December 2011

PROJECT INTRODUCTION AND TABLE OF CONTENTS

Who we are...

The Realising DReAMS project (Development of Resources and Access to Municipal Services) is a 3-year action started in January 2010 which will help local governments to integrate the fields of poverty & environment. It will achieve this through introducing an environmental management tool (ecoBUDGET) and a poverty database monitoring system (PDMS) to improve living standards and reduce environmental degradation. Local communities are therefore the final beneficiaries of the project. The project, funded under the EuropeAid Programme of the European Commission, is a partnership of local and regional governments in Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Italy, the Philippines and Sweden, and ICLEI - Local Governments for Sustainability.

Table of contents

1  |  News

2  |  Introducing partners

  • Bohol (Philippines)
  • Bologna (Italy)

3  |  Växjö's field visit in Bohol

4  |  Library

...

Visit the DReAMS website at dreams.ecobudget.org for the latest news.

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WORDS FROM THE EDITOR

Dear readers,
Welcome to the third issue of the DReAMS project Newsletter!
This edition of our newsletter has many interesting pieces.

In our cover article, we tackle the tough issues regarding ecosystem services, and we particularly focus on the urban green growth in Rajshahi City Corporation and waste management in the City of Thimphu.
There are, as always, inspiring profiles of our partners: short introductions to the city of Bologna in Italy and the Province of Bohol in the Philippines.
Finally, the city of Växjö offers a technical report about the intensive field visit to the island of Bohol. The visit has certainly further strengthened the link between the two peers, and now aims at keeping up the good work even beyond the project’s life time.  

To learn more about our efforts, successes and challenges, visit dreams.ecobudget.org. A fourth edition of the newsletter will be available in mid 2012.

Seasonal Greetings and Happy reading!


1. NEWS

DReAMS in the perspective of ecosystem services

Providing the means to efficiently and sustainably manage environmental resources is the core of ecoBUDGET. The current debate on ecosystem services is changing the understanding of ‘resources’ and thus the application of ecoBUDGET. The recent study on The Economics of Ecosystem Services and Biodiversity (TEEB) argues that ecoBUDGET carries great potential for an innovative management of ecosystem services.
Local government leaders and city managers all around the world face the ongoing challenge of how to provide municipal services with increasingly scarce resources (human, financial and natural) and to address issues of poverty, health, unemployment, and inadequate living conditions.
Municipal services directly depend on intact ecosystem services – even more so with pressure and demand growing due to increasing human population density - such as water provision, waste water treatment, flood protection, food or land, etc.
Cities can tackle poverty issues by focusing on ecosystem services and have an enormous potential to offer municipal services while safeguarding ecosystems. Choices city managers make when shaping service delivery influences whether they are more or less impacting – e.g. in how water supply is being secured, energy provided or soil protected against erosion.
The natural capital from ecosystems contributes to delivering municipal services. A new road requires raw materials and land, a new well provides drinking water and new housing uses natural resources in construction. There are also costs to the ecosystem: biodiversity and natural habitats are fragmented or lost; additional inhabitants convert more fresh water into sewage and increase air pollution causing health problems. Clearly, municipal action always has implications both on ecosystems and their services.
Through management systems, such as ecoBUDGET, local governments can diminish, maintain, or increase the provision of ecosystem services in their administrative area. Assessing ecosystem services and the benefits they provide is an important step to identify management options. There is a clear connection between livelihoods and ecosystems, which in the case of the poor is even more direct. Natural resources are a basic source of their income generation. Enhancing local ecosystem services can help reduce poverty and provide the basic needs of citizens.
A recent example for poverty reduction and ecosystem services is given by the “urban green growth” in the City of Rajshahi providing several ecosystem services for human well being. These include supporting services such as soil formation, pollination, provisioning services like food, water and fibre, regulating services such as climate regulation, buffering weather events, floods, hydrological cycle and cultural services such as recreation and aesthetic value. Conventionally, all these services have been considered as free services provided by nature and therefore, their economic values were neglected and underestimated. As a result, the greenery in Rajshahi was depleting at an alarming rate.
Identifying the imperative need to conserve green spaces in the city, the City Corporation has identified indicators pertaining to growth and conservation of green areas and implemented a programme of social forestry and planting greenbelts, under the Make Rajshahi City Green Project (MRGP), a key adaptation and mitigation strategy.
In September 2010, some 15,000 saplings have been distributed among the citizens to encourage plantation and greening of the city. Every year a sapling fair (sale of plants and saplings) is arranged in the city.
Rajshahi City Corporation has set short and long-term targets for the indicators in the issue of green growth and has prioritised its activities towards the achievement of the goals by implementing several programmes related to social forestry, plantation activity and others. Using ecoBUDGET, Rajshahi monitors and tracks the impact of the implementation of the solutions identified, so as to provide information and data to base policy decisions on.
Another example concerns waste management in Thimphu City Corporation. Ecosystem services in the city are under direct threat from waste accumulation with adverse consequences on human well-being. Methods of handling and disposing waste are often adopted without considering the immediate and long term environmental impacts. Accumulated waste releases methane and other gases into the atmosphere, disturbing the regulating services provided by the ecosystem and triggering climate change. In addition, the disposal of waste perturbs the aesthetic, psychological and spiritual value of the region, impacting on the social welfare of people considerably. 
Thimphu City Corporation has set short and long-term targets for the “waste management” indicator. The detrimental impacts of waste suggest the need for policies achieving a balance between sustaining ecosystem services and pursuing the worthy long term goals of development. For the implementation of ecoBUDGET, the City Council ratified a resolution to implement the environmental budget, making the targets politically binding, as well as the political decision-makers and senior urban managers systematically and periodically involved in the ecoBUDGET cycle.  It was made clear that there is the need for effective governance structures, integrated institutional arrangements, education and awareness within the overall goal of managing solid waste.

