GEORGE TOWN, August 9 — Penang State Exco Jagdeep Singh Deo announced today that Penang will be hosting the largest urban forum in Asia — the seventh Asia-Pacific Urban Forum (APUF7) this October.
The local government, housing development and town and country planning committee chairman said it is the first time the international event will be held in Malaysia, with Penang selected to host the event.
“We are selected for this forum which puts us on the international landscape, we will be getting leaders from all over the region to see how we can move forward towards and urban agenda for sustainable development,” he said during a press conference with Penang Island City Council (MBPP) Mayor Datuk Yew Tung Seang at Komtar this morning.
He said the forum is an important event that will see mayors from all over the region and the country attending to share experiences and their visions on sustainable development.
“I believe that at the end of the forum, we will be able to formulate a new agenda called the Penang Agenda 2019 for sustainable development,” he said.
The main highlight of the forum is “The Cycling Mayors” on October 14, one day before the official opening on October 15.
”This is the first time such an event is being held in the country, maybe even in the world, to have mayors from all over cycle together on a dedicated bicycle lane,” he said.
The Cycling Mayors is open to mayors, council presidents and representatives from UN-Habitat and UN-ESCAP (Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific).
Jagdeep said participation is only limited to 150 cyclists so those interested should register for the event early.
“Housing and Local Government Minister Zuraida Kamarudin along with the Penang Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow and state excos are expected to lead the Cycling Mayors in the event,” he said.
The Cycling Mayors route will cover 14km starting from the Batu Maung Transfer Station and ending at Karpal Singh Drive.
“It will be a show of commitment to improve the quality of the urban environment and mobility, especially in creating a Cycling City,” he added.
Jagdeep said more than 3,000 participants from countries like China, Thailand, Indonesia, Philippines, Singapore, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, Bangladesh, India and many more are expected to take part in the forum.
The forum, co-organised by Urbanice Malaysia, the Malaysian Government, MBPP and UN-Habitat, serves as a platform to discuss the implementation of the New Urban Agenda, the Paris Agreement, Sendai Framework, Addis Ababa Action Framework and the 2030 Agenda in the region.
He said this year, the forum is themed "Future of Asia and Pacific Cities: Transformative Pathways to Achieve 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development".
The Future of Asia-Pacific Cities Report 2019 (FoAPC) will be launched during the forum.
The report looks at the implementation of urban solutions across different typologies of cities against four critical development challenges - natural resource management, climate change, disaster risk and rising inequalities.
APUF7 will be held from October 15 to 17 at the SPICE Convention Centre.
There will be a “Potpourri Festival” at the Esplanade on the last night of forum to showcase cultural and art performances, Penang’s street food and artistic displays.
“On the last day, participants will also be brought on a site visit to the city council’s community engagement projects such as the Business Improvement District in Gurdwara Road, Sia Boey Rejuvenation Project and Lebuh Acheh restoration and repurposing of heritage houses for start-up companies,” he said.
APUF7 is the first forum to be held after the adoption of the 2030 Agenda and the Paris Climate Agreement in 2015 and the New Urban Agenda in 2016.
APUF is held every four to five years, with the inaugural event held in Bangkok in 1993. It has previously been held in countries such as Indonesia, Thailand and Vietnam.