Jambi, ID; Iskandar, MY; and Iloilo, PH sign MOU for Developing Plastic Waste-Free Cities program

in photo (from top left, clockwise): Iloilo City, PH Mayor Jerry Trenas; IRDA, MY Chief Executive Datuk Ismail Ibrahim; Jambi City, ID Mayor Dr. Syarif Fasha; Alliance Vice President for Projects Nicholas Kolesch; ICLEI Indonesia Country Manager Ari Mochamad; and ICLEI Southeast Asia Regional Director Victorino Aquitania during the virtual MOU signing for the Plastic Waste-Free Cities program last 13 July 2021.

The local governments of Jambi City, Indonesia; Iskandar, Malaysia; and Iloilo City, Philippines last 13 July 2021 have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) committing their cities to a plastic waste-free journey.

The “Alliance + ICLEI Developing Plastic Waste-Free Cities”  (DPWFC) program aims to help the above cities prevent plastic waste leakage into the environment through the identification and development of potential projects; promotion of circular solutions; and advancement of effective waste management infrastructure.

The program is conducted through the partnership of ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability (ICLEI) and the Alliance to End Plastic Waste (Alliance).

Victorino Aquitania, ICLEI Southeast Asia Regional Director, congratulated the cities during the signing, saying “As these three pioneering cities embark on a journey to end the perennial problem of plastic waste, rest assured that ICLEI and the Alliance will be with you. Together, we will strive to make these cities plastic waste management models for other governments in the region.”

An action planning workshop involving the three cities immediately followed the MOU signing ceremony to kickstart the program’s timeline of activities.


Currently, it is estimated that around 11-million tons of plastic waste leak into the world’s oceans annually, with the figure expected to reach 29-million tons by 2040 if the status quo continues. The present issue also equates to an estimated USD 120-billion worth of plastic waste lost to the environment due to the lack of proper local waste management systems.

Nicholas Kolesch, Vice President of Projects at the Alliance, in his speech emphasized the need to think globally but act locally on the plastic problem. “We must be on the ground working with public and private stakeholders to find solutions that are not only locally relevant, but will also serve the long term needs of the communities that are implementing them,” said Kolesch.

Kolesch added, “The Alliance and ICLEI are well-equipped to bring together our combined rigor, experience, and expertise to support these cities and ensure that we work hand in hand to develop truly impactful waste management plans.”


The Southeast Asian cities will serve as pilot sites for the DPWFC program in their respective countries.

In his acceptance speech, Iloilo City Mayor Jerry Trenas highlighted the need for both horizontal knowledge sharing between cities, and vertical knowledge dissemination from the local governments to stakeholders.

Mayor Trenas said these “can make a significant impact in our effort to reduce plastic waste in Iloilo City and empower citizens to do their substantial part in managing plastic waste.”

Likewise, Jambi City Mayor Dr. Syarif Fasha emphasized the need for stakeholder engagement in tackling the plastic crisis. He noted that there is a need to actively involve households, businesses, and industry in the waste management process to significantly lessen the possibility of plastic waste leaking into the environment.

“Through this, we believe we can achieve our local and national target to reduce plastic waste by 30% by 2025 and reduce plastic waste in the world,” said Mayor Fasha.

Iskandar Regional Development Authority (IRDA) Chief Executive Datuk Ismail Ibrahim also underscored the need for sustainable solutions through innovation, saying “We are excited to leverage our partnership with ICLEI and the Alliance to help us move beyond the traditional and unsustainable method of plastic waste management that is the current norm. More has got to be done to win this battle.”

Waste management Inclusivity, sustainability, and innovation are just some of the aspects the 20-month long pilot of the DPWFC program seeks to assist these cities in. Through the identification of potential techno-economic and socially-acceptable solutions, the localities of Jambi, Iskandar, and Iloilo will have a strong foundation towards the realization of their plastic waste-free goals.

For further information on ICLEI Southeast Asia, please go to icleiseas.org, www.facebook.com/ICLEISEAS, or www.twitter.com/ICLEISEAS. For more information on the Alliance to End Plastic Waste, please visit endplasticwaste.org

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