Taguig City, Philippines – Various stakeholders exchanged thoughts and insights on low emission development in a session organized by ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability Southeast Asia Secretariat (ICLEI SEAS) during the Third Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Mayors Forum last 27 July.
Titled “Transitioning Cities to Low Emission Development,” the session discussed city-led initiatives on low emission development, roles of private sector and research institutions, and how local climate actions feed into the global agenda. It brought together city leaders, experts, civil society, the private sector, and international organizations for exchanges on solutions, approaches, and opportunities for low emission development.
Featured speakers were Dato’ Maimunah Mohd Sharif, former Mayor of Seberang Perai, Malaysia; now Mayor of City Council of Penang Island, Malaysia and member of ICLEI Global Executive Committee; Ms. Racquel Naciongayo, Head of the City Environment and Natural Resources Office (CENRO) of Pasig City; Ms. Maria Francesca Tayco, General Manager of ERA Solar; Ms. Glynda Bathan-Baterina, Deputy Executive Director of Clean Air Asia; and Mr. Sunandan Tiwari, Senior Manager for Global Projects of ICLEI World Secretariat. Ms. Val Bugnot, Communications Officer of ICLEI SEAS served as moderator.
At the session, speakers highlighted the importance of citizen engagement as well as strategic collaboration among various stakeholders including public and private partners in promoting low emission development strategies. Pasig City shared some of its low-carbon initiatives including the conduct of city-wide greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions inventory and formulation of Green Building Ordinance. On the other hand, Dato’ Maimunah underscored the importance of engaging cities in low carbon pathways. She shared, “Cities are at the forefront of the battle towards environmental sustainability.”
Ms. Tayco of ERA solar noted that there is huge potential for solar energy in the country. However, “bottlenecks for solar energy in the Philippines boils down to [lack of] public-private partnerships.” She further explained that “local governments are the last piece of the puzzle in promoting green energy [in the country].” On the other hand, Ms. Glynda Bathan from Clean Air Asia presented the Cities for Clean Air Certification, a voluntary standard designed to help cities gain international recognition for addressing air pollution, access guidelines in making informed decisions, and facilitate learning opportunities and better engagement with stakeholders.
Mr. Tiwari of ICLEI World Secretariat summed up the session by presenting how local actions can be scaled up in light of global climate targets and commitments including the Paris Climate Agreement, Sustainable Development Goals, and the New Urban Agenda. He presented the Ambitious City Promises: Commitments for low-carbon urban development in Southeast Asian large cities, an international project supported by the International Climate Initiative of the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety (BMUB). The project, implemented by ICLEI, intends to raise the ambition of selected ASEAN cities across three countries (Indonesia, Philippines, and Vietnam) in promoting low-carbon urban development. Stakeholder engagement is one of the pillars of this project, acknowledging the role that citizens play in achieving this goal.
During the panel discussion, the speakers emphasized the need to recognize the progress of cities in local climate action through incentive mechanisms, knowledge exchange activities, and establishment of a robust platform for monitoring and reporting of local efforts.
To ensure impact, the speakers identified the need to ensure sustainability and continuity of plans and programs through capacity development and awareness raising.
The United Cities and Local Governments in Asia-Pacific (UCLG ASPAC) in partnership with the League of Cities of the Philippines (LCP) and Taguig City, organized the Third ASEAN Mayors Forum in conjunction with the ASEAN Ministerial Meeting as an initiative to seek more concrete collaboration among cities and local governments in relation to the ASEAN Connectivity 2025 Roadmap. Further, the AMF aims to promote cross-border interactions between local governments, as well as to establish partnerships for the improvement of the quality of life and environmental sustainability within the region. The Philippines currently serves as the Chairman of ASEAN.