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Leaders design city action plans with Singapore's Temasek Foundation

In response to real challenges their cities face, Temasek Foundation Leaders in Urban Governance Programme (TFLUGP) participants worked with Singapore experts to develop concrete action plans to be implemented back home. The Centre for Liveable Cities Singapore (CLC) will help track the implementation of these plans over the next 12 months, and possibly offer advisory inputs in some cases. 

The 2nd TFLUGP ran from 27–31 May 2013. This is a mayoral programme designed for city leaders interested in developing high-density, yet liveable, sustainable, and economically competitive cities. The participants comprised 31 senior officials from 11 cities across seven Asian countries, namely, India, Indonesia, Laos, Myanmar, the Philippines, Sri Lanka and Vietnam. Encouraged by last year’s successful run, the administrations of Luang Prabang and Metro Colombo returned with more senior teams this year. 

Supported by Temasek Foundation through a grant of S$674,000 over two years, this collaboration with CLC gave participants the opportunity to learn about Singapore’s urban strategies through the lens of CLC’s Framework for Liveable and Sustainable Cities. Participants learned about the work of agencies such as the Urban Redevelopment Authority, Housing and Development Board, National Parks Board, Singapore Land Authority, Land Transport Authority and PUB, the National Water Agency. 

Using Singapore case studies, city leaders discussed issues and shared experiences on common urban challenges, from managing water and environment quality to creating jobs and providing homes. Participants also visited the Singapore River, Toa Payoh New Town, Treelodge at Punggol, Marina Barrage and Gardens by the Bay, to witness first-hand Singapore’s integrated approach to urban governance, planning and development. 

Minister for the Environment and Water Resources, Dr Vivian Balakrishnan, and former Minister for National Development, Mr Mah Bow Tan, shared their insights and experiences in governance through dialogues with the participants. Singapore’s urban pioneers such as Dr Leong Chee Chiew, Mr Teo Eng Cheong, Dr Cheong Koon Hean and more also guided participants as thematic facilitators through the process of exploring and dissecting the complexity of their respective challenges to suggest how to improve their action plans, which would be implemented as real projects and programmes when the participants return to their home cities. 

One such project, by the Metro Manila Development Authority, aims to overcome implementation challenges to deliver metro-wide urban services across the local boundaries of the 16 cities and one municipality. Mrs Cristina Velasco, a participant and consultant for the Metro Manila Development Authority, Philippines shared that “Singapore is very brave in taking bold steps even if they commit mistakes along the way, but they have pride in all the victories… and they are very, very selfless in sharing all these with us so we appreciate that very much.” 

The inaugural TFLUGP, held in June 2012, continues to see positive outcomes. A team from Kuching North, led by Mayor Datuk Haji Abang Abdul Wahap, credited TFLUGP with helping them to improve their Clean, Beautiful and Safe (CBS) Enhancement Plan 2013–2017, a five-year plan for Kuching North. He said, “We came up with the CBS catchphrase in Singapore last year. After returning to Kuching, we conducted more workshops, and then further developed the plans. So you can say that it was ‘Made in Singapore, Born in Kuching’”. 

The next TFLUGP will be conducted in mid-2014, and participants will be invited to apply in January 2014.

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