Iloilo guv joins UN climate learning trip in Japan

Iloilo Governor Arthur Defensor Jr. (right) exchanges pleasantries with fellow delegates to a UN Habitat-led trip to Japan.

By Rjay Zuriaga Castor

In a bid to expand the knowledge on resilience and climate change adaptation for Iloilo, Governor Arthur Defensor Jr. participated in a knowledge-sharing trip to Japan from September 11 to 13.

Defensor was among the 14 local executives from the Philippines invited by the United Nations Human Settlements Program (UN-Habitat) Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific.

During the first day of the visit, the Philippine delegation toured the Kitakyushu City Eco-Town Model to gain insights into recycling innovations, educational initiatives, and collaborative partnerships promoting a circular economy at both the local and regional levels.

Kitakyushu Eco-Town, established in 1997, aims to minimize waste generation and promote recycling, serving as a model for recycling-based societies.

The Institute for Global Environmental Strategies (IGES) also provided a lecture on the “Journey to Creating Sustainable Cities.” IGES, acting as a regional hub, advocates for zero carbon emissions, circular economies, and the achievement of Sustainable Development Goals to realize sustainable urban centers.

On the second day of the trip, Defensor was among the presenters at the UN-Habitat 14th Environmental Technology Expert Group Meeting in Fukuoka City. The conference brought together private sector partners in Japan and high-ranking government officials from partner cities in the Asia Pacific region.

Defensor presented to the international climate bodies the provincial government’s “Purok Resilience Program,” a socialized and localized housing initiative.

Established through Executive Order No. 333 on July 22, 2022, the program focuses on relocating residents from high-risk areas to housing projects situated near their sources of livelihood.

On the final day of the learning visit, the delegates visited the Shabondama Soap Factory and Taiho Kogyo, a manufacturing company for metal forgings for automobiles, motorcycles, and industrial machinery.

Defensor noted that his participation in the learning visit is in preparation for the proposed “Transformative Actions for Climate and Ecological Protection and Development” or the TRANSCEND Project of the UN-Habitat.

Iloilo was among the designated areas for this six-year project which is funded by the International Climate Initiative through the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action.

From March to April 2023, UN-Habitat conducted a series of consultation workshops with national and local government partners and stakeholders from the selected provinces.

The TRANSCEND Project will assist the Philippine government in the implementation of climate change and biodiversity policies, focusing on four major areas: biodiversity protection, resilient communities and built environment, climate-smart industries and low-carbon transport, and improved climate governance. (With reports from Capitol PIO)