Manila, Philippines – Improving the livability in cities and effectively adapting them to the impact of climate change is one of the biggest challenges that humanity is facing today. This statement sums up why the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) thru the Ecosystems Research and Development Bureau (ERDB) organized the R&D Conference on Urban Parks and Green Cities: A Sustainable Future in Southeast Asia.

The R&D Conference opened on October 11, 2022 at the Diamond Hotel, Metro Manila, Philippines. Present in the activity are more than a hundred participants who joined either faceto-face or online. Countries present include Malaysia, Cambodia, Timor Leste, Indonesia, Bangladesh, Vietnam, Lao PDR, Singapore, Thailand, UAE, India, and the Philippines.

The conference provides a platform for more than a hundred participants coming from various sectors in Southeast Asia to exchange information on the generated R & D for sustainable development and management of parks and green cities.

Highlighting the opening program was the keynote speech delivered by the DENR Undersecretary for Policy, Planning, and International Affairs Atty. Jonas R. Leones on behalf of the DENR Secretary Antonia Yulo-Loyzaga.

In the keynote speech, DENR urged the participants to work quickly and smartly in creating more partnerships on formulating science-based policies and implementing strategic work on the ground. DENR also urged the participants not to merely conduct and release research results in a timely manner but also communicate the scientific information generated more effectively to the target stakeholders.

Meanwhile, For. Marcial C. Amaro, DENR Assistant Secretary for Policy, Planning, and Foreign Assisted and Special Projects formally opened the event. In his welcome remarks, he emphasized the overarching goal to make cities green, livable, and sustainable which is the one of the conference’s area of discussion.

Urban parks and green cities are integral to the health of people to build a sustainable future for all. Strategies must focus on rethinking the development of cities, its parks, and their contribution to the protection of ecosystems, infrastructure, economy, and communities”, highlighted Asec. Amaro during the opening of the conference.

Significant topics related to urban and green cities were already presented during the day 1 by the two plenary speakers – Dr. Simplicia A. Pasicolan, former ERDB Chief Science Research Specialist and Dr. Gem B. Castillo from Resource and Environmental Economics Foundation of the Philippines, Inc.

Other key personalities present in the event include the DENR Assistant Secretary for Policy, Planning and Foreign Assisted and Special Projects, For. Marcial C. Amaro, Jr. and plenary speakers including Prof. Yun Hye Hwang of the National University of the Singapore and Dr. Zulkiflee Abd Latif of the University Teknologi MARA in Malaysia. The two plenary speakers are set to present their papers on the management and impact of urban parks and urban governance and policies for greener cities, respectively.

The three-day conference will revolve into the elements of green cities and parks which are the built environment or infrastructure, nature, and the citizens. A total of 39 paper presenters will also be presenting various papers evolving on Green and Resilient Urban Communities; Urban Biodiversity, Ecosystem, and Economics; Management and Impact of Urban Parks and Urban Governance and Policies for Greener Cities will be presented.

The Conference’s exhibit also showcases 35 poster presentations that provides various strategies and measures towards attaining green cuties for sustainable urban future. The conference will run until October 12 and will end with a tour at selected urban parks in Metro Manila on October 13. Adreana Santos-Remo

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