Naga City Mayor John Bongat as the SDG Champion Mayor delivered the local authorities’ statement at the 6th Asia Pacific Forum on Sustainable Development (APFSD) that took place from 26 to 29 March 2019 at the United Nations Conference Center in Bangkok, Thailand.
The APFSD serves as a platform for stakeholders across the Asia Pacific region to discuss the implementation of the Global Agenda 2030 and as a regional preparation for the United Nations High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development in July 2019. This forum assessed the progress of the regional roadmap in connection to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in the Asia Pacific. The United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP) convenes the AFSDP annually.
Local governments in advancing the sustainable development agenda
In his statement, Mayor Bongat reiterated the significant role that local governments play in the implementation and advancement of the sustainable development agenda.
However, he also noted that local governments also face challenges in this regard, “Allow me to start by emphasizing the unbalanced access to financing at the local level. Secondly, we would like to highlight the different realities in the involvement of local governments in the SDG agenda depending on national contexts. Thirdly, we would like to stress the need to ensure appropriate capacity building for the closest sphere of government to the communities which we represent.”
The nomination of Mayor Bongat as the SDG Champion Mayor was facilitated by ICLEI Southeast Asia Secretariat as a response to the call for nominations announced by the Asia Pacific Local Government Coordinating Body (APLG). The APLG represents local authorities as one of the 17 stakeholder groups at the APFSD. The body also coordinates the participation and contribution of local governments in the APSFD.
Naga City’s strategies and programs addressing SDG
Awarded with the Most Inspiring Innovation in E-Government and Participatory Innovations in Asia by the Lee Kuan Yew Institute of Public Policy of the National University of Singapore, Naga City has implemented ingenious strategies and programs to address the SDGs.
With Mayor Bongat at its helm, the city is actively pursuing programs such as the SDG- Sustainable Urban Resource Management Project and the creation of the following: Food Fortification Task Force, Center for Health and Nutrition, Museum Preparatory Committee, Water and Sanitation Council, Geographic Information System Technical Working Group, Local Public Transport Router Plan Team, and the Water Treatment Facility at Naga City People’s Mall among others.
Further, Naga is developing its own decentralized waste-to-energy facility to be placed in a five-hectare government property in Barangay San Isidro. The USD 57-million produce up to eight megawatts of electricity per 100 tonnes of garbage. The waste which will be fed into the facility will be collected from Naga’s 27 barangays.
The local government of Naga is also gearing up for the finalization of its 30-year Sustainable Urban Development Plan (SUDP). The development plan is one of Naga’s effort to localize the AmBisyon Natin 2040 of the National Economic and Development Authority– a roadmap towards achieving the Filipino’s collective vision and aspiration for inclusive and integrated development. ICLEI SEAS, through the Urban Nexus project, is supporting Naga City in developing their SUDP through the provision of technical assistance.