City officials of Pasig and Paranaque met with members of Global Project Advisory Group (GPAG) of the Ambitious City Promises (ACP) project and representatives of the Seoul Metropolitan Government (SMG) for discussions on Low Emission Development Strategies (LEDS). GPAG consists of international experts on environment that advise the ACP project implementation.
Professor Youngsoo Choi, a member of GPAG and former director of SMG’s Climate and Air Quality Department, shared relevant experiences from the implementation of the Promise of Seoul, a comprehensive climate action plan launched by SMG in 2015.
Meanwhile, Mr. Jessie Todoc, also a member of GPAG and an international expert on energy and solid waste management, provided insights into how energy efficiency and conservation (EE&C) could be a strategic entry point to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.
City promise: Pasig City's commitment toward low emission development
The discussion on LEDS of Pasig City took place at the City Hall and was attended by members of the city’s multi-departmental Climate Core Team and representatives from the national government including the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and the Climate Change Commission (CCC).
The Local Governments for Sustainability Southeast Asia Secretariat (ICLEI SEAS), which is the chief implementer of the ACP project, assisted Pasig City in updating its GHG emissions inventory. The inventory shows that energy consumption, particularly electricity consumption in the commercial sector, is a major source of the city’s emissions.
“We understand the importance of setting baselines through the GHG emissions inventory. Pasig City is committed to continue its actionable response to climate change,” Pasig City Mayor Vico Sotto stated.
Ms. Raquel Naciongayo, head of City Environment and Natural Resources Office (CENRO), presented the draft City Promise that outlines the strategies of the local government, private sector, and citizens of Pasig City under the energy, transport, and waste sectors – the city’s top emissions contributors.
“Pasig City is working collaboratively with its stakeholders to push forward these strategies toward low emission development. We are committed to reduce our emissions and we plan to do so through a bottom-up approach, engaging our citizens in every step of the way,” said Ms. Naciongayo.
Director Elenida Basug of the DENR-Climate Change Service (DENR-CCS) and Ms. Mylene Claudio of CCC commended Pasig City’s efforts and progress in formulating its City Promise. They expressed optimism for the city to serve as a model and inspire other local government units (LGUs) in the Philippines to move towards this direction.
Mr. Jessie Todoc underscored the significance of EE&C measures that local governments could implement. He mentioned that there is an EE&C law mandating LGUs to designate an EE&C officer and develop a local EE&C plan.
Prof. Choi said that citizen participation has always been SMG’s priority. They have the Citizens’ Committee for Green Seoul, a multi-stakeholder organization that has been instrumental in ensuring that the city government puts premium on the interests of Seoul citizens. The Committee monitors the implementation of the Promise of Seoul.
“SMG makes sure that the citizens are being heard and their needs are considered in every activity. It is really important to encourage their participation,” Prof. Choi added.
Accelerating Paranaque's climate action through multi-stakeholder engagement
Solid waste management has been identified as the priority focus of Paranaque to reduce urban GHG emissions. The city has established recently a 500-square meter materials recovery facility (MRF) that is envisioned to develop marketable upcycled and recycled products (e.g., hollow blocks and pavement blocks).
Paranaque City ensures that it complies with the Philippine Green Building Code by strictly enforcing its provisions in building permit applications. The city hopes that the continuing collaboration with ICLEI can help the city’s full implementation of its own local green building code. Prof. Choi explained that in Seoul, green building measures record the highest impact in terms of GHG emissions reduction.
“As a relatively new office in the LGU, we are always very eager to learn from opportunities and partnerships such as that with ICLEI, to help us comply with national government policies, fulfill our mandate to serve our citizens, and achieve our sustainable development agenda,” stated Mr. Isabelo Mojica Jr., Assistant Head of Paranaque’s CENRO. (ICLEI Southeast Asia Secretariat/ Val Bugnot)