BONN, Germany – Philippine cities Pasig and Legazpi as well as other Southeast Asian cities showcased innovative urban solutions related to climate adaptation and mitigation on the sidelines of the annual United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP23) in Germany on Tuesday, November 14.
At a side event, Legazpi Mayor Noel Rosal and Pasig Environment and Natural Resources Office head Raquel Naciongayo shared how their cities are moving toward low carbon and resilient urban development. (READ: Climate change: Why PH should care)
Many participants of the annual global climate conference commended Pasig City’s “Bayanihan sa Daan” Sustainable Transport Program, which is a Galing Pook Award recipient. Launched in 1993, the annual Galing Pook Awards had recognized innovative LGU programs that served as models of good governance.
“It is built upon the concept of Bayanihan to enhance the community spirit in the city,” said Naciongayo, reffering to the city’s award-winning project.
With a budget of approximately $1 USD, Naciongayo also discussed plans to integrate hybrid solar panels in all of the city’s 42 public schools, stressing that the local government unit hopes to turn Pasig into a “Green City.” (READ: WATCH: Why it’s time to act on climate change)
Legazpi City, which is known for its zero casualty record during disasters, also highlighted the importance of community-based climate adaptation initiatives.
“After the devastation of the 2006 Typhoon Reming, we’ve learned our lesson – that communication protocol is very important, it’s about shared responsibility and the concerted efforts of our people,” according to Mayor Rosal, the focal Mayor for the Environment, Climate Change, and Disaster Risk Reduction and Management of the League of Cities of the Philippines (LCP).
Since then, Legazpi has been recognized as one of the most competitive cities by the Asian Institute of Management and a recipient of the Gawad Kalasag Awards of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) a number of times. (READ: Young people see climate change as top global challenge)
Other ASEAN countries
Other speakers in the event included Oswar Muadzin Mungkasa, Deputy Governor for Spatial Planning and Environment of Jakarta and Hoang Thi Huong Giang, the program’s Country Liaison Officer for Vietnam. Both cities are aiming to build green communities.
Mungkasa said that one of the Indonesian capital’s goals is to introduce climate mitigation initiatives that promote energy efficiency. (READ: PH one of 10 most vulnerable countries to climate change)
On the other hand, Hanoi is seeking to ensure the “sustainable development of the city with comprehensive infrastructure while conserving the ecology as well as culture and heritage,” Giang said.
Experts also acknowledged the importance of Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) integration in building urban resilience.
“ASEAN integration has been a hot topic. We need to explore synergies on urban data systems and continue to work together,” Ranell Dedicatoria, Regional Coordinator of ICLEI’s Ambitious City Promises, said. – Rappler.com
Mickey Miguel-Eva, a Climate Reality Leader, is the Regional Campaigns Communications Officer for Asia with the Climate Action Network, a network of about 1,100 NGOs in over 120 countries. He studied BS Geography at the University of the Philippines – Diliman.