Project Updates

Here we present updates on significant PolyUrbanWaters project activities and milestones. We are also on social media:

World Urban Forum 10: PolyUrbanWaters workshop
World Urban Forum 10: PolyUrbanWaters presentation
World Urban Forum 10: PolyUrbanWaters partners

8–13 February 2020

World Urban Forum (WUF 10): Cities as Opportunities—Connecting Culture and Innovation

Representatives of the PolyUrbanWaters network from Cambodia, Germany, Indonesia and Laos attended the 10th World Urban Forum held in Abu Dhabi, UAE. During a workshop for project partners, participants discussed the major findings that have emerged thus far from the project definition phase. Partners from Cambodia, Laos and Indonesia confirmed the relevance of the PolyUrbanWaters approach for the development of water-sensitive cities in the context of rapid urbanization in Southeast Asia.

Our experience at WUF 10 underlined that a core principle of PolyUrbanWaters—addressing “water in the city” as a holistic concept for intersectoral cooperation between stakeholders in partner cities (horizontal level) and national government bodies (vertical level)—can be a valid contribution to localizing the SDGs and translating the New Urban Agenda into partner city realities.

The coming months will see a further specification of locally tailored PolyUrbanWaters approaches in partner cities. These are:

  • Sleman: Water-sensitive community development
  • Sam Neua: Water for the future—proactive planning for water-sensitive urban development
  • Kratié: Living with water = Water-resilient urban development

January 2020

Sleman study results: Community-based organizations play a significant role in improving water management

PolyUrbanWaters partner AKSANSI, a Yogyakarta-based NGO, conducted a study on the institutional change dynamics of local/provincial government structures and the potential of co-production between households/local governments and the private sector for water-related basic needs in Sleman, Yogyakarta. The study analyzed the results and performance of 300 community-based water supply and wastewater management schemes in peri-urban and rural areas of Sleman Regency.

The main outcome of the study showed the significance of such entities in improving both the quantity and the quality of the local water supply. At the same time it is also clear that a process of institutionalization and professionalization is needed where water operators play a crucial role in the provision of water-related basic services. New mechanisms of co-production between water operators, community-based organizations and households will need to be developed and implemented in accordance with local capacities.

21 December 2019

Developing a Market for Polycentric Wastewater Treatment Solutions: First Findings from AIT Study

The Asian Institute of Technology (AIT), Bangkok, has begun conducting a study on the drivers of market development for polycentric wastewater treatment solutions in Thailand. The aim is to foster a comprehensive understanding of how an enabling regulatory environment can support substantial engagement of the private sector, even in less wealthy neighborhoods. First findings show that innovative incentive schemes are crucial for overcoming deficiencies in public structures and for mobilizing private-sector engagement to establish a water-sensitive infrastructure that contributes to inclusiveness in Thai society.

15 December 2019

Localizing National SDG Policy in Cambodia: CIUS Study to Lay Groundwork for Pilot Activities

The Cambodian Institute of Urban Studies (CIUS) has begun elaborating a study to explore the evolving context of national SDG policy in Cambodia in water/urban development and the challenges of breaking these down at the local level. The study encompasses governance structures, mandates and financial schemes as well as the capacities of public structures, the private sector and civil society. Existing policies, tools and potential instruments for establishing water-sensitive infrastructure will be identified. The study is meant to situate upcoming PolyUrbanWaters pilot activities in Kratie within a national context.

Vietnam Academy of Water - PolyUrbanWaters study group

4 December 2019

Water-Sensitive Cities in Vietnam: Assessing Opportunities & Constraints

As a PolyUrbanWaters project partner, the Vietnam Academy for Water Resources (VAWR) has begun conducting an assessment of the opportunities and constraints that local government structures face in supporting the development of water-sensitive cities. In addition to identifying entry points for the localization of SDGs in the urban water sector, the study will contribute to the specification of the “Polycentric approaches to the management of urban waters” concept in Vietnam.