2. INTRODUCING PARTNERS

In this section of each Newsletter two project partners give a short introduction about themselves.

BOHOL (PHILIPPINES)

The island province of Bohol, the tenth largest island of the Philippines, is located 626 km south of Manila, the country’s capital. The island has gently rolling terrain, with a maximum elevation of 870 metres above sea level. The uplands are fit for agro-forestry and high value agricultural production. The central and northern lowlands have fertile grounds and abundant water supply.  Bohol’s climate is characterised by a gentle maximum rain period and no dry season. It is generally warm and dry along the coast while cold and humid in their interior areas, with an average temperature of 28 °C. Typhoons and earthquakes are rare. Maximum precipitation occurs from June to October.
The province of Bohol is populated by 1,137,268 inhabitants with an annual growth rate of 2.92 percent. The main languages on the island are Boholano, English, Tagalog, Fookien and Mandarin.

Within the DReAMS project Bohol aims to achieve sustainability and the attainment of the Millennium Development Goals, namely Goal 1 and 7. In order to achieve these goals, the local state actors of the six local authorities of the Province of Bohol, namely Balilihan, Talibon, Tubigon, Jagna, and Pilar participated in a series of workshops on ecoBUDET and PDMS.
Concerning ecoBUDGET, the workshops focused on the preparation of the environmental master budget and a review of the respective draft versions in each municipality. During such workshops, appropriate measures were identified; the road map for implementation was framed and technical assistance was identified, in case of need. The next workshop series focused on the Poverty Database Monitoring System (PDMS), where development issues of the municipality were identified and prioritised. By the end of both the series of workshops, all six municipalities produced a draft Municipal Poverty Reduction Action Plan (MPRAP). A field study was then conducted to test the MPRAP in Balilihan prior its replication in the remaining five local authorities within DReAMS project.

Overall, the implementation of both ecoBUDGET and the PDMS in Bohol among the six local authorities had produced initial results for the year 2011. In Balilihan for example, two of its seven water sources are now free from colliform. In Talibon, a coastal local authority, 200 hectares of coastal area were planted with mangroves.  In Tubigon, an 11% increase in crop production per hectare per annum was recorded. In Jagna, four out of its eight rivers had been declogged due to high siltation.  In Maribojoc, 500 trees were planted, bringing its total number to 3,400 out of the 4,000 target for 2013. Lastly in Pilar, the survival percentage rate of its trees grown had reached 65% from the target 75% for 2013. All six local authorities hope to achieve more of its targets by 2012.



BOLOGNA (ITALY)

Bologna (Italy), with an area of approximately 14,000 hectares and about 380,000 inhabitants, is the capital of Emilia-Romagna, a region in Northern Italy, and it is a crucial railway and motorway junction.
The local economy is based on small and medium sized enterprises, which carry a reputation of prestige and relevance nationwide. Very important is the fair centre of Bologna which has gained an international importance related to the competitiveness of its events, also improving employment and productive activities within the City. Bologna is also famous for its University founded in 1088, considered the oldest University in Europe and for its vibrant cultural life with currently about 85.000 university students.

The Municipality plays a leading role in national environmental policies and has frequently received international acknowledgement for its achievements.
The experts of the Environment Department work actively with other departments towards the goal of urban sustainability.
Bologna is a founding member of ICLEI- Local governments for sustainability, and partner of Eurocities and Local Agenda21 Italy.
Bologna has always been involved in many European projects. Currently, some of the projects being developed by the Environment Department are called: GAIA, LAIKA, Realising DREAMS, GOVERNEE and 3NCULT.
The efforts of Bologna on the issues related to sustainable development have been confirmed by the signing of international agreements, such as Aalborg Commitments (2006) and the Covenant of Mayor (2008).

As stated above Bologna is a very advanced city when it comes to sustainability. That is why the city is now in a position to advise other cities and communities on their way to a more sustainable future. In the DReAMS project, Bologna is closely working together with cities in Bhutan, Bangladesh and India, helping them to develop projects and actions that are enhancing the sustainability of their cities respectively.
In fact, Bologna invited representatives from these cities to Italy, to get inspirations and ideas on what can be done in the area of sustainability. In the last newsletter, we informed you about this study trip.

