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On 22 September, the AGPA Panel on Urban Governance in Asia: Future Challenges and Opportunities was held in Jinjiang Hall, New Century City International Exhibition Center, Chengdu, China. The two-hour panel was organized by Asian Group for Public Administration, and moderated by Prof. Zhiyong Lan from School of Public Administration, Tsinghua University, China. Prof. Jiang Wu, the President of AGPA delivered welcome address to the panel.
In the welcome address, Prof. Jiang Wu pointed out the challenges of urban governance facing Asia in the next decade. Currently, many mega cities have emerged in Asia and gradually grown into economic engines of the region and the world. Asian cities vary from eceonomic growth and cultural background, but share common characteristics such as large population. All these characteristics resulted in great challenges in urban governance. It should be more cautiously when dealing with such problems emerging in urban governance in Asia. Facing these challenges, in the future decade, Asian cities need to promote the transformation and upgrading of urban economy and technological innovation, and optimize urban space and earth utilization in a green and sustainable way. Asian cities should encourage urban engineers and residents to join the transformation of urban governance, so as to build innovative, sustainable and livable Asian cities, and further promote the development of Asia. He also expressed his expectation on the AGPA panel that the discussion could contribute to the outcomes of coordinated governance of Asian cities, and the development of public administration in Asia.
The moderator then invited speakers to deliver their presentations as follows:
1. Prof. Guang Chen, Dean of School of Public Administration, Southwest Jiaotong University, China
2. Prof. Kazuyuki Sasaki Meiji University, Japan
3.Prof. Lichia Saner-Yiu, President of Centre for Socio-Eco-Nomic Development (CSEND), Switzerland
4.Prof. Benjamin C. Abalos, Former Mayor, City Government of Mandaluyong, Phillipines
Prof. Guang Chen introduced development and governance of innovative cities, taking Chengdu as an example. He introduced the history, modernization and urbanization of Chengdu. Chengdu, as a city with a long history in southwest China, was now a highly urbanized and modernized city with rapid economic development. Based on Chengdu experience and lessons learned from the urbanization, he propsed 4 suggestions regarding to urban governance: 1) to confront changes with laws and regulations; 2) to strengthen facilities with humanity and wisdom; 3) to manage and govern by participation; 4) to encourage internal building and foreign exchanges by opening up.
The second speaker was Prof. Kazuyuki Sasaki from Japan. He illustrated changes of community life brought by urbanization and urban risk management by sharing Japanese practices and lessons.
The following speaker was Prof. Lichia Saner-Yiu from Switzerland. In her presentation, she reviewed the development of mega cities in Europe, to analyze challenges and opportunities facing urban governance. She visioned that the governance of mega cities should be based on a delicate and precise system. High quality workforce are needed to deal with systematic issues. The development of mega cities should be oriented towards the sustainable development goals to achieve a balanced urban development.
The last speaker was Prof. Benjamin Abalos from Phillipines. The title of his presentation is “Decentralized Urban Governance in Promoting Excellence in Public Service Mandaluyong City Metro Manila, Philippines Experience”. He traced back the history and pointed out that the Philippines has a centralized form of government under a democratic system. Decentralization efforts were initiated in the 70s and were focused on the administrative aspect of governance after the Local Government Code in 1991 came into effect. Elected local chief executives exemplified excellence in the use of their powers and become model leaders of the rest of the world. The local government code helped enhancing the local government autonomy and building their capability and capacity in generating local revenues, contributing to development. He further explored on the good practices of Mandaluyong City, a highly urbanized city in the heart of Metro Manila by looking at innovative programs and projects intended to bring excellence in public service delivery.
Prof. Zhiyong Lan made a short comment on the four speakers’ presentation. Four speakers tooks several questions from the audience.
In the end of the panel, on behalf of AGPA, Prof. Jiang Wu presented Outstanding Paper Awards to four speakers for their great support and excellent academic contribution. An Outstanding Countribution Award was given to Prof. Zhiyong Lan as the moderator, for his constant support to the develoment of AGPA.