|Pongtip Puvacharoen works at the World Bank's East Asia and Pacific stand on the first day of Carbon Expo in Barcelona.
As promised, here's my first update from Barcelona and the CarbonExpo. Today is the first official day of the Expo, and my colleague from Bangkok, Pongtip Puvacharoen, and I basically just finished helping the World Bank's East Asian clients – China, Indonesia, Mongolia, the Philippines, and Thailand – set up the East Asia and Pacific Pavilion.
This year's CarbonExpo focuses on the efforts of cities to increase their sustainability by introducing clean transport, improve air quality, increase the production of renewable energy, and improve energy efficiency. I do love living in cities, in particular "megacities" of over 8 million inhabitants. But I am also a big fan of trees, green spots in between the concrete, and a fresh breeze – some things I sometimes miss in the U.S. and in East Asian metropolises.
This is why I really thought it important that Jakarta (Indonesia), Tianjin (China), and Bangkok (Thailand), participated in the Symposium on Cities, Climate Change, and Finance, co-organized by the World Bank, the Spanish government, and the City of Barcelona. After all cleaner, greener, and more livable cities are good for all of a city's inhabitants, rich and poor, and help improve living standards and the health of its people.
It's not just about making cities more livable and cleaner, but also about actually saving cities from the looming disasters such as increased storms, floods, and water and energy shortages. And this is quite imminent in East Asia. Bangkok for example is threatened by rising sea levels and also needs to diversify and protect its water and energy sources.
Therefore, among the many programs and actions discussed at the Cities Symposium, one struck me most: the twinning program to help cities build capacity to implement the policies, projects and institutional mechanisms needed to manage the change to become a sustainable city. Under this program, Bangkok and Paris decided on Tuesday to pair with each other and establish a knowledge exchange program for climate change and city management. Via this program, both cities can test out new methodologies for a comprehensive city-wide approach to climate change.
Check back on the blog for more on the first days of CarbonExpo, or you can follow us on Twitter.