• ICLEI and GIZ Urban Nexus pushes clustering for solid waste management, eyes Laguna Province as pilot

    The GIZ Integrated Resource Management in Asian Cities: The Urban Nexus and ICLEI Southeast Asia Secretariat (ICLEI SEAS) strongly support clustering of local governments to address solid waste management (SWM) concerns in the Philippines. This is in line with the guidelines issued by the National Solid Waste Management Commission (NSWMC) concerning the topic. To this end, ICLEI SEAS and the Nexus project, in partnership with the Provincial Government of Laguna and NSWMC, organized a technical workshop titled “Integrated Solid Waste Management: Innovative Methods of Treating Waste” last April 27 in Santa Cruz, Laguna. A total of 86 participants attended the activity representing 29 local government units (LGUs) and one provincial government. Twenty-seven (27) LGUs were from the province of Laguna. Speakers were from WEHRLE Umwelt and EU-Welle Environmental Technology GmbH, both based in Germany. Topics included mechanical and biological process of treating municipal solid waste, leachate treatment, and utilization of landfill gas. The Maximum Yield Technology (MYT) was also introduced during the workshop. MYT is an existing technology applied in Germany and is able to recycle up to 90% of the waste while requiring little space. The NSWMC also presented its guidelines on SWM clustering. Ms. Juvy Serafin, Senior Environmental Management Specialist at NSWMC, highlighted the important role of the provincial government in terms of applying this approach. She explained that there is a need to conduct a provincial mapping study to determine clustering options based on distances and availability of potential sites. Mr. Ricarte Castillo, Head of Waste Management and Pollution Control Division of the Provincial Government of Laguna – Environment and Natural Resource Office (PG-ENRO) expressed support in the clustering approach. He noted that the Laguna Province’s 10-year SWM plan considers clustering as a potential strategy using the four congressional districts as basis for cluster formation. Further, the province is also keen on exploring the feasibility of putting up a waste-to-energy facility. Moving forward, a more detailed study on SWM clustering for Laguna Province including recommendations of possible technical solutions will be elaborated by the Nexus project. The Urban Nexus is a regional project implemented by GIZ and funded by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ). It adheres to the principle of holistic or integrated urban planning with focus on water, energy, and food (land use) sectors. The nexus approach intends to promote “circular economy” approach where resources such as water, food, and energy, are used more efficiently and effectively. ICLEI SEAS serves as implementation partner in the Philippines and Indonesia.


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  • San Carlos City, Philippines becomes first city in its region to complete greenhouse gas emissions inventory

    ICLEI SEAS team's courtesy call to Mayor Valmayor of San Carlos City. Located in the Negros sub-region in Central Philippines, San Carlos City is one of 25 cities from the Philippines that committed to the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate & Energy, an international alliance of cities and local governments that promote and support voluntary action to combat climate change and build a more resilient society. As a Global Covenant of Mayors-committed city, San Carlos has carried out its first community-level greenhouse gas (GHG) inventory, with technical support from the ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability Southeast Asia Secretariat (ICLEI SEAS). Through the process, the city found that its GHG emissions in 2015 amounted to 88,330 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (tCO2e) from its energy, transport, agriculture and waste sectors. This is equivalent to the emissions from over 37 million liters of consumed gasoline. Despite its continued economic growth, the city has put a premium on maintaining and conserving its forest. The city has a vast forest cover of 17,868 hectares that has a calculated emissions removal capacity of 173,655.20 tCO2e. “As the city continues to grow rapidly economically, we will continue to engage in initiatives that protect our environment. The completion of the city’s GHG emissions inventory is a milestone for us. This is in line with our goal to become a green city,” explains Mr. Arthur Batomalaque, Assistant Head of the City Environment Management Office (CEMO) in San Carlos City. The data gathering process across city departments and the private sector was facilitated by CEMO, following the Global Protocol for Community-scale GHG Emission Inventories (GPC), which is consistent with international standards. Conducting this community-level GHG inventory is a key step in the city’s efforts to advance climate action and become a renewable energy hub in the Philippines. San Carlos City reports its greenhouse gas targets and actions to the carbonn Climate Registry. This work is supported by grant funding from Bloomberg Philanthropies to ICLEI - Local Governments for Sustainability in support of the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate & Energy.


