About the Forum

Asia Urban Resilience Finance Forum 2017
24 – 25 May 2017, Bangkok, Thailand

USAID in partnership with ADB, CDIA and UNDP is planning a forum entitled Asia Urban Resilience Finance Forum 2017. The forum will focus on the capacity needs of cities and governments to develop robust resilience plans and project proposals, and will serve as a platform to showcase key lessons and achievements in financing urban resilience.

More than ever before, people are moving to cities in hopes of finding economic opportunity for themselves and their families. Over half of the world’s population now lives in cities, with the urban percentage set to surge to 70 percent by 2050 globally – or 6.5 billion people[1]. More than 60 percent of the projected increase in the global urban population will take place in the Asia-Pacific region, and more than half of that growth will occur in cities with less than half a million people. Between 1980 and 2010, the region’s cities grew by around one billion people. United Nations projections show they will add another one billion by 2040[2].

With over one billion city-dwellers in the Asia-Pacific region, building adaptive capacity and decreasing vulnerability to climate change in urban areas is increasingly important – particularly in many secondary Asian cities, which are burdened by an ever-increasing population and where citizens lack access to basic infrastructure. While the challenges are considerable, much progress can be achieved by aligning the goals of urban planning and development with those of climate change adaptation and resilience building.

Access to finance is critical for cities to go forward.  Despite cities contributing up to 80 percent of global GDP, their municipal revenues and national transfers remain largely insufficient to meet their large and pressing urban infrastructure investment needs. Accessing global finance can be a challenge and development partners are not a significant funding source. Since only few secondary cities can develop robust tax bases, the ability to attract funds from market sources remains difficult because of their limited financial management capacity and/or because the legislative framework limits access to capital markets or other commercial financing sources. In addition, many cities lack capacity to identify, prioritize, develop and manage a viable pipeline investment projects. Hence, lack of capacity to direct and/or absorb existing financing opportunities remains a major challenge that prevents cities from acting effectively towards their resilient future.

Building resilient cities requires both capital intensive, inclusive infrastructural investments as well as investment in softer measures such as institutional strengthening and coordination, information systems and long-term planning mechanisms.  Such an effort would constitute the most important ‘transformational change’ or ‘paradigm shift’ needed under the climate agenda.  Asia Urban Resilience Finance Forum 2017 hence focuses on exploring key ingredients required to achieve such a paradigm shift.


Recognizing the unique value of close interaction and mutual learning between participants from a wide range of backgrounds and professional experiences, Asia Urban Resilience Finance Forum 2017 aims at creating an opportunity for a practical, hands on approach. The Forum will host a limited number of participants – 60 to 80 – to allow for innovative networking activities, smaller group breakthrough sessions, participatory panel discussions and sharing of joint conclusions.

Expected Outcomes

The forum’s objectives will include the following:

  • Share experiences, lessons, and best practices from countries, cities, and development partners on current activities and emerging trends in urban resilience and climate finance;
  • Promote a dialogue among forum participants to identify key challenges, priorities, and capacity needs for building urban resilience in Asia;
  • Bring together investors and cities to deepen the understanding of mutual requirements and constraints, and possibly pursue a partnership;
  • Explore innovative ways to finance climate resilience; and
  • Encourage peer learning and possible twinning partnerships among cities, to share experiences and best practices in building urban resilience to climate change.

Target Participants

Target forum participants will consist of the following key groups:

  • City and national government representatives currently working on urban resilience strengthening in their cities;
  • Selected academia, civil society and private sector stakeholders contributing to urban climate resilience;
  • USAID, ADB, CDIA and UNDP partners and beneficiaries working in urban resilience and climate finance including representatives from cities and government institutions ; and
  • Development partners from leading multilateral, bilateral, regional, and national organizations that have been working on urban resilience including, but not limited to 100RC, GCF, AF, USAID bi-lateral mission, and others.

Forum Partners

USAID will collaborate with ADB, CDIA and UNDP as key partners for the forum. Partners contribute to both technical content and resources to organize the forum. USAID, ADB, CDIA and UNDP will also seek collaboration with other development partners including 100RC, ICLEI, Global Energy Basel, GIZ, AF, GCF, JICA and MOEJ. Partners may contribute by helping to organize one or multiple sessions, organize break-out sessions, or sponsor participants to the forum. 

Venue and Timing

The forum will be organized on 24 and 25 May 2017 in Bangkok, Thailand, at Anantara Siam Bangkok Hotel. The date of 26 May will be dedicated to activities unilaterally organized by selected development partners. Participants will be presented with a choice of these activities to enroll into during the Forum. 

[1] United Nations Development Programme. “Goal 11: Sustainable cities and communities” Accessed February 24, 2016. http://www.undp.org/content/undp/en/home/sdgoverview/post-2015-development-agenda/goal-11.html.
[2] United Nations Human Settlements Programme and The United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific. “The State of Asian and Pacific Cities 2015: Urban transformations Shifting from quantity to quality.” Last modified October 19, 2015. http://www.unescap.org/resources/state-asian-and-pacific-cities-2015-urban-transformationsshifting-quantity-quality