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 losses, 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 are due to a wide range of responsibilities and competences embedded with the provincial and national level, that is, beyond the immediate sphere of influence of the city governments.
In the framework of the project up to twelve selected cities in seven Asian countries will be supported with a view to nexuscompliant integrated resource management.
The module objective is: Nexus concepts are being increasingly considered/adopted in selected Asian cities and by relevant stakeholders.
The Nexus approach challenges existing structures, sector policies and procedures by highlighting:
• the interdependencies between water, energy and food security/land-use
• the synergies and competing uses of water, land and energy-related resources
• a fundamental shift, from a sectoral to a cross-sectoral, integrated approach.
The project focus is on the creation of resilient (economically, socially, ecologically, politically) cities through innovative technologies, standards and semi- decentralized, cross sectoral infrastructure projects (physical infrastructure/ ”hard-ware”) e.g:
• Waste to energy & water reuse,
• Waste water to energy, water reuse, nutrients for agriculture
• Replacement of old water pumps (energy gains) & reduction of water losses
• Energy efficiency of buildings, energy savings, renewable energies
and people-centered development (social infrastructure/ “software“, “leave no one behind”), decentralization along subsidiarity principles, empowerment of cities within the framework of a circular economy approach (return/reuse/recycle/recover).
Strategically, the project focuses on two core elements : (1) Nexus infrastructure projects on the basis of pre- and feasiblity studies demonstrate in an exemplary way how to integrate the nexus approach into urban planning and development processes for improving urban services. (2) Regional experience sharing on integrated resource management is undertaken through regular and face-to-face networking, workshops, peer-to-peer learning and technical training.
The project is based on a multi-level approach. The starting point is at the local level with the municipal administrations/planning offices receiving advisory services to improve their resource management in the sectors of energy, water and food security/land-use. At the meso-level, city associations, training institutions and non-governmental organizations among others, are crucial stakeholders.
At the macro-level, the project targets national ministries. Vertical and horizontal integration promote a better understanding between the different levels within the countries promoting the role of cities as “key drivers of development“. Inter-communal cooperation is enhanced by horizontal integration in particular to solve problems often reaching beyond the administrative boundaries of a city such as solid waste management or watershed management. Respective structures for “clustering“ (e.g. special purpose associations) have to be reinforced with GIZ acting as facilitator for new formats of communication and cooperation.
At the international level, the Urban Nexus is linked to implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the New Urban Agenda of HABITAT III and the Paris Climate Agreement serving as “tool“ for the implementation of the global agendas within the countries.
Cooperation with the partner cities is marked by the establishment of Nexus Task Forces with representatives from key offices, departments and/or focal persons. Moreover, MoU uphold the cooperation framework. While UN ESCAP is the political partner organization, ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability – South and South East Asia are the implementing organizations.
More than 30 infrastructure projects are ready for implementation or have already been implemented in the Nexus partner cities amounting to an estimated investment volume of EUR 300 million. Innovative, cross-sectorial engineering solutions have been introduced with corresponding investment as well as operation and maintenance costs. Technologies such as vacuum sewer waste water collection, decentralized treatment facilities as well as Maximum Yield Technology (MYT) for solid waste management not only consider the recovery and reuse of valuable resources, but also the land-use dimension. “Land is gold”, hence innovative technologies improving the resilience of cities have to economize on land consumption as urban centers are increasingly running out of land.
The introduced technologies reflect decentralized approaches and reuse concepts. However, being modular systems, they can also be integrated into existing grid systems. In order to scale up innovative green technical solutions, financial incentive mechanisms including cost covery and consumption oriented tariffs have to be gradually introduced.