At the eighth Asia-Pacific Urban Forum, young people and businesses shared their views on urbanization and resilient growth in Asia-Pacific at the Youth and Business Assemblies.
Led by Habitat for Humanity, both events engaged attendees in meaningful exchanges and in sharing insights on urbanization and sustainable solutions across the regions.
Here is a glimpse into some of the highlights from these two events.
Highlights from the 2023 Asia-Pacific Youth Assembly
It was Luis Noda, Asia-Pacific Vice President for Habitat for Humanity, who perfectly captured the purpose of this event.
“I believe that the blueprints of great housing solutions are in your hands – the leaders of today and the future.”
Throughout the day, there were dozens of memorable moments, such as this piece of wisdom from Eliza Sthapit, National Director of Nepal, who said during a breakout session:
“To be able to create sustainable cities, you have to create communities that know what it means… It’s also looking at the practicalities of how people survive.”
In addition to insightful discussions, the 2023 Asia-Pacific Youth Assembly was also treated to a traditional Korean dancing performance by students from Hanyang University.
The finalists of the Youth Solutions Micro-Grant, the initiative designed to support young people to start, replicate, or scale up housing solutions in the Asia-Pacific Region, were also in attendance. The nine individuals met with ESCAP Executive Secretary Armida Salsiah Alisjahbana to discuss their projects. You can learn more about their initiatives here.
It was a thought-provoking day for all the young people who attended, and summarized nicely by Luis Noda at the end of the event.
“Knowledge without action is futile. Use whatever you have learned and experienced today as a springboard. Create solutions and influence decision-makers. Together, let’s ensure equitable access to adequate housing for all and achieve sustainable, inclusive cities.”
Highlights from the 2023 Asia-Pacific Urban Forum Business Assembly
“Businesses need to understand that people and planets are important for markets to grow. The development sector needs to understand that when businesses create shared value, they need to profit for businesses to continue. Otherwise, businesses become part of the problem rather than part of the solution.”
BRANDi CEO Piyachart (Arm) Isarabhakdee covered various topics at the 2023 Asia-Pacific Urban Forum Business Assembly, including investments, marketplaces, and sustainability.
He would go on to explain that economic growth is easy to quantify but that sustainability data is difficult. Technology is required to obtain data for executives so they can make the right ESG decisions.
“We need to think of sustainability not as a cost but as an investment.“
Sheela Patel from SPARC shared the importance of empowering people from low-income communities in speaking up to different stakeholders about their community needs.
“We want to build partnerships of federations and networks of poor people and build movements. This is about power relations. We encourage negotiations based on data and people’s recommended solutions.”
HTMX Industries CEO Harlan Stone also provided many pearls of wisdom. He even echoed the famous quote from Charles Richter that earthquakes do not kill people. Buildings and unsafe structures do. Another highlight was his thoughts on artificial intelligence.
“If you don’t have an AI strategy, you are behind. It’s not an opportunity to reduce employment but to expand the productivity of your team and communicate intelligently with your marketplace.”
He concluded with a memorable message to all the regional corporate leaders, ESG experts, public sector decision-makers, sustainable urbanization practitioners, and entrepreneurs who attended the event.
“There’s a lot of good to be done. Don’t let anyone talk you out of doing good.”