A MORE sustainable development and management of urban parks and green cities across Southeast Asia is seen following the recently concluded regional research and development (R&D) conference held in Manila.
Director Maria Lourdes G. Ferrer of Ecosystems Research and Development Bureau (ERDB) of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) expressed hope the conference was able to stimulate new and stronger partnerships among ASEAN member countries for improved strategies, measures and policies to address environmental challenges faced by urban parks and green spaces.
The ERDB-hosted “R&D Conference on Urban Parks and Green Cities: A Sustainable Future in Southeast Asia,” which was held from October 11 to 13 in Manila, brought together R&D specialists from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) to discuss the future of urban parks and green cities in the region amid the threats of climate change and other environmental issues.
The research papers presented bared that due to rapid urbanization, metropolitan parks and green spaces are declining and are victims of mismanagement and overexploitation thereby placing environmental challenges and liveability risks.
“Through this scientific gathering, we have now started our partnership in our effort to help mitigate the effects not only of climate change but also of other environmental issues and concerns to the urban ecosystem in particular,” Ferrer said.
Ferrer said the conference was in line with DENR Secretary Maria Antonia Yulo Loyzaga’s directives to adopt science-based adaptation strategies in combating national and local effects of climate change.
Seventy-five research works written by local and international experts were presented which focused on Green and Resilient Urban Communities, Urban Biodiversity, Ecosystem and Economics, Management and Impact of Urban Parks, and Urban Governance and Policies of Greener Cities.
“We have shared a wealth of scientific information in this conference, and it is part of our responsibility as researchers and scientists to communicate these to those who could join hands with us in creating lasting change. These may be the national government policymakers, the local government units, even the communities,” Ferrer said.
Among the research works presented were studies from different urban parks and cities in Southeast Asia on the evaluation of ecosystem services, risk reduction planning and management, and public value and roles of urban parks.
Presentations also include the sustainability of water and sanitation, assessment of flora and fauna in urban areas, landscape restoration in urban parks, and policy review, formulation and institutional arrangement.
The conference participants were introduced to new research methodologies from each other’s works, stirring inspiration to replicate the studies and adapt them locally in their countries.
Ferrer said the ERDB aims to gather the experiences and studies from other ASEAN countries and determine strategies that can be used for policymaking and environmental programs for the Philippines.
The conference was attended by participants from Bangladesh, Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Timor Leste, United Arab Emirates, Vietnam, and the Philippines.
The said initiative supports the United Nations’ 11th sustainable development goal to make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient, and sustainable.