NordCham Philippines, together with the Embassies of Denmark, Norway, Sweden in Manila, the Embassy of Finland in Kuala Lumpur, and the Philippines Norway Business Council, organized the Nordic Ambassadors’ Forum on Smart and Sustainable Cities at the Dusit Thani Manila on November 20, 2019. Guided by the UN Sustainable Development Goals 9) Innovation and Infrastructure and 11) Sustainable Cities and Communities, the half-day forum brought together more than 100 smart city stakeholders in the private and public sectors for inspirational presentations, panel discussions, and sharing of company cases. The Nordic Ambassadors’ Forum was part of the 2019 NordStar Event Series on Innovation and Sustainability, supported by the Nordic Council of Ministers (Norden).
Nordic perspectives on smart and sustainable cities
With four Nordic capitals (Oslo, Copenhagen, Helsinki, Stockholm) ranking in the top 25 of the recently published IMD Smart City Index, the forum had the objectives to share perspectives on how to build a thriving smart city environment, and to discuss smart city best practices from the Nordic countries and their relevance in the Philippine context.
H.E. Grete Sillasen, Ambassador of Denmark to the Philippines highlighted the importance of designing cities for people, which emphasizes livability and inclusive urban planning. Amb Sillasen also focused on the role of energy efficiency and climate resiliency, as well as the will to change as key building blocks for smart cities, while underlining the role of public-private cooperation in smart city development.
Ambassador of Norway to the Philippines and Palau H.E. Bjorn Jahnsen cited transport and logistics, energy efficient buildings and housing, municipal technical infrastructure, social and administrative services as key elements in Norway’s approach to smart cities. Amb Jahnsen further highlighted innovative solutions on plastic waste collection, reverse vending, and air quality, adding that energy is the key sector from the Norway’s perspective in the Philippines.
H.E. Harald Fries, Ambassador of Sweden to the Philippines shared the triple helix model which brings together Government/public sector, Academia/Civil Society, and the private sector as the Swedish approach to smart and sustainable cities. Amb Fries outlined smart mobility and transportation as the number one priority which Sweden has to offer to the Philippines, further emphasizing the role of renewable energy, circular economy, and digital services in smart cities.
Smart city initiatives in the Philippines
To share the Philippine side of the smart city story, Analytics Association of the Philippines Smart Cities and Innovation Committee Chairman Alejandro Melchor III provided an overview of smart city initiatives in the Philippines, elaborating on the role of CALABARZON area as a key driver for the development of smart cities in the Philippines.
Presenting the smart city roadmap of Santa Rosa City, Laguna Planning and Development Coordinator Ermin Lucino outlined the city’s focus on creating an environment of digital skills, culture of innovation and entrepreneurship, and partnerships with Nordic cities, universities and private institutions to adopt the principles of smart cities in the local context.
A call to action from the Philippine side was made for further Nordic-Philippine cooperation through Sister smart city partnerships, University partnerships, Participation at Nordic smart cities conferences.
The call for action was met by a positive response from the three Ambassadors, paving the way for next steps in this cooperation.
In the second half of the program, Nordic and Philippine companies presented their technologies and shared their views on smart and sustainable cities in a panel discussion moderated by Andrew Thuan, Vice President & Head of ICT Innovation at Ericsson, covering Singapore, Philippines, and Pacific Islands.
On his part ABB Technical and Design Promotion Manager Tristan M. Ocampo presented intelligent technologies for smart cities, highlighting the need to combine data, people and technology to create inclusive and sustainable solutions and calling for new and collaborative partnerships across the ecosystem including public agencies and citizens together with digital, technology and engineering specialists.
Anthony Mejilla, Head of Sales for Transportation, Energy, Public Sector at Nokia Philippines enumerated population shifts, services demand, resilience, and economic growth as drivers of city transformation, while presenting Nokia’s connectivity platform for smart cities through case examples in the US and India.
AstraZeneca Philippines Country President Lotis Ramin shared AstraZeneca’s Healthcare IOT Innovation Center and Chest Pain Center examples from China, adding the case of their STEMI App which works to reduce the delay in treatment in the Philippines.
For NIRAS Asia & Pacific Director Antti Inkinen the focus was on good practices in smart and sustainable cities from Copenhagen, Hanoi, Buddinge, and Lagos as well as NIRAS SDG tools which can be used in project design, implementation, monitoring, and reporting.
Nick Ramos, Marketing and Corporate Communications Expert at Aidea highlighted the role of buildings in impacting our health, well-being, and productivity, sharing the WELL Building Standard as a leading tool for advancing health and well-being in buildings and communities.
Rounding out the private sector presentations under the tagline Building Smart and Sustainable Cities Through Public-Private Partnership, SM Prime Holdings Inc. Consultant for Disaster Risk Reduction and Resilience VAdm. ALEXANDER P. PAMA presented SM Prime’s approach to risk-informed investments, SM Resilience Center, as well as the work of the National Resilience Council as an example of a Public-Private Partnership.