(in photo above, from left) Mr. Angelo Kairos dela Cruz, Executive Director of the Institute for Climate and Sustainable Cities (ICSC); Atty. Jeronimo Manzanero, Pasig City Administrator representing Hon. Vico Sotto, Pasig City Mayor; Hon. Ma. Josefina “Joy” Belmonte, Quezon City Mayor; and Mr. Victorino Aquitania, Regional Director of ICLEI Southeast Asia during the ceremonial signing of the memorandum of understanding for the SPARK project.
The local governments of Quezon City and Pasig City continue to make their streets more walkable, cyclable, and environment-friendly through the launching of new initiatives that will enable active mobility.
Quezon City Mayor Hon. Joy Belmonte and Pasig City Mayor Hon. Vico Sotto launched the initiatives on 25 July 2023 during the memorandum of understanding signing and kickoff workshop of the Sparking Active Mobility Actions for Climate-friendly Cities (SPARK) project being implemented by ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability (ICLEI) and the Institute for Climate and Sustainable Cities (ICSC).
A kickoff workshop was held after the ceremony which saw technical heads and staff from both cities participating in focus group discussions on key project elements; as well as staff from Philippine national agencies brainstorming the possible composition of the National Project Advisory Group (NPAG).
Funded by the International Climate Initiative (IKI) of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action (BMWK) and the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMUV), SPARK aims to increase the role of active mobility in building resilient and safe transport systems, contribute to national emission reduction targets, and promote climate-friendly mobility behavior.
The two cities were selected due to their strong commitment to promoting and supporting active transport (cycling or walking) based on their development plans and priorities and their capacity to inclusively implement the project in close collaboration with community stakeholders.
Quezon City has been proactive in developing its bike lane plan in order to provide safer and more accessible cycling infrastructure for its residents. On the other hand, Pasig City has expanded its “People’s Streets” initiative which sees select roads being closed to vehicular traffic every Sunday to provide exclusive spaces for pedestrians and cyclists. The two cities also have dedicated offices to green and active transport initiatives, further underscoring their commitment to people-centric and sustainable transportation.
Furthermore, both Quezon and Pasig are partners of ICSC and the broader CSO network in the Bilang Siklista Project, a volunteer-driven initiative in 18 cities nationwide doing a manual count of people making daily trips on bicycles during commuter peak hours. Both are also members of ICLEI, a global network working with over 2,500 local and regional governments committed to sustainable urban development.
Walking and cycling are often overlooked yet essential modes of transportation that offer greater environmental benefits than motorized vehicles. Motorized transport contributes to approximately 30% of energy-related greenhouse gas emissions in the Philippines, making it a significant contributor to air pollution in the country. Active mobility can potentially reduce 3.46 million tons of emissions in highly urbanized cities while contributing to public health, equity, and green socio-economic recovery.
With the SPARK project, these cities further reinforce their existing commitments to promote and enable active transport. The SPARK project aims to catalyze innovation and progress through the application of tactical urbanism, a community-driven short-term action that involves the use of quick, small-scale, and often informal interventions to improve the urban environment and test out new ideas before implementing larger and more permanent changes and open-data.
This concerted effort is expected to bring about tangible and lasting improvements in promoting cycling and walking as viable and legitimate means of transportation, contributing to healthier and liveable communities.
ICLEI and Quezon City have previously worked together in various climate action-related projects including the Asian Cities Climate Change Resilience Network, Circle Lab for Cities, and the One Planet City Challenge. Meanwhile, ICLEI and Pasig City have recently worked together on Ambitious City Promises, Building Efficiency Accelerator, and the One Planet City Challenge, among others.
For more information on the SPARK project, please visit https://sustainablemobility.iclei.org/spark/.