Southeast Asia: Climate Change Vulnerability (2019)
Southeast Asia: Climate Change Adaptive Capacity Index (2019)

November–December 2019

Adapting to Climate Change: Strategic Support for PolyUrbanWaters Pilot Cities from the City of Bremen

The Free Hanseatic City of Bremen’s Ministry for Climate Protection, the Environment, Mobility, Urban and Housing Development is supporting PolyUrbanWaters by sharing its experience with the formulation and implementation of climate change adaptation strategies. A first profiling was done to contextualize the situation Kratié, Cambodia and Sam Neua, Laos with respect to the Cambodia Climate Change Strategic Plan 2014–2023 and the Lao PDR’s Strategy on Climate Change (2010).

Key recommendations for the research and development phase of the PolyUrbanWaters project are intended to support processes in the pilot cities under the rubric of:

  • Kratié: Flood resilient and clean city on the Mekong River
  • Planning for a Sustainable Future in Sam Neua
Sleman, Indonesia

15 November 2019

Contextual Studies in Sleman, Indonesia: Defining the Importance of Water

During the second PolyUrbanWaters mission in Sleman, project partners from Universitas Gadjah Mada, Kota Kita, TU Berlin and TH Köln carryied out contextual studies in Sleman’s urban and peri-urban areas. The focus was on defining the importance of water in a city along with its challenges and understanding in the community.

Sam Neua, Laos

11 November 2019

Second Mission in Sam Neua, Laos: Assessing the Complexities of a Green City Vision

During the second PolyUrbanWaters mission in Sam Neua, project partners from TH Köln, BORDA and the City of Bremen participated in constructive brainstorming sessions with local decision makers and visited potential sites for PolyUrbanWaters implementation. The focus of the project team was to assess the complex interconnections between the green city vision of Sam Neua and the expected socio-economic, environmental and climatic changes in the region.

Kratié, Cambodia

7 November 2019

Scoping Workshops and Studies in Kratie, Cambodia

During kick-off workshops in Kratie, the PolyUrbanWaters team together with partner consortia and local stakeholders conducted contextual studies and defined potential local sites for implementation of polycentric approaches to urban water management. The aim: localizing multifunctional, livable public spaces, with their characteristic and various challenges in urban transformation.

PolyUrbanWaters visit to Kratie, Cambodia

29 October 2019

Assessment in Kratié (Cambodia) and Second Mission to Sam Neua (Laos) and Sleman (Indonesia)

In the November–December 2019 mission, the PolyUrbanWaters team will visit project sites in each city to conduct scoping workshops and contextual studies, with the aim of defining partner consortia and local sites for implementation of polycentric approaches to urban water management. Particular points for discussion and evaluation will be the topic of water in the city and options for each city to become water-sensitive and climate change-resilient. The field work will serve to define key transformation challenges that are relevant for the development of fast-growing, peri-urban areas, highlighting possible synergies and co-benefits between water and urban development issues. In addition, the project team will conduct stakeholder and process analyses to identify the main actors (including local communities) for involvement in the project implementation.

PolyUrbanWaters at launch of Penang Platform for Sustainable Urbanization

19 October 2019

Launch of Penang Platform for Sustainable Urbanization

Following the agreements made at the coordination meeting with UNESCAP in September 2019, PolyUrbanWaters contributed to the launch of the Penang Platform for Sustainable Urbanization. The aim is to integrate “water” much more in inter-sectorial city planning than is currently the practice, with the development and implementation of innovative instruments for financing water-sensitive cities as a key element in the transformation to sustainable urban areas.

September 2019

Hamburg Wasser Study: Supporting a Better Understanding of Impacts in Water-Related Development

Hamburg Wasser, one of the largest water utilities in Germany, undertook a study on how SDG-orientated planning may support water-sensitive urban development. The findings show that SDG-orientated urban planning may create disclosure on strategic elements of urban development. A respective analysis may give decision makers a better understanding of the impacts of water-related infrastructure development in its multidimensionality (health, eco-systems, livability in cities, etc.). It may open the perspective of city managers from a purely output driven decision making towards a more impact driven decision making that invites affected or concerned departments to participate in the process.

