For the Pilot Cities the Journey Continues

Ms Gloria Buenaventura,  City Environment Management Office (CEMO), Marikina City, Philippines
14/08/2012

Thailand

DELGOSEA gave the initial spark and matched best practices with pilot cities – now that the EU co-funded project is winding down, however, it is up to the individual cities to continue the work and ensure that the project results can be sustained in the long run. The cities are taking to the task with great enthusiasm, and it was fascinating to hear during the final conference from so many of them, outlining their plans for the future.

Take, for example, the four pilot cities that based their projects on the example of the Philippine city Marikina. Under the name of ‘Eco-savers’, the local government had developed an ingenious concept for dealing with the problem of household waste while at the same time encouraging environmental awareness in the younger generation. Through the cooperation with local schools to help collect recyclable waste, the city promoted a holistic approach to solid waste management that clearly appealed to many of the pilot cities and proved easy to adapt and to implement.

The cities that had chosen the Eco-savers as their model are all at different stages of implementing activities and have all adapted the original project to fit their own needs. During the conference, they shared with the participants how they are planning to ensure that activities would continue and even spread to other cities in their countries.

All the cities felt that the project had gone very well in the pilot phase and are planning to roll it out to other schools in the respective districts. Numbers vary of course, but the Indonesian city of Tarakan is typical in its plans to extend the scheme to 104 schools, eventually involving nearly 200 000 pupils and teachers. Both Tarakan and Kupang, another Indonesian Eco-savers city, have started working with recycling entrepreneurs, taking the scheme further than its best practice and allowing a long-term approach to recycling. There are also plans to begin collaboration with banks to save the pupils’ money, which can then be taken out later once the students graduate from their school.

The extension of the Eco-saver project into other areas is also a feature in Kampot, Cambodia, where the programme is being integrated into a much wider and ambitious project on urban waste management, taking inspiration also from the waste management/ low carbon city project in Muangklang, Thailand. Some of the necessary funding has been secured already, the continuation of activities is therefore ensured. The city’s mayor also presented plans to extend the project by engaging local women’s groups and other NGOs who will be producing goods such as bags, pens and souvenirs from the recyclable material that is being collected. Vinh City in Vietnam tells a similar story, adding proudly that the city iseven becoming a best practice in its own rights,there being interest from neighbouring cities to start replicating the Eco-savers project from Vinh – a request the city is happy to oblige with!

The sharing session at the conference was not just about the Eco-savers, though, and the participantswere keen to hear the plans of some of the other cities. The presentation from Pakkret in Thailand, for example, showed how successful the rejuvenation of the old market area had progressed. The renovations are completed, trading is firmly established and the quality and variety of goods on offer has improved dramatically, making the market attractive not just for locals but also for tourists. There are plans to establish a Pakkret Old Market Association to ensure that the interests of the market community are being well represented and that long-term and strategic development plans are being pursued. One element of the market development is also the strengthening of the cultural tradition of the Chinese-Thai-Mon community that has in the past been dominant in the area – apart from enabling the community to rediscover their cultural heritage, this is also attractive for tourists.

The two municipal clusters of ManLuNa and BinKiSu in Misamis Oriental, Philippines, have based their projects on a similar mixture of conservation and revival of cultural tradition, hoping to attract tourists to Northern Mindanao. The focus here, though, is more on the preservation of the natural as well as the cultural heritage and the encouragement of eco-tourism. The clusters achieved much in terms of establishing a cooperation between neighbouring municipalities, the establishment of the legal framework and the integration of the concept into the local development plan – a crucial step for the continuation of the work since it means that funding has been secured for infrastructure development and capacity building over the coming years.

The common thread to all these success stories and their plans for the future was plain to see: a strong engagement by the city’s leadership, people participation and, perhaps most importantly, the integration of the project into the local development plan to secure future funding – a simple recipe for success.



 

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