event 03 Jul 2014

Urban Nexus // "Nexus is about to become mainstream"

The third regional workshop on "Integrated Resource Management in Asian cities: the Urban Nexus" took place from 25-27 June, 2014 in Da Nang, Viet Nam organised by GIZ in cooperation with UN ESCAP and ICLEI SEAS. The workshop concentrated on innovative technologies with regard to waste water management creating the link to energy, irrigation water and fertilizer/night soil generation ("close the loop") as well as on alternative concepts of solid waste treatment (Maximum Yield Technology/MYT).

tag Governance tag Urban Nexus globe Asia
Shutterstock 184018916 cities

The project (thereafter called "Urban Nexus Project") is financed by the German Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and implemented by GIZ in cooperation with UN ESCAP, ICLEI SEAS and the Urban Nexus partner cities. The workshop was attended by more than 95 participants from Germany, Indonesia, Mongolia, Philippines, Thailand and Viet Nam. Among them were Honourable John Bongat, Major of Naga City from the Philippines and Mr. B. Badral, City Manager of Ulan Bator from Mongolia.

The Nexus approach is of great relevance for the formulation of the indicators to measure the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), currently being discussed in the framework of the UN as a follow-up to the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) after 2015. There are a lot of international Nexus conferences taking place all over the World since the November 2011 Nexus Conference in Bonn held by the two German Federal Ministries of Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and of Environment and Construction disclosed the discussion.

The middle class population is growing globally, in particular in Asia. With the existing consumption patterns, there will be a shortage of food, water and energy latest by 2050 (9 billion inhabitants worldwide expected). Cultural changes and new concepts of well-being are required if 9 billion people are to be fed worldwide by 2050. Affordable housing was considered a perfect Urban Nexus approach, focusing on integrated planning by considering basic infrastructure provision (water, waste water & solid waste management including energy generation linked to urban agriculture) for housing and promoting inclusive cities integrating lower income groups.

At the workshop, Urban Nexus Partner cities presented their progress with regard to Urban Nexus demonstration projects while the Ministries presented their concepts heading towards urban nexus framework conditions, and committed themselves to work even harder to foster integrated, cross sectoral planning also creating an enabling environment for economizing on the consumption of water and energy.

Mr. Phung Tan Viet, Vice Chairman of Da Nang's People's Committee and Dr. Hans Dieter Stell, Honourable Consul of the German Embassy in Viet Nam inaugurated the Urban Nexus workshop by welcoming the participants to Da Nang. The reason for choosing Da Nang lies in the relentless support of Da Nang's People's Committee (DPC) as well as the Department for Planning and Investment (DPI) combined with a strong commitment to promote Urban Nexus. The first Urban Nexus demonstration project on waste water vacuum sewer collection is ready for implementation.

A separation of waste water and surface water collection is of extreme urgency, as "in case of flooding, people these days do not walk in rain water but in swimming fecal matters from the septic tanks" expressed Ralph Trosse, Technical Director of the Urban Nexus Project.

From the governance point of view the Fraunhofer Institute for Industrial Engineering (IAO), UN ESCAP and ICLEI SEA presented methods and results of city profiling and city benchmarking as well as the institutionalization of the Urban Nexus approach.

In his opening remarks, Donovan Storey, Chief, Sustainable Urban Development Section, Environment and Development Division, ESCAP underlined the importance of addressing growing gaps between urban resource use and sustainability, within the context of the region's rapid urban transformation. He emphasized the importance of the meeting with regard to the proposed sustainable development goals, the emerging agenda of Habitat III, and towards strengthening a commitment to and an understanding of urban nexus in the region.

Victorino E. Aquitania, Regional Director of ICLEI SEAS proposed to initiate national round table discussions to enhance an enabling policy framework for the Urban Nexus approach, as laws are still very much sectoral. Such discussions can also be used as a platform to facilitate exchanges between national and local government actors.

Ruth Erlbeck, GIZ Nexus Project Director emphasized that the nexus approach aims at integrated, holistic planning and implementation of energy, water and food security — silo mentality should be abandoned. Instead, holistic, cross sectoral management should dominate our actions to optimize on synergies, mobilize saving potentials on energy, water and food intensifying their inter-linkages. Nexus is about to become "mainstream"- at least in theory - combined with the debate on resilient cities. However, the evidence that Nexus pays off has still to be strengthened.

It was clearly agreed upon that private enterprises are part and parcel of the Urban Nexus approach — often already practised within the private sector — leading to a win-win situation if we join hands.

Source: GIZ Press Release


Stephanie Bilgram
Global Nexus Secretariat


Stay up to date!

We inform you about current projects, events, actions, publications and news!