All SDG-orientated decision making or tool development should take into account possibilities and basic conditions for pricing and budgeting in the municipalities. To be assessed is the extent to which intersectoral collaboration in a specific city creates incentives for relevant stakeholders involved in the decision-making process.

PoluUrbanWaters launch in Sam Neua, Laos

15 September 2019

Kick-Off of PolyUrbanWaters in Vientiane and Sam Neua, Laos

PolyUrbanWaters was launched in Laos from 9-13 September 2019. The Laos Department of Housing and Urban Planning underlined the need to spur new approaches to ensure effective provision of water-related public services and to support water-sensitive urban development in Laos’ small and medium-sized towns. The province and city administrations welcomed PolyUrbanWaters for its translation of the “Green, clean, beautiful and peaceful Sam Neua” policy in the area of managing urban waters. Visits to sites such as the new urban development area, the drinking water reservoirs, the municipal waste landfill and pilot sites for community based sanitation contributed to a first rapid assessment of water-related challenges in Sam Neua.

PolyUrbanWaters coordination meeting with UNESCAP

9 September 2019

Coordination Meeting with United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific

At a meeting in Bangkok at 6 September 2019, UNESCAP and a delegation from PolyUrbanWaters identified fields of cooperation. It was agreed that PolyUrbanWater will support the implementation of the Penang Platform for Sustainable Urbanization by continuously feeding project-developed tools (integrated urban planning, water sensitive urban development, financial tools) into this regional process and by facilitating the exchange of good practices between cities.

PolyUrbanWaters project kick-off in Sleman, Indonesia
PolyUrbanWaters site visit in Sleman, Indonesia: DEWATS in residential area

5 September 2019

Kick-Off of PolyUrbanWaters in Sleman, Indonesia

The PolyUrbanWaters Project officially started with kick-off workshop and visits in Sleman, Indonesia from 2-4 September 2019. Project partners, local municipalities and communities were involved in several working sessions, presentations, introductions and networking events. As part of the numerous activities in Sleman Regency, the project team conducted a wide range of field visits. These include the Kalibuntung riverside area in the Karangwaru district of Yogyakarta City, the IPA Gamping clean water treatment plant, the community-based drinking water provider PAMDES Tirtomakmur Kadirojo, the Embung Tambakboyo water retention basin, the IPLT Tinjon Madurejo sludge treatment plant, and the community-based water management organization OPA (Organisasi Pengelola Air) Tirtomulyo. Exchanges with representatives of the local government and the introduction of the PolyUrbanWaters project were the main focus of the workshop.

PolyUrbanWaters at World Urban Forum 9
PolyUrbanWaters at World Urban Forum 9: Workshop on polycentric approaches to localizing the SDGs

February 2018

PolyUrbanWaters at World Urban Forum 9 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

At WUF 9, held 8-17 February 2018, the outcome of the PolyUrbanWaters definition phase was discussed during a workshop and presented at two side events: one as part of the official program and one at the Federal Government of Germany’s booth. In the workshop, a first approach on strategic SDG planning was organized with the cities of Bac Ninh (Vietnam), Kratié (Cambodia), Leh (India), Sleman (Indonesia) and South Tangerang (Indonesia). In the participating cities and districts, water management issues are of central importance and reflect location-specific challenges. The dynamics of urban development make supply gaps and overuse of natural resources increasingly clear. Pollution of groundwater bodies is accompanied by problems such as increasing vulnerability to heavy rainfall events brought about by climate change. WUF 9 workshop participants agreed that water is a key to creating livable and inclusive cities. Polycentric approaches for the management of urban waters may contribute to an overall change of mindset in decision making that supports the localization of the SDGs.