Urbanization, economy, and environment – these three words practically sum up why the Department of Environment and Natural Resources thru the Ecosystems Research and Development Bureau organized the three-day Research and Development (R and D) Congress on Sustainable Urbanization in the course of ASEAN Economic Integration from June 27-29, 2017 at the Sofitel Hotel in Pasay City.

This R and Congress involved around 100 participants composed of established R and D practitioners from the ASEAN countries of Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam. There were also participants from non-ASEAN countries whose researches were conducted in Southeast Asia.

Consistent with the celebration of the ASEAN’s 50th Founding Anniversary wherein Philippines is the ASEAN Chair for 2017, the event aimed to provide a forum for the exchange of information on science-based strategies that can address sustainable urbanization in the course of ASEAN economic integration.

In his Welcome Remarks, ERDB Director Dr. Henry Adornado stressed that “Since ASEAN cities now play a critical role in the unfolding of the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC), it is timely to hold a congress that could provide an avenue for ERDB News Dispatch: R and D Congress On Sustainable Urbanization exchanging experiences that could push for a more robust and vibrant ASEAN community.”

On the other hand, DENR Secretary Roy A. Cimatu, in his Inspirational message, called everyone to protect the environment while striving to strengthen the economic capacity of the ASEAN Region.

“ASEAN megacities and other urbanizing areas play critical roles in the unfolding of ASEAN Economic Community” added Sec. Cimatu “I want you to know that the Philippines, through the DENR, espouses approaches to sustainable urbanization. I want to encourage everyone present here today to reconcile all efforts to make such strategies effective and fruitful. Let us be stewards of our natural resources and work on sustainable urbanization”, said Sec. Cimatu.

Meanwhile, Dr. Simplicia A. Pasicolan, Overall Coordinator, emphasized in her presentation that altogether, the Congress was organized with an aspiration to bring critical minds in unity and to fuel the pursuit of sustainable urbanization in the ASEAN region by marrying urbanization, economy, and environment. At the outset, Dr. Pasicolan stated that the participation of all people is very important as everyone contributes unitedly to achieve the 17 Sustainable Development Goals, SDG number 11 of which is the Sustainable Cities and Communities.

Significant sustainable urbanization-related topics that were discussed during the Day 1 of the Symposium include topics on the ASEAN Economic Community and Urban Metabolism for Inclusive Growth and also on Environment Protection amidst Industrialization for Sustainable Cities.

One of the key personalities present in the event was Dr. Cielito Habito who served as the Keynote Speaker. Meanwhile, Dr. Bharat Dahiya of Chulalongkorn University, an award winning urbanist and Architect Felino Palafox Jr, a world renowned urban planner, served as the plenary speakers for Day 1. Adreana S. Remo, TTD