The last few decades saw the dramatic expansion of megacities in Southeast Asia. The region has one of the fastest growing rates of urbanisation, with more than half of its residents living in urban areas.
Hugh Lim, Executive Director of Centre for Liveable Cities, weighs in on what it takes to build pandemic-proof and resilient cities based on the practices that worked and deficiencies that emerged during the COVID-19 pandemic.
He discusses the benefits of transforming Southeast Asian cities into smart cities, particularly the role that smart solutions play in accelerating post-pandemic recovery and ensuring urban resilience to future crises.
Cities are at the frontline of key global trends and challenges affecting the region, from pandemic to climate change and digitalisation to inclusive growth. Around half of ASEAN’s people already live in urban areas, and by 2025, a further 70 million people in this region will be city dwellers. Rapid urbanisation would place increasing pressures on most of these cities that may not be adequately equipped to deal with a growing range of potential threats.
ASEAN Secretary-General Dato Lim Jock Hoi talks to The ASEAN on the qualities and benefits of smart cities, as well as the ongoing initiatives to support the region’s 26 major cities in developing, updating, and implementing their smart city action plans under the ASEAN Smart Cities Network initiative.
Indigo derives from the Greek word “indikon,” meaning “from India.” The Indus valley civilisation in 4th century BC discovered that the Indigofera plant could produce a blue dye. A complex and time-consuming process of soaking, fermenting, and drying indigo leaves was developed to harness this dye, turning it into a valuable trading commodity.
Sharima’s passion and commitment to the field of social work shines through, whether she is amid the aftermath of a typhoon or flood or in the classroom mentoring the next cohort of social workers.
Known as the “4.0 innovative teacher” in Viet Nam, English language teacher Ha Anh Phuong introduces the use of technology to improve her students’ command of English. She employs a borderless classroom model to get her students engaged with students from other countries through various online platforms.
Phuong, who pursued her master’s degree in English at Hanoi University, also teaches through local TV shows and runs her own YouTube channel. She was among the top 10 finalists of Global Teacher Prize 2020, and in 2019, she was awarded the Innovative and Creative Teacher Prize by Viet Nam’s Department of Education and Training.
Forty-year-old Janice Lopez has worked for 14 years in Qatar as a retail industry administrative executive. Like millions of other Filipinos, Janice sought better employment overseas to provide for her family back home.
In 2015, she had a son, Jaden, and left him in the care of her family in the Philippines. He was later diagnosed with Down Syndrome and a congenital heart defect. Janice needed to continue working abroad to care for her son. Despite the financial and emotional challenges, she has taken care of many other children with special needs like Jaden too.
Dr. Mari Elka Pangestu addresses issues of power, representation, and equality. Before joining the World Bank as a managing director in 2020, she held various leadership positions in the Indonesian government, including as Minister of Trade (2004-2011) and as Minister of Tourism and Creative Economy (2011-2014).
UN Women Asia and the Pacific Regional Director Mohammad Naciri discusses the impact of the COVID-19 crisis on women, efforts to implement a gender-fair and gendersensitive pandemic recovery plan, and the continuing partnership between UN Women and ASEAN. He also talks about the role of male leaders, allies, and champions in advancing the gender equality agenda.
Emerging data and narratives from the ground indicate that the COVID-19 pandemic has increased the burden on women and girls and may be reversing the global progress made on achieving gender inclusion and equality.
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