Asia Pacific Water Forum / Asian Development Bank / International Water Centre / International Water Management Institute / Global Water Partnership

ASIA Focus- Water Sensitive & Livable Green Cities in Asia

Tuesday 28 August | 16.00-17.30 | Room: FH 202

Designing water sensitive and livable green cities is about making strides toward eco-friendliness, holistic urban planning, innovative resilient environmentally friendly urban architecture and spatial planning, improved water resources management, introduction to the circular economy cycle, and helping residents to live better.

The event will discuss practices coming from Australia, China, Japan, India, Sri Lanka, and Vietnam that have coped with wastewater, use of urban wetlands, environment degradation, water-related disaster risks, as well as citizen’s education and mobilization. It will show how each city has managed to include water as a key factor of sustainable, resilient and green urban development, as well as how they have managed to promote the policies and measures to make livable cities restoring water related ecosystem. They include participatory methods of planning, nature-based solutions, from grey to green infrastructure design, and community-based efforts. 

Through presentations, panel and round table discussions, the event will stress the necessityfor each city to enhance awareness about environmental-friendly and nature-based solutions which provide a range of sustainable water supply services and accelerate innovation in wastewater treatment as well as restore water related ecosystems, in order to make cities more livable and resilient from water-related disaster. 


16:00  Overview of this session

Mr. François Brikké, Senior Networking Officer, Global Water Partnership  

16:05 Keynote on Water Sensitive Cities : 

  • A Wetland Management Strategy for Livable Cities and Urban Resilience: Wetland city of Colombo Dr. Chris Dickens, Principal Researcher, International Water Management Institute (IWMI) (on behalf of Dr Priyanie Amerasinghe, Senior Researcher, IWMI)
  • Building capacity for change: a key challenge for the delivery of water sensitive cities, Dr. Brian S. McIntosh, Education Director, International Water Centre (IWC)

16:20 Panel of Case Studies  

  •  Urban groundwater, Challenges and Possibilities in India by Bishwadeep Ghose of the Arghyam Foundation
  •  Case Studies in Vietnam, Mr. Norio Saito, Deputy Country Director Viet Nam Resident Mission (VRM) Southeast Asia Department (SERD), Asian Development Bank (ADB)
  •  ICHARM's activities on water-related disaster and flood management in Asia(Cases of Philippines, Myanmar and Sri Lanka), Dr. Tatsuya Ikeda, Chief Researcher, International Centre for Hazard and Risk Management (ICHARM) 
  • Sponge cities in China, Dr. Zhang Hongping, Senior hydraulic engineer, Institute of Water Resource and Hydropower of China (IWHR) 
  • Kitakyushu's transition toward Water Sensitive and Livable Green Cities,  Ms. Yumiko Asayama, Manager, Japan Water Forum, Secretariat of Asia-Pacific Water Forum (APWF)

16:45  Panel Discussion, interacting with audience
Pathways that lead to design water-sensitive and livable green cities in Asia
(Panel discussion with audience will be conducted making use of Mentimeter) 

  • Panelists:  The above Speakers
  • Moderator: Mr. François Brikké, Senior Networking Officer, Global Water Partnership  

17:25   Summary & Wrap Up 
Mr. François Brikké, Senior Networking Officer, Global Water Partnership  


This session discussed how each city in Asia has managed to include water as a key factor of sustainable, resilient and green urban development. It also discussed how they had managed to promote the policies and measures to make livable, resilient, sustainable, and productive cities restoring water related ecosystem. The case studies about a wetland management in Colombo, Sri Lanka, Secondary Green Cities Development Project in Vinh Yen, Hue and Ha Giang in Vietnam, water-related disaster and flood management in Philippines, Myanmar, and Sri Lanka, Sponge Cities in China, and Kitakyushu City’s transition toward Water Sensitive and Livable Green City demonstrated the approaches and pathways, including how each city promoted the policies and measures by gaining cooperation from multi-stakeholders of community, and how they aimed to overcome their challenges.

   In Panel discussion, this session used the Mentimeter to conduct interactive discussion with audience. In Asia, where is rapidly developing today, the need for the development of a green city through sensible water resource management has been gradually recognized, however, almost all audience considered the level of integration between urban and environment is low. When we asked the priority action for developing green cities by making 5 multiple choices, such as finance, infrastructure, governance, behavior change and stakeholders’ participation, the majority answered governance was the priority action in Asia. The design and pathways to realize waster sensitive and green cities are different in accordance with each city where there is also difference from the view of geopolitically and political economy. The speakers and audience of this session highlighted the necessity to develop enabling environment which all stakeholders join the decision-making process of the city development to examine the pathways toward the healthy, livable, resilient, sustainable, and productive and green cities. 


  1. Cities have to recognize that Livable Cities are created by multiple sectors coming together. Therefore, multisector platforms/steering committees/working groups should develop portfolios that are complimentary to plan for transformative adaptations that might be needed during urbanization.
  2. Develop robust policies, rules and regulations that support urban resilience

Initiatives, tools or networks that support the learning objectives or that have fostered the goals of our session

Development of a wetland management strategy that contributes to building urban resilience. It looks not only at the infrastructure development but also how to reduce the vulnerabilities of people.

Multi-sector platforms bringing stakeholders together, to discuss common issues that affect livability. E.g. A cabinet memorandum on the conservation of wetlands, was successful for the city of Colombo. Joint action was a powerful lobby to take the message to the decision makers at the top.

International Flood Initiative 

Kitakyushu Model, which is the Support tools to examine:

  • future ideal city image and for cities to take appropriate measures and procedures to achieve this.
  • management systems for waste, energy, water and sewage services, and environmental protection. 
  • sustainable master plans that integrates waste, energy, water and sewage services, and environmental protection.