1st Urban Nexus National-Local Dialogue organized in Indonesia
The first Urban Nexus National-Local Dialogue was organized by UN ESCAP in partnership with ICLEI SEAS and GIZ in Jakarta, Indonesia, on 26 October 2015.

The first Urban Nexus National-Local Dialogue was organized by UN ESCAP in partnership with ICLEI Southeast Asia Secretariat (ICLEI SEAS) and GIZ in Jakarta, Indonesia, on 26 October 2015. The Dialogue serves as a platform for exchange between local, provincial, and national levels of government on issues concerning the water, food (land), and energy sectors, in order to address challenges arising from the city-level Urban Nexus initiatives.

The Urban Nexus is a three-year regional project commissioned by the German Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and implemented by GIZ. The project focuses on the synergies between the ‘nexus’ sectors of water, energy, and food, with link to land use. ICLEI SEAS serves as implementation partner in Indonesia and the Philippines. Pekanbaru and Tanjung Pinang are the two pilot cities in Indonesia.

The Dialogue was attended by 45 participants, including representatives from two city governments (the pilot cities) and the provincial governments of Riau and Riau Islands, national government officials from the various ministries relevant to the nexus such as the Ministry of Public Works and Housing (MoPWH), Ministry of Environment and Forestry (MoEF), Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources (MoENR), and representatives of city networks, financing institutions, and international donors.

Mr. Wedar Adji from BAPPENAS (Ministry of National Development Planning) opened the Dialogue by delivering a keynote address on National Urban Development Policy. He explained the Urban Development Roadmap 2015-2045 comprising the national government’s targets to achieve livable cities in 2025, green and resilient cities in 2035, and sustainable cities in 2045. Against this backdrop and on the basis of the National Medium Term Development Plan 2015-2019, BAPPENAS supports GIZ in building capacity of the pilot cities for integrated urban resource management under the Urban Nexus project.

The Urban Nexus is anchored on the implementation of concrete pilot projects. Pekanbaru and Tanjung Pinang intends to address their solid waste problems by implementing Bantan’s model of Sustainable Sanitary Landfill to Energy System (SSLTES) and observing the option to apply advanced technology (Maximum Yield Technology/MYT) which requires much less space. In addition to solid waste, Tanjung Pinang plans to work on its wastewater issues in the coastal settlement of Senggarang by implementing the vacuum sewerage system, considered as an effective, low-emission technology for sanitation in coastal areas.

Mr. Sofyan, head of Bappeda (regional development planning agency) Pekanbaru presented the challenges and opportunities of implementing Urban Nexus in the city. He highlighted several challenges, including lack of municipality budget; lack of comprehension by the local, municipal, and provincial government on the Nexus concept; and lack of coordination between different levels of government. He also explained the importance of embedding the Urban Nexus in planning documents moving forward.

In Tanjung Pinang, the challenges are not much different. Mr. Lis Darmansyah, Mayor of Tanjung Pinang, mentioned the difficulty of obtaining funding from third parties to implement Nexus initiatives. “Due to its limitation, we can’t depend on local budget only,” he said. He also acknowledged the lack of qualified and capacitated human resources as one of the challenges that needs to be addressed.

On the financing gap, Ms. Emma Sri Martini, President Director of PT Sarana Multi Infrastruktur (PT SMI) explained that as a state-owned enterprise, PT SMI has a mandate from the national government to extend loan facilities to municipalities for urban infrastructure. PT SMI provides long-term loans (10-25 years) for regional governments and short-term loans (5 years) for local governments, coinciding with the Mayors’ tenureship. Mr. Edward Abdurrahman from MoPWH also informed that his agency has a budget to support the construction of sanitation infrastructure including sanitary landfill, with the condition the local governments will provide the land. Moreover, Mr. Hudha Wijayanto from MoENR explained their program on promoting renewable energy in which they could support local government initiatives on waste to energy by providing grants.

On the topic of institutional, policy, and regulatory frameworks for Urban Nexus, Mr. Hudha discussed the scheme of feed-in tariff for renewable energy. By law, the state electricity company PT Perusahaan Listrik Negara (PT PLN) has an obligation to purchase the energy produced by landfills (biogas) for the price issued by MoENR. “That’s why it is important to involve PT PLN from the beginning at the feasibility study stage, to make sure there won’t be any issue with regard to connection,” he said. Ms. Haruki Agustina from MoEF also shared the national government policies on tax reduction for waste-to-energy projects and incentives available for renewable energy and 3R (Reduce, Reuse and Recycle). She pointed out that it is important for the pilot cities to pay attention to the regulations on waste management and the standards for leachate treatment issued by the MoEF (such as Law No. 18 Year 2008 concerning Solid Waste Management).

As for local government capacity building, Ms. Haruki disclosed her agency’s program to train local governments and communities to do composting and 3R. “Moreover, we have national coordination meetings where we gather all cities to provide technical assistance and discuss various environmental issues such as solid waste and wastewater,” she said.

In all, the Dialogue succeeded in (i) mapping the existing opportunities for financing Nexus initiatives from the national government and private sector; and (ii) identifying critical components of regulatory and institutional frameworks to facilitate impementation of Nexus initiatives. Moving forward, city-specific dialogues for Pekanbaru and Tanjung Pinang shall be conducted so that the findings of the Dialogue can be translated into concrete actions to help implement the Nexus initiatives.

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