3. STUDY TOUR EXPERIENCES

The city of Växjö visits its peer in Bohol

In November 2011 the City of Växjö together with ICLEI South East Asia paid a visit to its partner in the Philippines, Bohol. During this field visit, the representatives from Växjö had the chance to personally review the status quo of the environmental progress in different sectors of Bohol province. The first three days were dedicated to a seminar focused on environmental objectives and their integration within the financial budget. The following two days involved study visits in six municipalities. Having taken stock  of the local situation, Växjö came up with several suggestions to further improve the already impressive work Bohol has carried out.

In the following paragraphs, every sector visited will be described briefly, stating the status quo and adding the suggestions made by Växjö. It was very clear for the representatives of Växjö that environmental issues are crucial for elevating the municipalities from poverty, which is why  environmental work was prioritised by leading politicians.

In the area of environmental management, Växjö was impressed with Bohol’s achievements. All six municipalities have their master budgets in place and have started implementation. Here it was recognised, that follow-up beyond the project life time is highly important to ensure the good work can be carried further.
Waste water treatment however, turned out to lack in both small and large scale in Bohol. In particular, the treatment of already filled septic tanks remained unclear. The use of cleaned waste water as fertiliser was a vision suggested by Växjö in this context.
In the area of drinking water production, Växjö noted that current water fees are very low. However, higher fees could be one way to finance maintenance of the water works and at the same time good quality. The latter has to be well communicated to the inhabitants, to make them understand the value of higher prices. Furthermore, Växjö suggested a system of self control and structured simple routines for water works, such as where to take water sample from, what to do if an accident occurs, and who is responsible for adding chlorine, presenting the Swedish system in use as an example.

Energy production and supply is a complex thematic area. Here only the most important findings and suggestions will be outlined. First, it was noted that consumption of electricity doesn’t exist in the master budget. At this point, monitoring the current energy usage in Bohol could be a starting point. Second, the shift to renewable energy could and should also be addressed in Bohol. This could be done by designing a strategy on how to phase out fossil fuel. Another interesting path to follow would be investigating the potential of an inventory of the volumes and character of waste residuals in Bohol. The whole area of biogas production for energy needs further serious exploration. Solar energy for instance, seems to have a huge potential in Bohol, and as the technique is slowly becoming cheaper, the market and the investment opportunities in the province should be studied. Another suggestion made by the city of Växjö concerns the CO2 monitoring of traffic, which could provide politicians with data,supporting their decisions. The latter field of activity is already being explored by the provincial government of Bohol.
Finally, Växjö suggested supporting the organic farming sector in Bohol, by producing a simple brochure that lists where citizens and tourists can buy organic and local products in Bohol. This brochure could then be distributed in restaurants, hotels, stores etc.

All in all it can be said that the field visit was a great success for both Bohol and Växjö. The latter has now a clearer picture of the environmental situation in Bohol and can tailor its support better to the province’s needs. It has indeed further strengthened the link between the two peers, now aiming at keeping up the good work even beyond the project’s life time. 

4. LIBRARY

Vulnerability in Developing Countries

As the term ‘vulnerability’ becomes more commonly used, quite often in reference to climate change, understanding what vulnerability really means can come in handy. This book, published by the UN University, presents several case studies dealing with vulnerability, focusing mainly on vulnerability of households to poverty, but also to ill health, food insecurity and macro-economic shocks.

The household is the focus level for understanding, measuring and dealing with vulnerability. Although the cases recognize the strong ability of households to cope with vulnerability and build resilience to risks on their own, a common finding from the case studies is that households need support from local and higher levels of government to persist and prosper. This is the case because impacts are frequently of too large a magnitude for a single household to absorb without networks of support, and also because institutional support should help ensure that coping strategies are based on sustainable criteria.

A better understanding of vulnerability can have relevant implications for policy making and support the livelihoods of those less resilient to the several natures of pressing impacts.
This book offers interesting reads on the rather academic side of life.

If you would like to learn more about this book (ISBN: 978-92-808-1171-1) please follow this link: archive.unu.edu/unupress/2009/vulnerabilityInDevelopingCountries.html

Dr. Cristina Garzillo

ICLEI - Local Governments for Sustainability, European Secretariat
Leopoldring 3, 79098 Freiburg, Germany
Tel: +49 - 761 - 368 92 0 | Fax: +49 - 761 - 368 - 92 69
cristina.garzillo@iclei.org

Disclaimer

This document has been produced with the financial assistance of the  European Union. The contents of this document are the sole responsibility of the Province of Bohol and can under no circumstances be regarded as reflecting the position of the European Union.

Published by ICLEI - Local Governments for Sustainability, 2011
Contact: cristina.garzillo@iclei.org