Local leaders are at the forefront of marine litter reduction as they champion actions towards zero waste to Philippine waters by 2040.
In a series of courtesy visits by UN-Habitat under the Japan-funded Healthy Oceans and Clean Cities Initiative (HOCCI), on August 11, 24, and 30 2022, Mayors Malou Flores-Morillo of Calapan, Lucy Torres-Gomez of Ormoc, and Carmen Geraldine Rosal of Legazpi, affirmed that environmental initiatives are high on their governance agenda and shared how their cities are advancing initiatives to address marine litter and in support of the localization of the National Plan of Action on Marine Litter (NPOA-ML).
Solid proofs of their commitment are the development of their City Plans of Action Marine Litter (CPOA-MLs), which embody locally customized actions towards sustainable consumption and production and waste management. They are among the six pioneering cities in the Philippines to develop such local action plan, along with other HOCCI partner cities – Cagayan de Oro, Davao, and Manila.
Earlier this year, the cities of Cagayan de Oro, Legazpi, and Ormoc officially adopted their respective CPOA-MLs and have mainstreamed them in other local plans, such as the Solid Waste Management Plan, Annual and Medium Term Investment Plans, for implementation and financing.
Demonstrating local solutions
Under these plans are plastic 3R pilot projects which will demonstrate a range of local solutions tailor-fitted to the cities’ and communities’ needs, capacities, and contexts; and aim to serve as benchmarks for good practices for other cities in the country and in the region. Calapan City will focus on improving the livelihood of vulnerable groups particularly garbage collectors, women, and informal waste pickers anchored on an Extended Producer Responsibility-readiness track. Ormoc City will develop city- and barangay-level policies and programs in localizing actions on marine litter reduction for sustained investment and implementation. While Legazpi City will apply a multi-prong approach while leveraging on and investing in smart technology-driven solutions for marine plastic litter reduction.
The said pilot projects will be implemented under Agreements of Cooperation (AoC) between the respective cities and UN-Habitat, and will be funded by the Government of Japan through HOCCI, with counterpart contributions from the city governments. AoCs have been signed by Legazpi and Ormoc Cities on August 11 and August 24, respectively, with the remaining cities to follow suit.
During the courtesy visits, community-based and people’s organizations (CBOs and POs) organized with support from HOCCI engaged in capacity building activities which provided the basic understanding, guidance, and tools for an effective and efficient project implementation. The project also had an opportunity to conduct dialogues with the CBOs, POs, and city technical working groups, and to assess the proposed pilot project sites.
The project team will be paying courtesy visits to the cities of Cagayan de Oro, Davao, and Manila this September.