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  • Building Urban Resiliency, One Garden at a Time: The Story of Sitio Asprer’s Community-Based Urban Gardens*

    “Eh simula nung nagkasakit ako, nandito na lang ako sa bahay. Hindi na ako pwede magtrabaho. Nung nagkaroon ng garden, kahit papano, may napaglilibangan na ako. Nakakatuwa tingan yung mga tanim doon. Na-e-exercise ako, nakakakain pa kami madalas ng sariwang gulay. ( Since I got sick, I just stayed at home. I am not allowed to work anymore. But when we had the garden, I found something to do with my time. It is amusing to look at the plants there. I am able to exercise, I am able to eat fresh vegetables more frequently.)"  Thus answered Atanacio “Nonong” Barcinas, age 48, when asked how he feels about the recently established urban gardens in their community. A resident of Sitio Asprer, Barangay Bagong Silangan, Quezon City since 1996, Nonong is an active member of the Homeowners’ Association in their barangay. When he first heard about the urban garden project, it immediately piqued his interest. “Sinusuportahan ko naman kahit anong project namin. Ipinaliwanag nga sa amin yan, na magtatanim daw kami. Nagtanim ako, nagtatanggal ng damo, nag-iigib ng pandilig. (I support all activities of the organisation. They explained that [garden] to us, they said we will start planting. I planted some crops, I pull out weeds, I draw water when we water the plants.)" Dr. Ed Paningabatan of UPLB shared his knowledge on urban gardening, particularly the Enriched Potting Preparation (EPP), a technology which he developed and perfected. BUILDING URBAN RESILIENCE THROUGH THE GARDENS   Three gardens were built in Asprer through the collective efforts of the community members, association officials, and other volunteers. One of the gardens is placed at the rooftop of the local daycare center, one is located at what used to be an idle patch of land near the community’s basketball court, and the third is established in a vacant lot, a few steps from the daycare center. All three gardens are planted with vegetables such as lettuce, pechay, chili, tomato, and bitter gourds. The members also planted herbs like basil, spirulina, and mint. One of the garden is planted with kundol. According to the association officials, harvest schedule depends on the crops. The usual turnaround time for lettuce and pechay, their bestsellers, is two weeks. Other plants, which take longer to mature, such as chili and bitter gourds, take four weeks before they are sold. Herbs, on the other hand, can be sold as soon as the plant matures. Proceeds from the garden are pooled until the opportune time when it could be invested in new crops or more fertilizer. BENEFITS OF THE GARDENS When asked about the primary benefits he gleans from working in the garden, Nonong cited that the garden gives him something to do everyday and allows him access to cheap but fresh vegetables. His statements were echoed by Florida “Flor” de Loyola Lambot, another member of the community. “Nakakatanggal ng stress. Tapos kahit late na kami magluto, mamimitas lang kami, kahit ano, sili, mga pangsahog. Kapag may harvest, bibili kami. (It is a stress reliever. Even if we cook our dinner late, we can just get vegetables, anything, like chili. If we harvest, we also buy some vegetables.)" Flor, age 64, is a single mother living with her children and grandchildren.  As a former overseas Filipino worker (OFW), Flor is used to an active lifestyle. According to her, taking care of the garden gave her something worthwhile to do with her time. Before, every day is spent finding something to do after her grandchildren left for school. With the turnover of the garden to their community a few months back, she found a new hobby. “Mabuti kasi nakakapagtanim ako. Makikita mo mamaya sa bahay, nagtanim na rin ako. Kapag umaga nga pupunta agad ako, titingan ko ang halaman!(It is good that I can plant now. You will see in my home, I also have some plants there. In the morning, I immediately go and check them)." Most volunteers who work at the garden are senior citizens who usually have nothing to do to pass time. One of the most important benefits of the garden, aside from access to cheap yet fresh vegetables, is the renewed participation of these senior citizens in their community. “Ang lapit ko lang. Araw-araw sinisilip ko yan. Matanda na ako e, pero kailangan mag-exercise. Tapos bibili ako ng gulay.”(I live near [the gardens]. Everyday, I go there. I am old but I need exercise. I also buy vegetables [from the garden]. Benjamin Teves, also known as Lolo Ben, reported this when asked about the biggest benefit of the gardens to him. LOOKING AHEAD, DREAMS FOR THE GARDEN Management and maintenance of the gardens were officially turned over to the community last October 2016. This marked their autonomy over the gardens. As an association, they have the sole decision making power regarding the future steps that they will take in order to maintain the community-based urban gardens. Nonong, Flor, and Lolo Ben all showed positive attitude toward the garden and echoed their appreciation of its benefits. Healthier lifestyle and better diet were on top of their list. However, Ate Flor observed another positive change: “Mas napatatatag ang samahan namin. Kasi sama-sama naman kaming nagtatrabaho diyan. Lahat ng nagboluntir. Pero s’yempre, yung iba, siguro busy sila. (Our cooperation [in the community] improved. That is because we all work together in the [gardens]. Everyone volunteered. But of course, there are others who might be too busy.)" Kuya Nonong, who is in charge of watering the plants every Sunday, noted something which he thinks could be a point of improvement: “Yung iba, hindi nagdidilig kapag toka nila. Dapat ginagawa nila yun. Dapat tulong-tulong. (Some do not water the plants even if they are scheduled to do so. They should do their task. We should help each other.)" Aside from better cooperation among members, the community also dreams of expanding their gardens. Visions of bigger gardens with more crops are shared by those who are working directly in the gardens. As expressed by Lolo Ben, “Eh sana lumaki pa. Kasi lahat makikinabang diyan. Mas maraming tanim, mas malawak na lupa. Para maganda. (I hope the garden could be expanded. Everyone benefits from it. More plants, wider land. It is better that way.)" Flor noted that the association can inspire other community members to plant crops in their own houses. Some members have already started planting crops on repurposed soda bottles, cans, and other recycled materials. Even if the space is limited, these early adopters found a spot either in a tiny box by the windowsill, balconies, or in front their homes facing the street. Although small in size, the community gardens in Asprer symbolize the huge dreams and aspirations that the people pin on them. A welcome change in the community; the members are committed to make their small and green patches grow into something that can nourish not only their families but the whole of Asprer community as well. The story of Asprer is an example of how building urban resilience can create co-benefits. Taking care of their gardens did not only inspire the members to eat healthier, it also fostered better working relationships, and most importantly, created the community’s sense of ownership.   *This feature article documents the perceived benefits of the community-based urban gardens in Sitio Asprer as outputs of the project, Informal Sector and Urban Resilience implemented by ICLEI Southeast Asia, Quezon City's Housing Community Development and Resettlement Department (HCDRD), and the University of the Philippines- Los Baños (UPLB). This project is supported by MISEREOR, the German Catholic Bishops' Organization.


