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Green Urbanization in Asia: Paradox or Win-Win Scenario?

Date: 4 Jun 2013

  • Time: 13.00 - 14.30
  • Location: UNOG Library, Library Events Room B-135
  • Counterpart(s): UNCTAD ALDC Division, UNOG Library
  • Project Title: UNRISD Seminar Series

Green Urbanization in Asia: Paradox or Win-Win Scenario?
This event has already taken place. To download the podcast of the seminar (50 MB), click "Media Files" on the panel on the right and then click again on the link that appears.

This UNRISD seminar was held in partnership with the UNCTAD Seminar Series on Trade and Poverty and UNOG Library Talks.

Green urbanization

Environmental sustainability and rapid urbanization in Asia seem to stand in opposition to each other, but is this really the case?

Asia is home to almost half of the global urban population and is urbanizing at a pace faster than any other region, resulting in unprecedented growth in the number of urban residents and of densely populated megacities. Consequently, the region will be confronted with major environmental challenges such as air pollution, congestion, increasing CO2 emissions, lack of water and basic sanitation, and growing vulnerability to natural disasters.

But with urbanization comes the rise of the middle-class and property ownership, the development of the service sector, declining fertility, increased educational attainment and, more importantly, innovations in green technology. These urbanization-related forces can help in combining environmental improvement and economic growth to produce positive outcomes.

The environment-urbanization nexus

In this seminar, Guanghua Wan explores the environment-urbanization nexus in Asia and offers a cautiously optimistic environmental perspective for the region as it urbanizes. He also advances suggestions for government interventions to ensure a green pathway to urbanization in Asia.

His presentation draws on “Green Urbanization in Asia”, the special chapter leading the ADB’s Key Indicators for Asia and the Pacific 2012 report, for which Dr. Wan was the lead author.

Speaker: Guanghua Wan, Principal Economist, Asian Development Bank. Prior to his appointment at the ADB he was Senior Economist with the United Nations University’s World Institute for Development Economic Research. He has taught at various universities in Australia and China, and is Honorary Professor at Fudan University and other universities in China. With specializations in development economics and econometrics, he is a pioneer in developing regression-based decomposition techniques for inequality and poverty accounting. Dr. Wan is a leading scholar on the Chinese economy and an expert on Asia.

Discussant: Claudia Assmann, Programme Officer, Economics and Trade Branch, Division of Technology, Industry and Economics, UNEP. She specializes in green economy financing/investment and South-South cooperation in the framework of a green economy and has previously worked for the German Agency for International Cooperation (GIZ), and as a consultant for the World Bank, UNDP, and the Bolivian government.

Opening words: Taffere Tesfachew, Director ALDC for UNCTAD and Jenifer Freedman, Head of Communications and Outreach for UNRISD.

Moderator: David A. Chikvaidze, Chief Librarian.


The UNOG Library has prepared a bibliography to accompany the seminar.

Remote access to the seminar

If you were not in Geneva to attend the event, there are three ways to access the seminar:
  • We tweeted key messages live from the seminar. Follow us on @UNRISD and #UNRISDseminar
  • An audio recording is available for download on this web page above under "Media Files".
  • The speaker's slides are available at the top of the page.


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