The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) highlighted the need to improve the livability in Southeast Asian cities to effectively help them adapt to the impact of climate change.

The agency made the statement before research and development (R&D) specialists from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and its development partners who gathered in Manila for a three-day conference on urban parks and green cities.

Held on October 11-13, the “R&D Conference on Urban Parks and Green Cities: A Sustainable Future in Southeast Asia” was organized by the DENR’s Ecosystems Research and Development Bureau (ERDB).

More than a hundred R&D specialists from Malaysia, Cambodia, Timor Leste, Indonesia, Bangladesh, Vietnam, Lao PDR, Singapore, Thailand, United Arab, India, and the Philippines took part in the conference.

DENR Undersecretary for Policy, Planning and International Affairs Jonas R. Leones was tasked to deliver the keynote address on behalf of Secretary Maria Antonia Yulo Loyzaga.

Leones urged the participants to work quickly and smartly in creating more partnerships on formulating science-based policies and implementing strategic work on the ground.

He also urged them to “not merely conduct and release research results in a timely manner, but also communicate the scientific information generated more effectively to our target stakeholders.”

Meanwhile, DENR Assistant Secretary for Policy, Planning, and Foreign Assisted and Special Projects Marcial C. Amaro formally opened the event on October 11.

In his welcome remarks, Amaro emphasized the overarching goal to make cities green, livable, and sustainable.

“Urban parks and green cities are integral to the health of people to build a sustainable future for all,” Amaro stressed.

“Strategies must focus on rethinking the development of cities, its parks, and their contribution to the protection of ecosystems, infrastructure, economy, and communities,” he added.


Significant topics related to urban and green cities were already presented during Day 1 by 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.

Also present at the opening were the two other plenary speakers Prof. Yun Hye Hwang of the National University of Singapore and Dr. Zulkiflee Abd Latif of the University Teknologi MARA in Malaysia. The two presented their papers on the management and impact of urban parks and urban governance and policies for greener cities, respectively.

The conference revolved on the three elements of green cities and parks—built environment or infrastructure, nature, and the citizens.

A total of 39 papers 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 were presented during the conference.

There was also an exhibit featuring 35 poster presentations that provide various strategies and measures toward attaining green cities for sustainable urban future.

The conference ended with a tour at selected urban parks in Metro Manila on October 13.###