PHL officials visit Japan eco-towns

  • 25 May 2015, Monday

Source: BusinessMirror
24 May 2015

FILIPINO experts working on boosting climate resilience and green growth in major watersheds visited several eco-town centers in Japan to learn how to harmonize ecological management and economic growth.

The May 18 to 23 visit, which started at the Eco-town Center in Kitakyushu City, was part of the capacity-building component of the project being implemented by the Southeast Asia Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (Searca). It is entitled “TA-8493 PHI: Climate Resilience and Green Growth in Critical Watersheds [46441-001].”

The group also visited eco-town projects in Kawasaki, Kyoto, Tokyo and Yokohama. Spearheaded by the Climate Change Commission (CCC) and funded by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and Japan Fund for Poverty Reduction, the project seeks to promote expertise on the concept and practice of eco-towns.

The visit aimed to provide a learning opportunity for participating local chief executives or their representatives on how an eco-town can be established and sustained for climate-change adaptation (CCA) and green growth options.

It also intended to identify and consider similar projects related to CCA and green growth applicable in their respective local government units (LGUs), as well as explore sisterhood partnership arrangements with counterpart LGUs in Japan.

The delegation visited the recycling facilities of Nikon’s photocopier, medical waste recycling and the Environmental Bureau of Kitakyushu City.

Naga City Mayor John Bongat said, “The delegation is very impressed with the eco-town projects in Kitakyushu. Such initiative is worthy of emulation of other cities across the world.” CCC Eco-town Program Officer Alexis Lapiz said the Kitakyushu City Eco-town Project “is, indeed, a concrete example of how important putting in place a project with an enabling mechanism strategy, such as legislative and institutional, as a means to operationalize plans and programs, both at the national and local levels.”

Al Orolfo, assistant director of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) in Bicol, stressed the importance of LGU and private sector partnership to realize the same model in the Philippines.

He said the tour is an eye opener on how the convergence of initiatives of various sectors can be jump-started to achieve common goals on climate change and economic development. Japan’s eco-towns adopt the harmonization of ecological management and economic development. The focus is on addressing pollution and reducing greenhouse-gas emissions through sustainable reuse and recycling carried out by the private and public sectors.

The project is an offshoot of the implementation of various Japanese laws—the Home Appliance Recycling Act, Construction Materials Recycling Act, Food Recycling Act, Green Purchasing Act, Establishing a Recycling-Oriented Society Act and Promoting Effective Use of Resources Act, among others.

There are 26 eco-town projects in Japan. In the Philippines, eco-town is defined under the National Climate Change Action Plan 2011-2028 as “a planning unit, composed of municipalities or a group of municipalities located within and in the boundaries of critical key biodiversity areas [forest, coastal/marine and fishery, or watersheds], highly vulnerable to climate-change risks due to its geography, geographic location and poverty situation.”

The participants in the Japan visit, aside from Bongat, are: San Fernando, Camarines Sur Mayor Eugenio Lagasca Jr.; Baganga, Davao Oriental Mayor Arturo Monday, and Johanes Morales; Cainta, Rizal Councilor Danny Cruz; Federica Rentoy and Ma. Teresa M. Mariano of Quezon City; Gloria Buenaventura of Marikina City; Engr. William Menes of Milaor, Camarines Sur; Emilou Nuñez of Cateel, Davao Oriental; Ricardo Victor A. Velasco of the Davao Oriental provincial government; and Maria Angelica Monica Salud Mamuyac of the Department of the Interior and Local Government.

Also with the group is Dr. Ancha Srinivasan, ADB principal climate change specialist-Southeast Asia Department; Alexis Lapiz of CCC; Dr. Lope B. Santos III, Searca program specialist and officer in charge of Project Development and Technical Services; Dr. Teodoro Villanueva, ADB TA 8493 National Climate Change Adaptation deputy team leader and forestry vulnerability and impacts assessment specialist; Dr. Paulo Pasicolan, ADB TA 8493 National Climate Change capacity-building specialist; and Dr. Takayuki Hatano, ADB TA 8493 international natural resource management economist.