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  • ICLEI SEAS joins national consultation workshop for developing local climate action plans

    Selected ICLEI SEAS staff attended a two-day consultation-workshop on the enhancement of the Local Climate Change Action Plan (LCCAP) formulation process. The workshop was organized by the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN Habitat) under its V-LED (Vertical Integration and Learning for Low Emission Development) project last March 27 to 28 in Pasig City, Philippines. The two-day workshop aimed to review the annotated outline of the enhanced LCCAP guidebook, developed by UN Habitat in partnership with the Department of the Interior and Local Government – Local Government Academy (DILG-LGA). Last 2014, DILG-LGA released two guidebooks aimed at helping cities and municipalities in developing their LCCAPs. The LCCAP is a mandated plan to be developed by local government units under Republic Act 9729 (Climate Change Act of 2009). The enhanced guidebook intends to include additional components on climate change mitigation including conduct of greenhouse gas (GHG) inventory. During the workshop, ICLEI SEAS Program Manager Mr. Ranell Dedicatoria discussed the organization’s ongoing work with Tagbilaran City in formulating the LCCAP. This initiative is part of the Strengthening Urban Resilience for Growth with Equity (SURGE) project of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) where ICLEI SEAS serves as a technical partner. In his presentation, he emphasized the importance of harmonizing the various tools available at the national government including the Climate and Disaster Risk Assessment (CDRA) and the LGA guidebook. He also discussed on-ground challenges in conducting LCCAP workshops including lack of quantitative data to support the calculation of vulnerability index, prioritization of adaptation actions, and development of a monitoring and evaluation (M&E) system for climate change actions. Relevant national government agencies including the Climate Change Commission (CCC), Housing and Land Use Regulatory Board (HLURB), National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA), Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA), as well as regional representatives of DILG attended the workshop. The USAID Building Low Emission Alternatives to Develop Economic Resilience and Sustainability (B-LEADERS) was also represented. The V-LED project is implemented by UN Habitat in partnership with adelphi Research. The CCC serves as project political partner. V-LED is funded by the International Climate Initiative (IKI) – German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety (BMUB).


