Experts from the Seoul Metropolitan Government (SMG) met with city officials and representatives from Indonesia, Philippines, and Vietnam last March 05 to 09 to continue cooperation and knowledge exchange between SMG and participating cities of the Ambitious City Promises project.
The week-long activity, dubbed ACP Experts and National Meeting, aimed to streamline support and explore avenues for knowledge transfer and capacity building between SMG and project cities in Indonesia (Jakarta, Bekasi, and Tangerang); Philippines (Pasig, Parañaque, and Marikina); and Vietnam (Hanoi, Soc Son, and Son Tay).
The ACP project builds on the Promise of Seoul – a comprehensive climate action plan launched by the City of Seoul during the 2015 ICLEI World Congress. Funded by the International Climate Initiative (IKI) of the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety (BMUB) and implemented by ICLEI-Local Governments for Sustainability, the project commits to reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions through participatory and inclusive local climate action.
Indonesian cities gearing up for LEDS
The President’s Special Envoy for Climate Change, Prof. Rachmat Witoelar hosted the first round of meetings in Indonesia. In his opening remarks, Prof. Witoelar explained that by 2015, 60% of Indonesians are living and working in cities and by 2045, that number will increase to 80%. At the same rate, by 2020, Indonesia is expected to have at least 20 metropolitans, 50 cities with at least 500,000 inhabitants, and more than 100 small towns.
Highlighting the importance of climate action at the national and local level, Prof. Witoelar said, “Indonesia is a big player in climate change. We are very vulnerable yet also have a big opportunity to be part of the solutions. It is imperative that Indonesia has to build a clear and robust strategy to address the complex problems facing it, not only in national but also in regional scale.”
In the same vein, ICLEI SEAS Regional Director Victorino Aquitania highlighted the importance of the ACP Experts and National Meeting, which will take place in Indonesia, Philippines, and Vietnam.
“ACP aims to enhance capacities of local and subnational governments to identify, access, and develop resources in advancing local climate action planning and implementation,” the Director said.
Mr. Oswar Mungkasa, Deputy Governor for Spatial Plan and Environment discussed the priority sectors for low emissions development (LED) in DKI Jakarta which are: energy, transport, and air quality.
In Tangerang, a city faced with challenges of rapidly growing industries and population rate, the priority sectors are urban governance, air quality, and building an eco city. Tangerang is also interested in fostering multi-stakeholder engagement towards sustainable local climate action.
Meanwhile, representatives from Bekasi reported that they are keen on developing LED programs which focus on ecology, transport, and resource circulation.
Inyoung Ra, Manager, Climate and Air Quality Management Division of the Seoul Metropolitan Government gave a presentation about the Promise of Seoul underscoring the fact that it is built upon citizen engagement: prioritizing working with citizens to fight climate change.
The second day of the dialogue was a deep-dive discussion with city officials and representative of Jakarta. The delegation also visited Marunda, a socialized housing project in Jakarta, which features urban gardens, communal green spaces, and a rainwater harvesting facility.
Ambitious promises of Philippine cities
Pasig City Mayor Bobby Eusebio, Former Mayor Maribel Andaya Eusebio, and City Environment and Natural Resources (CENRO) Head Raquel Naciongayo welcomed the SMG delegation to Pasig City. As the host of the meeting, Former Mayor Maribel Eusebio expressed gratitude to the Seoul Metropolitan Government and noted that Seoul’s approach to local climate action can be Pasig’s next step towards positioning itself as a Green City.
Priority LEDS subsector for Pasig includes non-motorized transport, shared mobility, urban regeneration, and air quality.
For Marikina and Parañaque, urban greening is a priority sector and should be included in local government plans. To this end, Parañaque is intensifying its greening program through the additional support from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR). Marikina, on the other hand, is transforming idle lots to urban gardens using the seedlings that DENR has provided.
Representatives from Seoul reiterated that the strong commitment of Mayor Won-soon Park was a crucial factor in the successful implementation of the Promise of Seoul. The leader’s support also pushed the different departments of Seoul Metropolitan Government to integrate climate change in the overall urban planning process of the city.
DENR Director Elen Basug reiterated the support that the agency is committing to the successful implementation of the project. Director Basug noted, “As such, we would, to the best of our ability and within the mandates accorded to us, ensure that the project direction is supportive of the Philippines’ position with regard to climate change. ICLEI will be working with us, as well as with other national government agencies including the Climate Change Commission, Department of Energy, Department of Transportation to name a few in the course of implementing this project.”
National and local climate action in Vietnam
Hanoi reported that their priority sectors for LED are air quality, transport, and citizen engagement. Prof. Luu Duc Cuong, Director-General of the Vietnam Institute for Urban and Rural Planning (VIUP) welcomed the delegation to Hanoi. VIUP serves as ACP’s political partner in Vietnam.
The discussions highlighted Hanoi’s focus on improving public transport. In fact, the city is planning to ban motorcycles by 2025 to help curb air pollution in the metro. On top of that, since Hanoi enjoys a sunny climate, the city government is looking to harness solar energy to signal their transition to renewable energy.
To close the sessions in Hanoi, Mr. Sunandan Tiwari, Senior Manager- Global Projects from ICLEI World Secretariat underscored the significance of inter-department collaboration within cities and across different levels of the government in mainstreaming climate action into plans, policies, and programs.
This series of meetings was held in conjunction with the Cities and Regions Talanoa Dialogue-a multistakeholder and participatory process of sharing ideas, skills, and experience between significant actors to scale up ambitions and actions towards the achievement of countries’ NDCs.