Integrated Resource Management in Asian Cities: the Urban NEXUS

The urban population in Asia is growing by 44 million people per year. This rapid urbanization brings about major challenges for urban supply and municipal utilities. In particular, when it comes to water supply and sanitation systems, energy supply and energy efficiency, land use and food security, most Asian cities have reached a critical situation already today that jeopardizes sustainable development. Municipal administrations in Asia plan and manage along sectorial lines and not in an integrated manner. Thus, they are not able to fully utilize the interaction and synergies in the three nexus sectors (i.e. water, energy and food security) and their related potentials during the implementation processes. The underlying causes go back to a wide range of responsibilities and competences, often lying with the regional and national level, that is, beyond the immediate sphere of influence of the city governments.

During the recent Rio+20 Conference in May 2012 the issues of water, energy and food security and their interrelationship gained greater international attention and now play a major role with regard to the UN Post 2015 Agenda, the SDG to be approved and the upcoming HABITAT III Conference in 2016.

Objectives and approaches:

The project aims to develop capacities (institutional and personnel) for integrated urban resource management in selected 
Asian cities.

The project focus is on the topics of secure water supply and sanitation systems, energy security and efficiency, land use, physical planning and food security. Moreover knowledge and experience sharing and cooperation between public, private and civil-society stakeholders is essential. Strategically, the project focuses on two core elements. On the one hand, it will be key to identifying and developing nexus initiatives that will demonstrate in an exemplary way how to integrate the nexus approach into urban planning and development processes. On the other hand, the regional exchange and dissemination of successful practical approaches to integrated resource management is undertaken through efficient networking.

The following city partners/countries are participating:

- Ulan Bator (1,200,000 inhabitants), Mongolia
- Rizhao (2,880,000 inhabitants)China
- Weifang/Binhai Development Zone (9,000,000/150,000 inhabitants), China
- Korat (150,000 inhabitants) Thailand
- Chiang Mai (150,000 inhabitants), Thailand
- Da Nang (770,000 inhabitants), Vietnam
- Pekanbaru (1.000.000 inhabitants) Indonesia
- Tanjung Pinang (230.000 inhabitants) Indonesia
- Naga City (180,000 inhabitants) Philippines
- Santa Rosa, (330,000 inhabitants) Philippines

The project is based on a multi-level approach. The central starting point is the local level with the municipal administrations/planning offices that receive advisory services for an improved integration of their resource management in the sectors of energy, water and food security. At the meso-level, among others, city associations, training institutions and non- governmental organizations are crucial stakeholders. At the macro-level, the project targets national ministries and at international level to ensure that it is linked to the international Rio+20, the UN Post 2015 Agenda, the SDG and the HABITAT III debate.

Cooperation with the partner cities is marked by the establishment of Nexus Task Forces with representatives from key offices and departments and/or focal persons. The consultation process involves policy-makers at the national, regional and local level as well as the concerned communities. While UN ESCAP is the political partner organization, ICLEI - Local Governments for Sustainability – South East Asia (SEA) is the implementing organization.

Contact information

  • Ms. Ruth Erlbeck
    Project Director
    Tel:+66 2 288 2142  
  • United Nations, Rajadamnern Nok Avenue,
    UN ESCAP Building, 5th Floor, 
    Environment and Development Division