Municipality of Del Carmen PH prepares to pursue low emission development pathway

The ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability Southeast Asia Secretariat (ICLEI SEAS) held a two-day virtual training on Climate Change Mitigation for the Municipality of Del Carmen Planning and Development Office and Disaster Risk and Reduction Management Office last 25-26 November 2021.

Conducted in support of Del Carmen’s pledge to the Cities Race to Zero initiative, the training aimed to enhance the local government unit’s (LGU) capacity in formulating and implementing climate change mitigation measures.

Situated in Siargao Island along the Philippines’ eastern front, the Municipality of Del Carmen is among the most vulnerable LGUs in the Philippines owing to its geographically-isolated and disadvantaged location. Due to its situation, Del Carmen Vice Mayor Hon. Alfredo Coro II in his welcoming remarks expressed the municipality’s commitment to addressing climate change and lessening the impact of compounding disasters.

Vice Mayor Coro also said that the municipality has started developing innovative approaches towards climate-resilient communities. He shared that ICLEI’s training is a welcome opportunity for collaborative problem-solving with regards to this goal.

Understanding Climate Change and Mitigation

The first day of the training tackled the key concepts of climate change and showcased some of the best local mitigation practices implemented in LGUs around the country.

ICLEI SEAS Project Assistant Katrina Toliongco shared that according to the latest IPCC report, carbon dioxide concentrations in the atmosphere are currently at its highest level in the last two-million years. The global surface temperature has also increased at an alarming rate since 1970. These climate change markers are evidenced by more frequent and more intense bouts of extreme heat, heavy precipitation, and flooding all across the world, including in many parts of Southeast Asia.
ICLEI SEAS Low Emission Development Strategies Manager Pamela Cabacungan presented the climate change policy landscape in the Philippines, including the nine-step process in formulating the mandated Local Climate Change Action Plan. She also introduced the GreenClimateCities (GCC) program that can complement Del Carmen’s current climate action planning processes.

The GCC is a comprehensive climate change mitigation and adaptation program designed for local governments. It offers a flexible three-process methodology that helps prepare local communities to address the challenges and opportunities of urban growth, explore their green economy, and establish green infrastructure through the implementation of a low emission development strategy.

Learning from the best local mitigation practices

The training also saw a discussion on the best multi-stakeholder climate change mitigation practices being implemented around the country. The practices shared by Ms. Toliongo include those from the LGUs of Kalibo in Aklan, Mandaluyong City in the National Capital Region, and San Carlos City in Negros Occidental.

Kalibo currently has a 30-year old community-led mangrove restoration project. Through this long-term and sustainable project, the area’s mangrove coverage has expanded from 50 to 220 hectares. The thriving mangrove forest protects the area’s coastal communities from threats of floods and storm surges, with a co-benefit of enhancing its carbon sinks.

Mandaluyong City has an ordinance which mandates building owners and developers to comply with the city’s green building requirements prior to the issuance of their building permits. Through the policy, Mandaluyong has been able to mitigate 27.60-million kilograms of CO2 emissions per year.

San Carlos City currently has a solar photovoltaic power plant which supplies clean energy to the local grid throughout the year. This multi-awarded renewable energy endeavor sees the city with 39,853 tons of carbon dioxide savings each year.

Similarly, the Municipality of Del Carmen shared some of its own nature-based solutions anchored on the Blue Carbon Initiative, including designating marine protected areas, watershed management, seagrass restoration, and mangrove restoration/preservation.

Community-level GHG accounting for local governments

The training’s second day focused on greenhouse gas accounting at the local level. Cities account for 70% of global GHG emissions and are at the forefront of climate change effects and corresponding mitigation strategies.

As such, Ms. Cabacungan highlighted the importance of conducting city-level GHG inventories in order for LGUs to understand how different sectoral activities contribute to their emissions level. The inventory can then be used to create more targeted and effective strategies towards GHG emissions reduction.

To help orient Del Carmen in GHG accounting, Ms. Cabacungan also provided the participants a guided exercise using the community-level GHG quantification spreadsheet by the Climate Change Commission.

The two-day training wrapped up with a work planning exercise which saw Del Carmen creating a GHG inventory development timeline for 2022.

As Del Carmen rises to the challenge of achieving a net-zero emissions future by signing up to the Cities Race to Zero, ICLEI SEAS commits in supporting the municipality as it journeys towards a low emission development pathway.

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