Eco-town in Japan is basically the harmonization of ecological management and economic development where the focus is on addressing pollution and reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions through sustainable re-use and recycling carried out by the private and public sector. The eco-town project is an offshoot of the implementation of various legislations such as 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.
Eco-town in the Philippines is defined under the National Climate Change Action Plan 2011–2028 (NCCAP) 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 visit aims to (i) 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 and green growth options, (ii) identify and consider similar projects related to climate change adaptation (CCA) and green growth applicable in their respective local government units (LGUs), and (iii) explore sisterhood partnership arrangement with counterpart LGUs in Japan.
After a brief orientation at the Kitakyushu Eco-town Center, the delegation visited the recycling facilities of Nikon’s photocopier, medical wastes recycling, and the Environmental Bureau of Kitakyushu City.
Hon. John Bongat, Mayor of Naga City, said that “the delegation is very impressed with the eco-town projects in Kitakyushu.” He further said that “such initiative is worthy of emulation of other cities across the world.”
Mr. Alexis Lapiz, CCC Eco-town Program Officer, commented that the Eco-town Project in Kitakyushu City 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.
For his part, Mr. Al Orolfo, Assistant Regional Director of the Department of Environment and Natural Resource (DENR) Region V, stated the importance of LGU and private sector partnership to realize the same model in the Philippines. He also mentioned that the tour is an eye opener on how the convergence of the initiatives of all sectors can jumpstart the change towards the common goal.
The participants from the LGUs are composed of Hon. Mayor John Bongat (Naga City), Hon. Mayor Eugenio Lagasca, Jr. (San Fernando, Camarines Sur), Hon. Mayor Arturo Monday (Banganga, Davao Oriental), Mr. Johanes Morales (Baganga, Davao Oriental), Hon. Councilor Danny Cruz (Cainta), Ms. Federica Rentoy (Quezon City), Ms. Ma. Teresa M. Mariano (Quezon City), Ms. Gloria Buenaventura (Marikina City), Engr. William Menes (Milaor, Camarines Sur), Ms. Emilou Nuñez (Cateel, Davao Oriental), Mr. Ricardo Victor A. Velasco (Provincial Government of Davao Oriental), and Ms. Maria Angelica Monica Salud Mamuyac (representative from the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG). Also with the group is Dr. Ancha Srinivasan (ADB Principal Climate Change Specialist-Southeast Asia Department), Mr. 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).
The group will be in Japan until 23 May 2015 to visit other eco-town projects located in Kawasaki, Kyoto, Tokyo, and Yokohama. Currently, there are 26 eco-town projects in Japan.