-third of global final energy consumption. Presenters from South Korea, Singapore, Luxemburg and India will highlight the essential role of heating and cooling in the energy profile of cities. They will also discuss technologies, systems and strategies for moving toward low-carbon space-conditioning of cities. Some of the topics covered will include energy-efficient appliances, LED lighting, smart residential and commercial building technologies, health and safety impacts, and energy conservation building codes. The moderator for this session is Sangay Penjor, Director Urban, East Asia Regional Department. Arnaud Heckmann, Principal Urban Development Specialist, East Asia Regional Department will set the scene for the session based on his project in Mongolia which directly deals with heating in buildings.

Session 1.4: New Energy Solutions: Multi-Benefit Opportunities for Cities
Thursday, 20 June | 11.00 am - 12.30 am

Asian cities are battling with severe air pollution, leading to several health, social and environmental issues. How can we improve air quality in our cities? What are the best practices to mainstream air quality in urban development? This is your opportunity to hear experts share their stories and lessons learnt in the cities.
The World Health Organization (WHO) reports that nearly 91% of the world’s population lives in places where air quality exceeds WHO guideline limits, leading to serious health issues and in some cases deaths. Presenters from Thailand, Philippines and China will highlight the range of social, environmental, health and safety as well as climate change benefits that new urban energy systems can offer to urban communities. This session is moderated by Na Won Kim, ADB’s Senior Environment Specialist, and Emma Marsden, ADB’s Senior Environment Specialist and Glynda Bathan, Deputy Executive Director Clean Air Asia will be setting the scene for the session.

As you can see, we an exciting range of topics and speakers from Asia and across the globe! While these speakers will present their insights, we also look forward to hearing from the Forum participants on how we can work together to make our cities more climate-resilient and livable.

This is your opportunity to hear a galaxy of speakers and the ADB experts on the linkages of energy and livable cities and pick important lessons on how we can together deliver stronger and transformative results in this challenging topic.

Virinder Sharma
Energy and Livable Cities Track Co-Chair,
Asia Clean Energy Forum