From The Nation , Published on 27 March 2016
Singapore is taking the center stage in fostering a global exchange of knowledge on sustainable urban planning and development.
The inaugural meeting of the Global Platform for Sustainable Cities (GPSC) kicked off on March 9 at the Sheraton Towers Hotel.
The project is being funded by the Global Environment Facility (GEF) - a global institution that finances environmental projects - and led by the World Bank.
The World Bank runs an Infrastructure and Urban Development Hub in Singapore and manages the platform program. A total of 23 cities in 11 countries are involved in the platform's pilot stage, with US$150 million set aside by GEF to fund urban projects proposed by participants.
Another aim is to build a network of cities and organizations sharing expertise on sustainable urban development, said Ede Ijjasz-Vasquez, World Bank's senior director for social, urban, rural and resilience global practice. "Linking knowledge to finance is critical to directing investment flows to quality and sustainability," he said.
He added that Singapore's success in urban planning will provide a model for emerging cities.
The launch was part of the Singapore Urban Week, supported by local agencies such as the Urban Redevelopment Authority and the Public Utilities Board.
GPSC's pilot includes seven cities in China getting $36 million under the GEF grant to explore how to integrate urban development with transit lines.
World Bank Singapore Urban Hub head Abhas Jha said sustainability must become part of the focus of funding infrastructure. "Anyone can build roads and bridges. But increasingly, cities are looking for more solutions to complex issues, projects that also integrate the urban, social and environmental aspects to improve livability...While the funding gap is always there for infrastructure development, the knowledge for that integration is also crucial. That's why this new platform matters."
For additional reading regarding sustainable development, please refer to the following links:
A Look Back at Sustainability in 2015
7 Easy Sustainability Actions from COP21 Paris 2015 that will Make a Difference
Best Practices in Sustainability
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