October 2010

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 by introducing an environmental management tool (ecoBUDGET) and a poverty database monitoring system (PDMS) to improve living standards and reduce environmental degradation. Local communities are, thus, 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, Cambodia, India, Italy, the Philippines and Sweden, and ICLEI - Local Governments for Sustainability.

Table of contents

1  |  News

2  |  Introducing partners

  • Thimphu
  • Växjö

3  |  First field visits & training sessions

4  |  Introducing the Poverty Database Monitoring System (PDMS)

5  |  Library

...

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

If this newsletter does not display properly, click here.

...

WORDS FROM THE EDITOR

Welcome to the first DReAMS project Newsletter! A few months into the project we are happy to report on an intensive kick-off meeting held in Bohol this February and on dedicated field visits and training sessions successfully completed in Guntur, Rajshahi, Stung Treng and Thimphu.

From a theoretical approach the project is now moving on to hands-on work in each respective community, with clear aims to improve the use and management of natural resources and to collect sufficient data on livelihood conditions to assess the existing levels of poverty at the local level. A merging of the two concepts is expected to be the immediate outcome of this action: better management of resources for poverty alleviation...

You are very welcome to visit us at our website to learn more about our efforts, successes and challenges. A second edition of this Newsletter will be available around the end of this year.

Greetings from different corners of the world!


1. NEWS

The project philosophy is introduced, followed by highlights of the kick-off meeting

Project gets underway... from concept to action

                 

Both environmental degradation and poverty alleviation are urgent global issues that are too often treated separately. Sustainable development must recognise the interrelationships between economic, social and environmental issues within overall development patterns. Therefore, the approaches to such issues need to be rethought. In least developed countries, a lack of access to safe water and adequate sanitation, poor standards of services and facilities are inequalities that cause poverty within cities to be an embedded problem.

Improved management of the environment and natural resources contributes directly to poverty reduction, more sustainable livelihoods and social order. In order to fight poverty, promote security and preserve the ecosystems, sustainable development should be at the heart of policies and planning systems.

To tackle this challenge, the Realising DReAMS (Development of Resources and Access to Municipal Services) project will help local and regional governments to integrate poverty-environment, by introducing an environmental management tool (ecoBUDGET) and a poverty database monitoring system (PDMS). It will enable these local governments to use the tools and achieve the ultimate aim of improving living standards and reducing environmental degradation. Furthermore, it will assist decision-makers in managing the environment in a way that leads to sustainable development. It works with key local authorities, non state actors and local communities to raise awareness, influence policy making, achieve the Millennium Development Goals and strengthen the mainstreaming of poverty-environment into local planning and programmes.

The project, funded under the EuropeAid Programme of the European Commission, is explicitly addressed to local governments in Least Developed Countries. It is implemented in three target local authorities in three different Asian Least Developed Countries (Stung Treng in Cambodia, Thimphu in Bhutan and Rajshahi in Bangladesh) supported by two additional Asian local authorities, which have adopted ecoBUDGET (Bohol in the Philippines and Guntur in India) and by two European cities (Växjö in Sweden and Bologna in Italy). The beneficiary cities and provinces in Asia range in population from 80,000 (city of Thimphu) to 1.2 million (Province of Bohol). Partner teamwork and interaction will create a reinforced system based both on South-South and North-South cooperation through sharing experiences and cross-cultural learning. ICLEI - Local Governments for Sustainability, with support from its European, South Asian and Southeast Asian offices, is providing expertise and training in the implementation of the environmental management system.

The time then came for partners to get together and kick-off the efforts. The first project meeting was held in Bohol between the 24 - 27 February 2010, with a welcoming speech by the Province’s Governor, Mr. Aumentado. All partners (except Bologna due to a last-minute impediment) discussed the foundations and action plan of the work to be conducted in the coming three years, exchanging experiences and ideas on how to successfully implement the project. A delegation of three EU representatives from the Manila office honoured the consortium with their presence, demonstrating the importance given by the funders to the project’s content and its potential for replication throughout the Asian continent.

On the last day of the meeting, Bohol delivered a training session on PDMS. Partners became familiarised with the tool and discussed the ways in which it may be applicable and adaptable to each partner city or province.

To show the real-life benefits that implementing the ecoBUDGET tool can bring, the Province of Bohol organised a visit to the provincial city of Tubigon’s waste management facility. It is an impressive display of how to sustainably handle waste—from raising awareness among the population, to using the most appropriate methods within a given budgetary constraint, to continually finding ways of improving the system. Tubigon has been using this environmental management system for some years, since it became the beneficiary of a previous EuropeAid project.

Work has now begun... Realising DReAMS is a challenge all partners are welcoming with greatest enthusiasm!

