MANILA, PHILIPPINES - Asian cities need to make continuous efforts to become livable, competitive, inclusive and environmentally sustainable cities, Asian Development Bank (ADB) President Haruhiko Kuroda told a forum here today.
"With approximately 80% of GDP today coming from urban areas, the quality and efficiency of Asia's cities and their ability to innovate will determine the region's long-term productivity and overall stability," Mr. Kuroda said.
The three-day Asian Urban Forum titled 'Financing Future Cities' has drawn leading officials from central and municipal governments, financing institutions, the private sector, as well as representatives of non-government organizations, academia and multilateral agencies. The event, which is being hosted and organized by ADB, is looking at how to plan, develop and finance green, competitive, sustainable cities, drawing on real experiences from around the globe.
Half the world's megacities with populations of over 10 million are in Asia, but their extraordinary rise has come at a cost. Rapid urbanization is adding huge pressure on secondary cities which are growing fastest. Over 200 million urban dwellers live in poverty, many in grim city slums. Pollution is worsening, and climate change presents a new threat with the onset of increasingly severe natural disasters.
ADB is launching a new publication, 'Competitive Cities in the 21st Century: Cluster Based Local Economic Development', at the forum. The book gives governments, businesses, the private sector and communities a blueprint for planning competitive, sustainable and inclusive urban economies.