Asia-Pacific leaders to share post-pandemic plans

Countdown to Brisbane 2032
Countdown to Brisbane 2032

Leaders from across the Asia-Pacific will gather at a Griffith University-led forum today to share visions for their cities in the wake of a global pandemic.

The University, through the Griffith Asia Institute and the Cities Research Institute, is leading the City Leaders’ Forum at this week’s Asia Pacific Cities Summit (APCS).

Griffith Asia Institute Director Professor Caitlin Byrne said city officials from across the Asia-Pacific faced similar challenges as they worked towards social recovery and economic reconstruction through the COVID-19 pandemic.

Professor Caitlin Byrne.

“Cities will be at the frontline of major challenges and opportunities facing the way individuals, families and communities live and interact into the future,” she said.

“It’s a complex agenda, from delivering sustainable and inclusive services, to ensuring resilient infrastructure in the face of climate change.

“The solutions will be different for different city contexts but developing the necessary networks that enable us to learn, adapt and innovate together will ensure we are better equipped to face the challenges of the future.

“Connecting these leaders and cultivating opportunities for constructive dialogue and exchange is a significant feature of the 2021 APCS.”

Cities Research Institute Director Professor Paul Burton said Brisbane’s COVID-19 recovery posed significant opportunities for the city over the next decade.

Professor Paul Burton.

“While Brisbane and the wider South East Queensland region have to cope with the long-term economic impacts of the pandemic, we have a great opportunity to align our economic recovery plans with preparations for hosting the Olympics and Paralympics,” Professor Burton said.

“The 2032 Olympic and Paralympic Games bring a unique and strategic opportunity for South East Queensland city leaders to drive an agenda of recovery and renewal in our region for the next decade,” Professor Byrne agreed.

“While the Games event should be a priority focus, it’s also critical for city leaders across the Asia-Pacific to consider what kind of legacy — social, economic and environmental — they can shape now for the decades that follow the 2032 Games.”

Professor Byrne said the forum facilitated collaboration among the region’s decision-makers.

“City leaders play an increasingly important role in shaping the way that cities of the Asia-Pacific grow and expand,” Professor Byrne said.

“Not only do they deal with the day-to-day complexities of urban existence, but they are also charged with delivering a vision of more liveable, sustainable, inclusive and resilient city environments for diverse populations.

“The City Leaders’ Forum offers the unique opportunity for city leaders from across our Asia-Pacific neighbourhood to share their expertise, learn from each other and create collaborative networks for better decision-making and more effective leadership.”

She said the forum also provided a critical opportunity for relationship building between delegates.

“The economies of the Asia-Pacific region will be central to long-term economic recovery from COVID-19,” she said.

“Australia must invest in building connections between current and future leaders — of cities, business, industry and community partners’ and to develop a shared understanding of the challenges and opportunities ahead.

“This forum provides the unique platform for fostering the necessary international networks and collaborations that will underpin Australia’s constructive engagement in the region for years to come.”

The Asia Pacific Cities Summit runs from September 8-12 in a blended in-person and virtual format, so those unable to travel due to the pandemic are still able to attend.