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  • Regional workshop held to identify and map out platforms and actions towards 100% renewable energy

      Ms. Wanun Permpibul, Director of Climate Watch-Thailand and Outgoing Coordinator of the Asia Climate Change Consortium (ACCC), leading the planning towards the big shift towards 100% RE. Cities and municipalities were identified as one of the crucial stakeholders. ICLEI SEAS joined local and regional civil society organizations and networks working with the Asia Climate Change Consortium (ACCC) for a regional workshop on limiting temperature increase to 1.5 degrees Celsius held at the Ruen Phae Royal Park Hotel, Phintsanulok, Thailand from 7-9 March. The ACCC is a learning and collaborative platform for local and regional groups working on climate change across Asia and the Pacific. During the three-day workshop, representatives of various groups identified and mapped out the priority advocacy areas, concrete actions and platforms at the national and regional level to ensure the big shift towards 100% renewable energy by 2040. These priority advocacy areas encompass the following: accelerating renewable energy, mainstreaming energy efficiency, promoting climate change adaptation, and avoiding loss and damage. Among others, the ACCC recognized the importance of mainstreaming energy efficiency in cities across Southeast Asia as a crucial component of its advocacy towards the big shift. With Southeast Asian cities facing rapid urbanization and economic growth resulting in high energy demand, the network sees as a strategic priority working with cities across Southeast Asia in promoting best practices and strategies in energy efficiency and energy demand management. Mr. Marvin Lagonera of ICLEI SEAS sharing the organization’s work in promoting low carbon development in Southeast Asian cities. Mr. Marvin Lagonera of ICLEI SEAS shared the organization’s work with cities in the area of climate change mitigation and low carbon development. Mr. Lagonera introduced the various projects, activities, tools and frameworks used by the organization in mitigating emissions across Southeast Asian cities. The ACCC also visited and learned from a local community in the Bangragam district, which has developed various adaptation strategies in response to extreme weather conditions. The ACCC learned that the residents have developed resilient livelihoods and have learned to easily adapt between farming and fishing when the village is submerged under high waters during the rainy season. Their houses are built on stilts and some are supported by barrels allowing these to float during flooding. Despite this, residents have expressed their concern over certain changes in the weather such as the early onset of the rainy season or prolonged dry season, heightening the call to raise awareness on the effects of climate change. Climate Watch Thailand, Christian Aid and ActAlliance co-organized the event.


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  • Indonesian city gets better access to affordable and clean water

    Sukabumi, Indonesia - Through the Asian Cities Climate Change Resilience Network (ACCCRN) Engagement Building Small Grants project “Development of Healthy Water Management with Rain Water Reservoir”, the residents of Sukabumi City can now access potable water at affordable prices. In support of the City Resilience Strategy, ICLEI in close partnership with local authorities addressed the lack of access to clean water, a major problem in Sukabumi. There are two main sources of water in the city –the PDAM tap water and ground water. The residents, however, rarely use these for their household and drinking needs due to its poor quality. To address this issue, a rain water harvesting facility was installed in Al-Muhajirin mosque, kel. Nenggaleng. The facility successfully converts rain water into potable water. Called Aquarain, water harvested from this are sold for Rp 3.5000 (USD 0.26)  per gallon, a much affordable price compared to the price of Aqua which ranges from Rp.18.000-20.000 (USD 1.35-1.50) per gallon. One of the notable milestones of this initiative is the significant and extensive participation of the religious community in the Al-Muhajirin Mosque. The community provided financial, manpower, and technical support which made the installation of rain water harvesting facility possible. Maintenance and security of the facility have also become a community effort. According to Sukabumi Mayor Mohammad Muraz, “Through this [ACCCRN] program, ICLEI has opened the door for Sukabumi to the outside world and to meet with many people from different nations. We wish this can be continued in the future.” He further stated that through the small pilot funded by the ACCCRN Small Grants Project, rainwater can be reserved and can be processed to reach drinking water quality. For the next development, the two small grants projects in Sukabumi will to be replicated in other areas. Mr. Dasita Juju, Chairman of RW 7 and Pusyantek, commented that the technology used in this facility is the product of his research on similar technologies applied in other countries such as the United States and Japan. ICLEI envisions to replicate this technology in other communities in Sukabumi. Selamet Daroyni, Project Officer in ICLEI Indonesia, stated that the revenues from Aquarain can be used as funds in developing similar facilities in other mosques in Sukabumi. Apart from the rainwater harvesting facility, ICLEI supported the installation of Simple Water Treatment Plant (IPAS) in kel. Cikundul, also in Sukabumi. The plant is capable of treating water from the river to clean water.


