On 9 December 2015, at the Cities & Regions Pavilion – TAP2015 cities from Mongolia, Japan, and Chinese Taipei presented projects that are part of the Transformative Actions Program (TAP). While the projects were distinct in location and focus, intercity collaboration and measurement, reporting and verification (MRV) arose as strong themes throughout the presentations.
Mayor Bat-Uul Erdene of Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia joined Xuedu LU from the Asian Development Bank (ADB) to discuss green urban development and climate finance priorities, agreeing on the importance of integrated development and public-private partnerships to propel sustainable development.
Mayor Bat-Uul Erdene opened the session by showing how the city is implementing low-carbon development strategies. The City of Ulaanbaatar has established an integrated green development policy that paves a sustainable path for the city. Recognizing that green policies must be supported with strong institutions, Ulaanbaatar has also established a green development institute that incorporates all key urban development authorities.
Ulaanbaatar is currently working with the central government to direct financial resources to a green development fund that support projects like the “Thermo-Technical Retrofitting of Public Schools and Kindergartens and Private Apartment Buildings” – a TAP project in Ulaanbaatar. Through this initiative, the city is insulating its 1,077 prefabricated apartment buildings, 42 schools and 50 kindergartens.
Pilot projects thus far have had promising results, yielding a thirty percent heat loss reduction, and saving enough energy to power 9,404 apartment buildings. The initiative has the potential to save USD 2.3 million in energy costs and requires USD 405.3 million in next 10 to 15 years for apartments and USD 37.6 million for schools and kindergartens in next 5 years.
Xuedu LU of ADB discussed the promotion of low-carbon development in Asia, noting the high demand among developing countries for financial resources, technology and capacity building. ADB is investing heavily in climate action, providing USD 2.1 billion for mitigation and 719 million for adaptation in 2014 and plans to double its climate finance by 2020, reaching USD 4 billion for mitigation and 2 billion for adaptation. As part of its climate finance strategy, ADB aims to mainstream climate technologies and strengthen the enabling environment for low-carbon investment in developing countries, leveraging venture capital and private equity to change the funding landscape. ADB has also set up the IPEx Cleantech Asia platform, the first low-carbon technology exchange that brings together selected technology providers and users in Asia.
The second segment of the session featured TAP projects from the cities of Yokohama, Kyoto and Tokyo, Japan.
The City of Yokohama has established the Y-Port Center, or Yokohama Partnership of Resources and Technologies, which is designed to facilitate intercity information transfer to strengthen sustainable development practice. The center helps cities improve processes to measure, report and verify transformative actions and to utilize financial resources.
The City of Yokoshima has established an agreement with the City of Da Nang to create the Da Nang Urban Development Forum, providing a platform through which the cities discuss sustainability development policy, ultimately supporting Da Nang in becoming a sustainable tourism destination with improved waste management, electric car sharing and smart city principles.
The City of Kyoto presented its “Do You Kyoto?” project, a phrase which asks citizens whether they are taking action to improve the environment. Kyoto first started planning measures to combat climate change after COP3 in 1997, when nations agreed on the Kyoto Protocol, and the word “Kyoto” has since become a symbolic term for eco-activity. Kyoto has designated the 16th of every month as the “Do You Kyoto?” Day to commemorate 16 February 2005, when the Kyoto Protocol entered into force.
The City of Tokyo presented its cap-and-trade program, which has successfully reduced the emissions intensity in the city. Through the program, Tokyo has set a cap on emissions from 1,300 facilities – primarily commercial buildings, which account for 20 percent of total urban emissions. Each building must reduce emissions by at least 6 percent between 2010 and 2014 and at least 15 percent between 2015 and 2019.
Tokyo began in 2002 with mandatory reporting for large buildings and transitioned to reporting with a rating system, before rolling out the current system of mandatory reductions with trading and verified reporting. Tokyo has also noted the importance of stakeholder engagement for successful implementation as well as feedback through the benchmarking program.
As an additional step to transfer the system to other cities, Tokyo has established a bilateral cooperation with Putrajaya and Iskandar, Malaysia.
Taichung City, Chinese Taipei described its “City Food Forest” project, which aims to strengthen the urban food supply, by creating a “food forest” connected to 10 communities. The project also intends to strengthen cooperation among stakeholders in the city by facilitating connections among government departments, non-governmental organizations and the public, and will ultimately expand channels for selling agricultural products, revitalize abandoned farmland and instill the idea of eating local and seasonal foods.
The City of PingTung aims to build smart microgrid technologies to become self-reliant in terms of energy, a move that helps secure the city against the risk of blackouts during storms. PingTung experienced a month-long blackout after Typhoon Morakot in 2009, and the city determined that green, microgrid energy was the best course of action. PingTun also intends to use the project to raise awareness of energy savings and change local energy consumption practices.
The “Climate Change and Sustainability Promotion Program” in Kaohsiung City crosscuts many aspects of urban development, including disaster management, infrastructure, water and land resources, energy supply, agricultural production, biodiversity, low-carbon development, among other dimensions of sustainable urban planning. The project aims to transform society by constructing parks and green space, advocating coastal protection, promoting water conservation and implementing flood drainage plans downstream.