Cities Development Initiative for Asia

Project description

Title: Cities Development Initiative for Asia
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Country: Member countries of the Asian Development Bank (ADB), headquarters in the Philippines
Overall term: 2007 to 2017


In Asia, urban populations are currently growing more rapidly than the capacity of the cities to accommodate them. To ensure that cities remain engines of growth, and that they contribute to sustainable development, they must be able to plan, finance, implement and maintain their own infrastructure. With one billion more people expected to be living in Asia in 20 years time, the cities of the region have now begun taking steps to provide the infrastructure and services they need.


Urban development takes place sustainably and equitably in the cities of Asia, leading to improved environmental and living conditions for all.


The Cities Development Initiative for Asia (CDIA) is an international partnership initiative, established in 2007 by the Asian Development Bank and the Government of Germany. It receives additional funding from the governments of Austria, Sweden and Switzerland, as well as the Shanghai Municipal Government. It provides support and technical advice to cities in the region to assist them in a number of areas:

  1. Structuring of priority infrastructure projects in readiness for financing
  2. Devising projects that will attract market-based international private investment
  3. Improving local institutional conditions for the development of capital investment infrastructure projects and urban services
  4. Promoting regional dialogue and cooperation on urban management in Asia, in order to share good practices from the local level

The Initiative promotes investments in urban infrastructure and services. These range from city-level urban strategies to specific infrastructure projects, and draw on public or private financing from both domestic and international sources. In a demand-driven approach, it works directly with cities. According to each city’s needs, it provides expertise for capacity development and for carrying out technical studies. This assistance includes the prioritisation of investments, pre-feasibility studies and the linking of projects to potential financiers. Priority is given to improving environmental conditions in the cities, reducing poverty and developing aspects of good governance, which the Initiative achieves in collaboration with its municipal partner organisations.

CDIA supports the cities’ own efforts to prepare investment projects, and develops their capacities for submitting those projects to appropriate financing institutions. While working closely with regional and national partner organisations, it assigns national and international consultants to conduct pre-feasibility studies.

As of April 2016, CDIA was working with 95 cities across 17 countries in Asia. Using the City Infrastructure Investment Programming and Prioritisation Toolkit, the Initiative has completed 49 prioritisation exercises to help cities analyse their investment budgets and prioritise alternative infrastructure projects. Some 95 pre-feasibility studies completed by CDIA have resulted in projects that are better integrated, inclusive, and sustainable. Nearly 51 projects have secured financing from various sources, with 25 either completed or under construction. Infrastructure investments worth USD 5.8 billion are now expected.