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  • CSOs, government units, and academe convene in science-policy dialogue on low carbon and adaptation initiatives in Asia

    Climate scientists, academics, government representatives, practitioners and civil society representatives across the Asia Pacific joined the science-policy dialogue. ICLEI SEAS joined climate scientists, academics, government representatives, practitioners and civil society representatives at a capacity building workshop and science-policy dialogue co-organized by the Asia Pacific Network (APN), LoCARNet and Regional Resource Centre for Asia and the Pacific, and the Asian Institute of Technology (AIT/RRC.AP) at the AIT campus in Pathum Thani, Thailand from 6-8 February. The three-day event focused on low carbon and adaptation initiatives in Asia, anchored on the common aim of strengthening the global response to climate change set forth in Article 2 of the Paris Agreement. It was also a celebration of four years of support for low carbon development by both the APN and LoCARNet. The APN is an intergovernmental network that promotes policy-oriented research and capacity-building activities while the LoCARNet is a network of researchers that facilitates the formulation and implementation of science-based policies for low-carbon development in the Asian region. Mr. Marvin Lagonera, Project Officer at ICLEI SEAS, shared some of the organization’s initiatives, accomplishments, challenge and lessons learned in promoting low carbon development in cities across Southeast Asia. He also gave a policy talk on the importance of gender equity in low carbon development for a sustainable Asia. Mr. Lagonera explained that the gender lens in low carbon development should cut across all levels of governance (regional, national and local), all phases of climate action from planning and decision-making to monitoring and evaluation, and across all focus sectors. A gender-responsive lens also requires a multidimensional, integrated framework to low carbon development, moving from a climate-first understanding towards a broader sustainable development, rights-based approach. He argued that synergies between low carbon development and gender equity must be pursued, highlighting not only the technological and economic aspects of climate change mitigation but also institutional settings, power relations and gendered impacts. Moving forward, Mr. Lagonera proposed various strategies that countries can employ to promote gender responsiveness such as developing gendered capacity building programs, promoting gendered knowledge products and tools, and promoting gender-sensitive performance monitoring systems. His presentation can be accessed through this link.


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  • Baguio City Congressman supports policy recommendations of ICLEI-commissioned study on water security

    UP Baguio study team presents results of ICLEI-commissioned water security study to Baguio City Congressman Mark Go (first from right) and Baguio City Government. Photo by: UP Baguio Baguio City Congressman Marquez Go expressed support to forward policy recommendations of the ICLEI-commissioned study on water security during a meeting held at the University of the Philippines Baguio (UP Baguio) last February 10. The study, titled“Engaging Communities and the City Government in Addressing Water Security, Sanitation and Urban Resilience Challenges in Baguio City, ”focused on analyzing the domestic water use of Baguio City's poor households with an aim to understand water access and utilization. Results showed that poor households tend to rely on free water sources such as springs, creeks, and rainwater despite the uncertainty of water quality. Ms. Cordelia Lacsamana, City Environment and Parks Management Officer of Baguio City, emphasized the need to strongly implement the Baguio City Water Code as well as the City Environment Code in order to address water security concerns. She further explained the need for stronger coordination with other city departments such as the City Health Office because water concerns cut across the mandates of different offices. On the other hand, Prof. Lorelei Mendoza of UP Baguio highlighted the need to harmonize legislation at the national and local level, particularly in terms of regulation and release of permits which are mandates of the National Water Resources Board (NWRB). Congressman Go said that one of his priorities is to strengthen the BLISTT, a metropolitan area comprised of Baguio City and five other municipalities under Benguet Province namely La Trinidad, Itogon, Sablan, Tuba, and Tublay. He recognized that the issue of water security can affect other urban development concerns, particularly tourism and infrastructure. The legislator also expressed support in elevating some of the study's policy recommendations to the Congress. The policy recommendations covered provisions on rainwater harvesting and water purification, improving water quality and safety standards, enhancing the regulation of water extraction activities, and strengthening the provisions of Baguio City's Water Code. This study was completed last November 2016 and was conducted by select faculty members of the College of Social Sciences (CSS) in UP Baguio. It was supported through the Asian Cities Climate Change Resilience Network (ACCCRN) Engagement Building Small Grants funded by the Rockefeller Foundation and managed by ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability Southeast Asia Secretariat (ICLEI SEAS). The ICLEI-ACCCRN Engagement Building Small Grants Fund seeks to encourage the formation of genuine and sustained partnerships between the cities and key external stakeholders by supporting specific stakeholder engagement activities or small innovative projects to test the feasibility of resilience-building strategies. Download the full report here.


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