The Expert Group Meeting (EGM) for the Fifth Asia Pacific Urban Forum (APUF) was organized by United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP) on 10th-11th February 2011 in Bangkok, Thailand. AIT was represented by Dr. Naveed Anwar and Justin Arnold Finch of AIT Consulting, as well as Prof. Vilas Nitivattananon and Dr. Ranjith Perera, Associate Professors of the Urban Environment Management field of study in the School of Environment, Resources and Development, AIT.
The substantive objectives of the EGM were as follows:
· To finalize the APUF-5 theme
· Participants to provide feedback on ESCAP’s proposal for a common substantive framework
· To identify the priority issues to be discussed during APUF
· To jointly elaborate on what the common substantive framework may mean for each of these in terms of concrete policies and activities
In terms of organizational issues, the EGM aimed to clarify:
· Which sessions and events partners would organize or co-organize
· What form substantive inputs to APUF would take and who would prepare them
· What format and aims the output document from APUF should have
· Which high-level speakers and guests should be invited
The EGM was held to substantively link APUF with major regional and global processes such as the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and the advancement of the Rio+20 agenda. The focus was also on developing a common substantive framework that reflected the fundamental challenges and opportunities of making the region’s cities and towns more sustainable, inclusive and livable over the next decades. The focus was also on encompassing the key development ‘threads’ or ‘dimensions’ common to key urban issues.
The EGM was also attended by the representatives from Asian Coalition for Housing Rights, Institute for Liberty and Democracy, United Cities and Local Governments, LOGOTRI Asia Pacific Secretariat, Cities Development Initiative for Asia, French Embassy, Cardiff University, and Local Government for Sustainability (ICLEI), South Asia Secretariat. The United Nation organizations that were represented included: United Nations Development Programme, United Nations Environment Programme, United Nations Human Settlements Programme, UN Millenium Campaign, UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, and UN Children’s Fund.