When Two Coastal Cities Meet - Sihanouville's Study Visit to the Philippines

Sorsogon, March 1 2012 — The Cities and Climate Change Initiative (CCCI) piloted in Sorsogon City is being recognized by local and international city governments as a Philippine pioneer for climate change resiliency efforts. During February 14 – 15, Sorsogon City hosted 10 provincial officers of Sihanoukville, Cambodia and  UN-Habitat Cambodia on a two-day study visit in collaboration with UN-Habitat Philippines. The delegation was headed by Deputy Governor of Sihanoukville Province H.E. Prak Sihara and Liam Fee of UN-Habitat Cambodia. Sihanoukville provincial officials represented the provincial hall, departments of environment, tourism, water resource and meteorology, land management and urban planning as well as fisheries. The visit aimed to enhance the Cambodian’s knowledge on governance and good practices on mainstreaming climate change and disaster risk reduction into shelter, land use and development plans.

Left photo: The Cambodian delegates with community leaders of Barangay Tugos which won the CBSWM model barangay award. Right photo: The delegation visited a school building coated with heat insulating paint on its roof that reduced the temperature inside the classrooms.

The delegates were shown specific ways of sensitizing land use plans to climate change, coastal management activities and various ways of protecting the environment from the community up to the city levels.  Led by Mayor Leovic Dioneda, various department heads and barangay leaders of Sorsogon City presented climate change and local government initiated projects: comprehensive land use plans, coastal management, environmental management, tourism and socialized housing provision.

The visit to the GK housing settlements project in Barangay Guinlajun made the delegates become more aware of proper relocation of poor households, selection criteria for socialized housing beneficiaries and how households can participate in building houses. When the delegates visited the solid waste materials recovery facility in Barangay Tugos, community leaders explained that strong leadership, patience, people’s participation and creativity help implement good solid waste collection, composting, and recycling activities in the area. These efforts enabled them to win the 2011 model barangay for solid waste management.

The delegates were shown the retrofitted houses where structural improvements were made to make the houses adapt to strong typhoons and sea level rise in Barangy Talisay and the retrofitted SMART school (school that can function as an evacuation center during disasters) in Barangay Balogo. Actual energy saving technologies were also featured such as the LED street lights and the Barangay Talisay school building painted with roof insulating coating—Miracool-  that reduced heat absorbed by classroom roofs. The Cambodians got very interested with the decentralized wastewater treatment systems (DEWATS) in the public market where murky waste water is filtered before being released to the river. They asked for more details of the facility to study its applicability to Sihanoukville.

The murky water of Sorsogon Public Market was filtered by decentralized water treatment system before releasing it to the river.