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Mayor Chen Chu of Kaohsiung City (center) meets with Malé City delegation in November 2012.

ICLEI Members Kaohsiung City and Malé City benefit from sustainability mentorship program

February 06, 2013

Contributing to less than 0.01 percent of global greenhouse gas emission, Maldives – an archipelago with 80 percent of its territory one meter or less above sea level - is nonetheless at the forefront of climate change and its impacts.

In 2004, the Indian Ocean tsunami swept across 69 of the country’s islands, ravaging homes, infrastructures and livelihoods, and leaving some of the islands completely destroyed. 

Maldives’s capital city of , where one third of the country’s population finds its home, is especially vulnerable, as urbanization over the past two decades has put mounting pressure on the island’s already scarce resources and fragile infrastructure, including water, food and sewage facilities.

“Malé City has a population of about 100,000 people; thus, we need to ensure that our infrastructures such as waste management system and road constructions are well functioned to serve our people,” Ali Maniku, Mayor of Malé City spoke on behalf of his delegation during an official visit to Kaohsiung City in November 2012. 

During the trip, the delegation learned from Kaohsiung’s experience in promoting sustainable development in the environmental, social and cultural arena. They also visited several world-class sites, including Jhongdou Wetland Park, Xiaolin Village Memorial Park, and Kaohsiung City Dadong Arts Center – the latter two received the gold and silver awards of 2012 Liveable Communities – an international award honoring innovative projects on sustainability organized by UNEP and the U.K. based International Federation of Parks and Recreation Administration.  

At the end of the visit, the two Asian cities have agreed to become sister cities. They are now preparing the official documents to forge their partnership on sustainable development.

With remarkable achievements in promoting sustainable development, Kaohsiung City – the host of ICLEI Kaohsiung Capacity Center, was designated as one of the seven mentor cities, and was assigned as a mentor of Malé City at ICLEI World Congress 2012.

Some of the recent initiatives to promote low carbon urban development by the city government of Kaohsiung include expanding the public transport system, introducing hydrogen-powered buses and vehicles, and inviting 500 company leaders to sign the Bonn Declaration for voluntary energy saving. 

In 2011, Kaohsiung City has started its collaboration with the Japan-based Asian Center for a Low Carbon Society in Kitakyushu – also an ICLEI Member, to promote the development of green-energy and recycling industries, with a goal of cutting 30% of the city’s carbon emission by 2030.