SEA cities join call for broader sub-national involvement to reach global targets

(SEA Delegation to ICLEI World Congress 2018 (L-R): Ms. Pamela Cabacungan, Project Officer for Mitigation, Ms. Karen May Crisostomo, Non-motorized Transport Specialist of the City Transport Development and Management Office (CTDMO) of Pasig City, Mr. Victorino Aquitania, Regional Director of ICLEI SEAS, Atty. Leticia Clemente, City Budget Officer in Baguio City and member of ICLEI Southeast Asia’s Regional Executive Committee, Mayor Ronaldo Golez of Dumangas, Iloilo, ICLEI First-Vice President and Catbalogan City Mayor Stephany Uy-Tan, Mayor Nestor Alvarez of the Science City of Muñoz and Mr. Ranell Martin Dedicatoria, Regional Program Manager of ICLEI SEAS.)

MONTREAL, CANADA – As ICLEI ushers into a new era of urban development under its new strategy and action plan, selected Southeast Asian (SEA) cities including various mayors from the Philippines participated during the ICLEI World Congress last 19-22 June 2018.

Led by ICLEI Southeast Asia’s Regional Director, Vic Aquitania and ICLEI First Vice-President and Mayor of Catbalogan City in the Philippines, Stephany Uy-Tan, the SEA delegation supported the call for broader and more inclusive involvement of local governments to achieve global goals.

During her intervention in the plenary session “From Global to Local: International Frameworks for collaborative action on sustainable development,” Mayor Tan opined that global actions is without force and effect if it will not be coupled with active cooperation and action of local governments who have direct and immediate grasp of the communities’ problems, concerns, and needs.

ICLEI First-Vice President and Catbalogan City Mayor Stephany Uy-Tan talks about the role of local governments in achieving global goals during one of the plenary sessions during the ICLEI World Congress 2018 in Montreal. (Source: ICLEI World Secretariat)

“All of us here would agree that we are all burdened to initiate or implement programs, projects, and activities that are concrete and can be immediately felt by our constituents. This, therefore, calls for our actions to be beyond abstract policies, it must go beyond these well-established frameworks and blueprints, it means that our services should be responsive and relevant to the changing times… our initiatives and solutions must be guided with three core messages on Responsiveness, Cohesiveness, and Adaptability,” she further explained.

Other participating SEA cities further drove the point of Mayor Tan regarding the important role of local governments to achieve global targets. Pasig City in the Philippines and Hanoi in Vietnam, both model cities of the Ambitious City Promises (ACP) 1 project showcased their efforts to raise ambitious commitments to accelerate low emission development during parallel sessions organized within the Congress.

Ms. Karen May Crisostomo, Non-motorized Transport Specialist of the City Transport Development and Management Office (CTDMO) of Pasig City shared the city’s Bayanihan sa Daan (sustainable transport program), in the session “Overcoming Mobility Challenges in the Global South.” Bayanihan sa Daan promotes road sharing among all citizens to drive inclusive, low carbon, and sustainable urban mobility.

Pasig City is aggressively expanding its bike sharing program by providing more bicycle units and adequate facilities such as dedicated bike lanes and docks in strategic and well-populated areas to encourage citizens to cycle.

As a highly urbanized city, Pasig City has a perennial problem of traffic congestion that results to inconvenience to the public, economic losses, and air pollution. To address these, the city’s sustainable transport program designed and implemented a combination of hard and soft measures for effective transport management.

To decongest the roads, the city has recently implemented dedicated carpool lanes and is continuously improving its public transportation facilities through initiatives such as free bus shuttle services. The city has also improved its infrastructure facilities such as pedestrians and elevated walkways as well as bicycle racks, lanes, and parking to promote active transport and encourage citizens to integrate a more active lifestyle in their daily activities. Ms. Crisostomo concluded that keeping citizens well-informed and engaged are imperative to influence behavioral change towards more sustainable mobility.

Ms. Thuy Le Thanh of Hanoi City’s Department of Natural Resources and Environment (DONRE) presented the city’s clean air initiatives during the session on “Promoting sustainable lifestyles for healthy and happy cities.” Ms. Thuy explained that more than being a development issue, addressing air pollution requires changes in government structures and citizen behavior.

Hanoi City identified a two-pronged objective to tackle the issue of air pollution. First, there is a need to establish networks and linkages, and second, the capacities of these networks to take actions and advocate should be built and strengthened. As a metropolitan area which puts the premium on being a green city, actions toward improving air quality is considered a high priority in Hanoi City; and we need help from different stakeholders to do this, Ms. Thuy concluded.

Awareness-raising on the importance of good air quality begins at a young age in Hanoi City. (Source: Hanoi DONRE)

Taking the discussion on the circular economy, Mayor John Bongat of Naga City 2 talked about the concrete steps that the city is initiating to address its solid waste management issues. The city’s continuous growth and increase in population result to the increase of municipal solid waste. With its existing facility already in full capacity, Naga City aims to promote sustainable solid waste management through the provision of appropriate and environmentally-sound solid waste management services. To this end, the city has approved the implementation of a sanitary landfill with waste-to-energy facility and has allocated approximately PHP 260 million (3.9 million EUR) for its implementation.

This aerial photo shows Balatas Dumpsite in Naga City. The facility is already partially closed as it has reached its full capacity. The GIZ Urban Nexus project in partnership with ICLEI Southeast Asia provides assistance to the city to determine appropriate technical solutions to address its growing solid waste management concerns. (Source: GIZ Urban Nexus)

Meanwhile, Mayor Ronaldo Golez of Dumangas Iloilo also served as a panelist to the session, “Strategies, and Approaches to Achieving the Insurance Industry Development Goals.” The mayor shared that insurance and investment activities are significant when taken in the context of natural disasters, the link between health and pollution, and social and resilient infrastructure. He stressed that in the event of extreme weather events that negatively affect crops and harvest, insurance cushions the loss and damage that farmers would otherwise have to bear.

In this vein, the city implements the Climate Field School– an initiative that helps farmers increase farm production by enhancing their adaptive capacity to the effects of climate change while addressing poverty and reducing vulnerability.

Since 2007, the Climate Field School in Dumangas, Philippines enables farmers and extension workers to monitor weather patterns and and apply climate information to reduce risks in agriculture. (Source: Municipality of Dumangas).

Other Philippine local governments present during the Congress included Mayor Nestor Alvarez of the Science City of Muñoz and Atty. Leticia Clemente, City Budget Officer in Baguio City and member of ICLEI Southeast Asia’s Regional Executive Committee.

Held every three years, the ICLEI World Congress showcases how local and regional governments across the ICLEI network are advancing sustainable urban development worldwide. The Congress connects them with peers and strategic partners and provides a platform for discussions that will inform and enhance their work.

[1] The ACP is a 3.5-year project implemented by ICLEI with funding support from the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU) through its International Climate Initiative (IK). The project aims to support selected large cities in Indonesia, the Philippines and Viet Nam to establish strong local climate action plans through concrete targets, enhanced multi-stakeholder engagement, and integrated strategies.

[2] Naga City participated in the parallel session The Urban Nexus: Localizing global agendas and promoting vertical integration, experiences from Asian cities. This session was organized by the GIZ Integrated Resource Management in Asian Cities: The Urban Nexus in cooperation with ICLEI South and Southeast Asia office. With support from the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), the project looks at synergies and trade-offs in the water, food, and energy sectors and how these interplay in the implementation of concrete pilot projects. The project focus is on the topics of secure water supply and sanitation systems, energy security and efficiency, land use, physical planning and food security.

Post a comment