Sorsogon, March 26 2011 — Arcadis, a global consulting/engineering company with over 15,000 staff, conducted a 2-week mission in Rodriguez Municipality in Rizal Province and Sorsogon City in Sorsogon Province from March 14-25, 2011 to support communities and local governments by providing technical advice on water management/drainage/erosion, sanitation (drinking water/ sewerage) and green urban planning.
The team of international technical experts was composed of Bert Smolders, Rutger Perdon, David Eberle, Jason Kim and Diana Caletena. The pro-bono provision of technical expertise was in furtherance of Arcadis’ corporate social responsibility.
UN-HABITAT, which has a global partnership with Arcadis, coordinated the mission and linked Arcadis with its partners in the Philippines.
Sorsogon, March 25 2011 — The Miracool paint demonstration team from Fukuoka, Japan composed of Ms. Sachiyo Hoshino and Mr. Fukae conducted a mission to Sorsogon City on 21-24 March 2011 to demonstrate the cooling effect of Miracool paint in three sample structures the city. The paint was applied on the roofs of the Sorsogon Elementary School, a barangay hall and a low income housing structure. To monitor the actual effects of the paint on the temperature of the room inside the structure, a monitoring system was set up where monitoring will be done in a regular basis by the city. Initial results from the school building demonstration showed a decrease in roof temperature from 50 degrees to 32 degrees centigrade.
A press briefing and presentation to stakeholders of the Miracool Painting demonstration initiative was held on March 21 where the features of the Miracool Paint were explained. The basic feature of the paint is the character of its components to deflect the light hitting the surface and therefore reduce the absorption of heat. UN-HABITAT’S Laids Mamonong shared that the technology is being tested as a means to support local adaptation to increased temperature as a result of climate change using simple adaptation technology and what the business sector can do to help people adjust to foreseen climate change impacts such as rising temperatures.
Miracool and Sorsogon City initially met in Japan during an experts group meeting where Mayor Dioneda was introduced to Miracool. The mayor invited the company to visit his city and test the product in a tropical environment.
Sorsogon, March 24 2011 — A team of technical experts from ARCADIS, an international consulting company and one of UN-HABITAT’s global partners, visited Sorsogon City on 21-24 March 2011 to work with stakeholders in addressing climate-related water and sanitation issues.
The week-long trip began with a meeting among ARCADIS experts Rutger Perdon, David Eberle, Jason Kim and Diana Caletena, Sorsogon City Mayor Leovic Dioneda and representatives of the City Planning and Development, Environment and Natural Resources, Health and Engineering Offices. On the same day, the ARCADIS team, accompanied by UN-HABITAT Project Coordinator Laids Mamonong and Environmental Specialist Lara Togonon, conducted site visits to some of the identified climate change hotspots. They noted critical areas such as the seawall, toilet and drainage facilities, the business district and coastal settlements. The team also inspected the city-managed wastewater treatment plant at the public market.
The initial exposure provided a good background to the two-day workshop that followed. The workshop, which opened on World Water Day, included an overview of the impacts of climate change on water, and the results of the city’s vulnerability and adaptation assessment. It also involved presentations and lively discussions, highlighting community concerns regarding water supply and quality, drainage and wastewater management, impacts of climate change on health, and the capacity to address flooding particularly in coastal and riverine barangays (villages).
The workshop helped to surface current adaptation measures being implemented by the local government and the community members. This led to a discussion on the technical, institutional and policy gaps that may cause inefficient water management and response. The participants, together with ARCADIS, threshed out the shortages and needs and arrived at alternatives and proposed interventions. Among these are: the development of a city-wide drainage plan; extensive and strategic tests to ensure the potability of drinking water; monitoring of activities that may disrupt water retention and supply; and “softer” but more effective measures such as mangrove reforestation, slope protection and water catchment. It also highlighted the pressing need to integrate water management into city planning.
Sharing their initial observations, ARCADIS expressed admiration for the community’s openness and motivation, and encouraged them to celebrate local achievements to further fuel long-term action.
As agreed during the debriefing, ARCADIS will provide a full assessment report, including proposed interventions within varying timeframes. The results would inform Sorsogon City’s current efforts to enhance its Comprehensive Land Use Plan and Comprehensive Development Plans. UN-HABITAT looks forward to working with the international volunteer team further in providing technical guidance to the city particularly in the areas of water management, water and sanitation, urban planning and flood management.
Reported by Lara Togonon-de Castro
This publication is a call to action for cities to address climate change. It presents information and practical case studies of what cities can do to respond to one of today’s leading challenges. However, this publication takes the view that climate change also presents cities with an opportunity to review urban policy and local strategies which would lead to more sustainable, livable and vibrant cities. The recommendations of this publication are built around 12 key messages.