• Eight PH cities join project preparation workshop supported by USAID

    USAID Climate Change Adaptation…


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  • City-university partnerships in three PHL cities strengthened through EPIC N training in Germany

    Photo from EPIC-N website Three Philippine cities benefited from a one-day training on the "Educational Partnerships for Innovation in Communities Network (EPIC-N)" model held last May 03 in Bonn, Germany. Participating cities were selected on a competitive basis with applications coming from about 140 cities globally. The list of Philippine participants were as follows: Catbalogan City • Mr. Edgardo Malate Guya, City Environment and Natural Resources Officer (unable to attend) • Dr. Marilyn Cardoso, University President, Samar State University City of Cagayan de Oro • Ms. Eileen E. San Juan, Local Economic and Investment Promotions Officer • Atty. Dionel O. Albina,  Director, Innovation and Technology Solutions, University of Science and Technology of Southern Philippines (unable to attend) Iloilo City • Mayor Jed Patricke E. Mabilog, City Mayor • Professor Mary Ann T. Gumban, Dean, College of Management, University of the Philippines- Visayas The EPIC-N model connects local universities and city officials to address the pressing needs of communities as they strive to become more sustainable and resilient. Recognizing the huge interest of Southeast Asian cities in the EPIC N model as evidenced by the volume of applications received from the region, Mayor Jed Mabilog of Iloilo City expressed interest to host a regional EPIC-N training in early 2018. EPIC-N is a community service-based model designed to address the broad spectrum of sustainability-related information and knowledge needs of local governments and communities by systematically matching city needs with university capacity in ways that benefit all parties, with lasting and sustainable impacts for all involved. The model has thus far shown itself to be elegantly simple yet powerful and effective in practice, and seems fully customizable to local circumstances elsewhere. ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability is one of the organizers of this training opportunity; ICLEI Southeast Asia facilitated outreach to the Philippine cities. Other collaborating institutions included the EPIC-N Network, US National Science Foundation, US Environmental Protection Agency Office of International and Tribal Affairs, United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) Global Adaptation Network (GAN), and the UNEP Global Universities Partnership on Environment and Sustainability. The training was conducted as a pre-event of the Resilient Cities 2017. PARTICIPANTS’ FEEDBACK: What are your main learning points during the EPIC N training? “The main learning points that I acquired are the different strategies that may be utilized to ensure that all important stakeholders - university officials, faculty members, students, alumni as well as those from the local government units can collaborate to be able to address pressing issues within the service communities. Indeed, a strong partnership platform between the university and local government unit can surely impact progress in the community and provide a more realistic and relevant avenue for students to learn.” Dr. Marilyn D. Cardoso President, Samar State University What are your immediate plans to apply what you have learned from the training? “Immediate plans after the training is the presentation of the EPIC N model to the city mayor and the city council for full support to the program. In Cagayan de Oro, we have the presence of four universities, and city government endeavors to partner with each university as each one has its own strengths in various fields. The partnership may also work as a consortium depending on the requirements of the project. Initially, we will be working on special projects in the areas of transportation, agribusiness, technology solutions for government processes, and re-development plans of the city.” Ms. Eileen Escobar-San Juan Local Economic and Investment Promotions Officer Cagayan de Oro City, Philippines


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  • 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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