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City Hall passes ASEAN torch to Jakarta as forums wrap up

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The MGMAC and AMF 2022 meetings came to a conclusion on December 3 with all parties in attendance expressing positive sentiments on results. CAPITAL ADMINISTRATION

City Hall passes ASEAN torch to Jakarta as forums wrap up

ASEAN mayors are committed to tackling today’s most pressing challenges in order to develop their cities to meet the needs of their people.

The commitment came as the ASEAN Mayors’ Forum (AMF) and the Meeting of Governors/Mayors of ASEAN Capitals (MGMAC) drew to a close with “brilliant” results, according to the Phnom Penh Municipal Hall.

“The MGMAC and the AMF 2022 meetings ended successfully with great results, with all cities of ASEAN countries gaining experience in solving challenges for the development of its city to meet the needs of the people,” City Hall stated on its website on December 3.

Speaking at the closing ceremony of the AMF on December 3, Phnom Penh governor Khuong Sreng said that ASEAN capital leaders had actively participated in the forum with a realistic vision for the future and constructive thinking to help each other to contribute to the improvement of the discussion, which is a recommendation for the common direction of ASEAN city development.

“The ASEAN leaders agreed on the importance of partnership and cooperation for sub-national administrations in responding to common challenges based on a spirit of solidarity and high responsibility which is an essential basis for promoting economic and social recovery in the aftermath of the Covid-19 crisis,” he said.

He added that ASEAN mayors have agreed to accelerate the building of smart cities with climate resilience, revolutionary sustainability and inclusion in a new normal way. They discussed in depth the importance and necessity of good cooperation among ASEAN capitals, provincial administrations, sister cities and ASEAN cities in order to promote smart, resilient and sustainable cities.

The forum and meeting issued two documents: The Joint Statement of the MGMAC, which consists of six important points and the statement of the AMF or the “Phnom Penh Declaration 2022”, which contains 12 points.

“These two historic documents clearly reflect the common will and commitment of the governors and deputy governors of capitals, provinces and cities of ASEAN member countries to join hands and move forward together and promote cooperation to build smarter, resilient and sustainable cities for economic growth and prosperity in line with the ASEAN Community Vision 2025 and beyond 2025,” Sreng said.

The municipal administration of Jakarta will take over the rotating chairmanship of the MGMAC and AMF in 2023, with a commitment to continue ensuring that it serve as a forum for discussion, sharing experiences, new initiatives and innovations for the growth of the ASEAN sub-national administrative network.

Bernadia Irawati Tjandradewi, secretary-general of the United Cities and Local Governments: Asia-Pacific (UCLG:ASPAC), said at the closing ceremony that discussions, solutions and experiences from other capitals and cities, which were discussed at the two meetings, were all inputs used for strengthening and managing the documents produced as outcomes of the two conferences.

Phnom Penh City Hall website quoted her as saying that today’s meeting and forum is a foundation for further strengthening cooperation in the ASEAN region. She also commended the efforts of all ASEAN capitals in making themselves resilient, sustainable and intelligent.

Thong Mengdavid, a research fellow at the Asian Vision Institute’s Mekong Centre for Strategic Studies, told The Post that Cambodia’s goal is to link infrastructure development and urban planning in the provinces and cities sustainably and inclusively for the benefit of people and local development.

“The long-term planning, master plan and policy of smart city development is to respond to the social and regional issues that the world is facing, such as natural disasters, climate change, population growth, welfare and environmental issues and so on. All these issues need to be supported by ASEAN members and ASEAN development partners,” he said.

Separately, Phnom Penh and Bangkok, Thailand have agreed to set up a technical working group to jointly plan for the development of the two cities, especially to jointly solve garbage, traffic problems and improve the tourism of the two countries.

The agreement was reached during a bilateral meeting between Sreng and his counterpart Chadchart Sittipunt, Governor of Bangkok, on the evening of December 2.

“As a neighbouring country, we need to work well together and form a working group to communicate with each other and work together, especially to strengthen cooperation between the two countries and the two cities over the challenges of garbage, traffic congestion and the promotion of direct flights from Phnom Penh to Bangkok,” Chadchart said.

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