Report: International Conference on Opportunities and Challenges in Sustainable Urban Living, March 14-16, 2013, Singapore

Resource Persons during the International Conference

Resource Persons during the International Conference

ABOUT THE EVENT

This conference is parallel with the Eco-products International Fair 2013 themed “One Environment, One Future: Towards a Sustainable & Greener Asia”. This International Conference on “Opportunities and Challenges in Sustainable Urban Living” is organized to address issues, opportunities, and challenges relating to sustainable urban living. It featured international speakers who are experts in their specific areas and shared the most up-to-date information on topics such as climate change, green procurement, urban waste management and green finance in order to achieve sustainable urban living.

Part of the conference is the technical exchanges, business networking and sites visits.

OBJECTIVES FOR PARTICIPATION

As a pioneer of eco-housing in the Philippines, my primary objective for participating in this international conference is to learn more on how we can develop, expand and achieve a sustainable living in a fast urbanizing developing country like the Philippines. I would want to hear and learn from the neighboring Asian and Western countries what their best practices were and the technologies applied to achieve these objectives of a greener Asia. My architecture and urban design practice kept me motivated to pursue in participating in this very important conference. My postgraduate study at The London School of Economics & Political Science-Master in City Design & Social Science is very much appropriate for this event.

PARTICIPANTS

There were 15 delegates, one from each of the following Asian countries: Bangladesh, Cambodia, India, Japan, Laos, Malaysia, Mongolia, Nepal, Pakistan, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Singapore, Taiwan, Vietnam. I am the sole representative from the Philippines.

SCOPE, CONTENT, METHODOLOGY

For the first day it started with the Opening ceremony and opening of the exhibits; followed by the conference right after lunch. On the second they there were 12 speakers from 9;00am to 5:00pm. The third and last day we had the site visit first followed by the city gallery tour and culminated with a guided tour of the Eco-products exhibit and then the awarding of the certificates thereafter.

Day 1, Plenary Session 1- Sustainable Urban Planning
Singapore Climate Change Strategy by: Mr. Yuen Sai Kuan
Smart Grid for Sustainable Urban Environment by: Mr. Son Jong Cheon
Business for Sustainable Energy & Environment by: Mr. Yukio Yanase

Day 2, Plenary Session 2- Innovations & Technology Trends
Keynote Speaker, Environmentally Sound Technologies by: Mr. Johannes Christian Wichard
Green Productivity (GP) Centered Sustainable 7 Inclusive Development by: Mr. Kazuyuki Sakai
The Integration of the Water Cycle for Sustainable Solutions by: Mr. Gerard Rundberg
Renewable Urban Energy Technology from Production to Storage and Use by: Prof. Uwe Hager
Natural Bio-surfactant using Sustainable Palm Oil by: Mr. Yusuke Saraya

Day 2, Plenary Session 3- Waste Management & Resource Recovery
Innovative Waste Management in Taiwan by: Dr. Harvey Houng
Integrated Solid Waste Management in Singapore by: Mr. Ong Soo San

Day 2, Plenary Session 4- Green Financing
Eco-finance Options for Improving Urban Environment by: Mr. Eiichiro Adachi
Role of Financial Institutions in Development of Urban Environment Infrastructures by: Mr. Thomas Pang

Day 2, Plenary Session 5- Green Standards & Green Procurement
Environment/Energy Rating/Labels/Standards for Household Appliances by; Mr. Ananda Ram Bhaskar
Eco-innovation in the Development of Product & Service & the Role of Green Purchasing by: Prof. Ryoichi Yamamoto
Green Building Standards and User-centric green Mark Schemes to Support Sustainable Urban Living in Singapore by: Ms. Leong-Kok Su Ming

Day 3, Site Visits
Punggol Eco-Town
URA Singapore Gallery
Guided tour of the Eco-products International Fair
Awarding of Certificates

OUTCOMES AND EVALUATION

The most important benefit acquired from participating in this conference is the network and the opening of avenues to the personalities and organizations that will eventually lead us to pursue or goals in creating a sustainable urban living environment. The sharing of knowledge comes most significantly in the technology and energy sector. That the key importance of manufacturing in production of consumer goods is knowing where and how the raw materials are grown and produced and the methods of manufacturing and distributions from ‘cradle to cradle’ is a very important aspect in deciding what product to patronize and what is more sustainable for consumption and good for the environment. The resource speakers are indeed all experts of their own fields. There are ‘hints’ of new source of energy source for a sustainable future like the ‘Hydrogen’ power but the technology in production of this energy source is not clearly elaborated due to patent protection. The only barrier of some speakers in delivering a clear-cut presentation is the fluency in the spoken ‘English’ language, which is understandably due to most of them are Japanese. The best presentation so far is the WATERNET technology form The Netherlands.

RECOMMENDATIONS AND ACTION STEPS

Having listened to all the presenters and their vision on how we can create a sustainable urban living in the near future, I must say that the Philippines is not ready at all, or we are far behind in the creating a sustainable urban development. There must be a white paper created in line with the vision for sustainable urban living. There must be a master plan or a template for development for every urbanizing city in the country. That the Philippines government must prioritize the implementation and construction of mass transit systems all over the country starting with the major cities like Cebu & Davao. Major urban infrastructure like utilities especially storm drain system are obsolete, neglected or under priority which most often is the cause of flooding for urban areas. Our organization the Philippine Institute of Interior Designers (PIID) has a small voice on these concerns. I can share to my organization all these information that I learned but most importantly it must we addressed in a national level particularly to all stake holders like policy makers, government agencies and the community that are most affected in the urban areas.

SUBMITTED BY:
ARCHITECT JAMES JAO
Executive Director for Finance
Philippine Institute of Interior Designers (PIID)

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