2. INTRODUCING PARTNERS

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

GUNTUR (INDIA)

The city of Guntur is located in the southern state of Andhra Pradesh in India, and is the political and administrative hub of the region. Guntur Municipality is one of the oldest municipalities and also the headquarters of the Guntur District.  It was constituted in 1866 and was upgraded to a Municipal Corporation in 1994.

A brief profile of the city is given below:

The city has an estimated population of around 800,000 (514,707 per 2001 census) and is one of the larger (tier-2) cities in the country. The economy of the city is dependent heavily upon the agricultural market of chillies, cotton and tobacco. The region is also identified as a transportation and textile hub in India. It is a major educational centre with a number of graduate schools, colleges, and high schools providing basic and higher education (agricultural, arts, bio-med, engineering, management, medical, nursing, pharmaceutical, sciences, technology) in the region.  Guntur has an average literacy rate of 68%. The city administration is looked after by the Guntur Municipal Corporation.

Growing population and urbanization has started to adversely impact the environment and hence the lives of people of Guntur. Under the project Realising DReAMS, the city has identified certain issues which will improve the management of environmental and natural resources in the city and also help in poverty alleviation through the use of two tools ecoBUDGET and Poverty Database Management System (PDMS).  In Guntur, the primary environmental and socio-economic issues were linked to the urban basic services and include water availability, water pollution, solid waste management, slum development, energy conservation and improvement of education in government schools.


VÄXJÖ (SWEDEN)

Växjö is a medium sized Swedish city, located in the southern of the country with a population of 82,000 inhabitants. The city has a history of being a centre of education and trade, where the forest industry plays an important role, both for the economy as well as for the environmental achievements.


In 1996 a unanimous political decision was taken to halve fossil fuel generated carbon dioxide emissions over a period from 1993 to 2010. The results up to 2008 show that fossil fuel generated carbon dioxide emissions in Växjö have, so far, been reduced by 35% per inhabitant. At the same time there has been very positive economic growth.


An important key factor to the reduction of fossil CO2 is that fact that the majority of the homes in the city are heated with district heating produced in a combined power and heat plant with wood chips as the major source of fuel. This increases the usage of cheap and environmentally sustainable local resources. It also provides job opportunities for the local industry.

An important tool in the environmental work is the environmental targets that the municipality uses. The municipality has adopted environmental targets stating that the city will become fossil fuel free by the year of 2030. In order to steer and follow through on these targets, the municipality is using the environmental management system ecoBUDGET, which it began to use in 2003. By using ecoBUDGET the targets are being integrated in the financial budget procedure, giving them as high a status as the financial targets and creating greater awareness and participation within the organisation. Still one of the largest barriers to overcome is to make the whole of the organisation, both politicians and civil servants, motivated to work towards the environmental targets.  The City of Växjö has tried to use ecoBUDGET as a sustainable management system, including social aspects, but this area needs to be further developed.

3. FIRST FIELD VISITS & TRAINING SESSIONS

First field visits and training sessions delivered with significant participation and promising results

ICLEI conducted the first field visits for the Realising DReAMS project in the countries of Bhutan, Bangladesh and Cambodia during June and July 2010. These training workshops introduced the concepts of ecoBUDGET and PDMS systems to the city corporation officials of partner cities for the first time and helped them to prepare their draft Master Budget on which they will be working under this project.

In Thimphu – the partner city from Bhutan, the field visit was conducted during 2 - 4 June 2010. The Executive Secretary, Mr. Phuntsho Gyeltshen from TCC inaugurated the workshop, which was well attended by heads of various divisions from the corporation along with a few representatives from the Thimphu City Council.

Mr Gyeltshen indicated that "PDMS and ecoBUDGET survey tools will assist Thimphu Municipality in identifying vulnerable areas of the city and help in prioritising the allocation of resources on Municipal Services".


In Rajshahi, – the partner city of Bangladesh, the first field visit was conducted during 22 – 24 June 2010. The workshop was inaugurated by the Hon’ble Panel Mayor, Mr. Shariful Islam in the presence of Mr. K M Abdus Salam, Secretary, RCC, Corporators of RCC, as well as the senior and middle level officials of different divisions from the corporation.

The training was conducted over a period of three days and involved a number of exercises and group discussions on ecoBUDGET and PDMS systems among the participants. Through these exercises, the participants first identified the relevant environmental problems in their own cities and the natural resources that are impacted by these environmental problems. With the help of group discussions on these issues the participants, in a step by step process, prepared the first draft of the master budget for ecoBUDGET. The participants also identified important issues which will need to be integrated with the PDMS software for collection of data through a household level survey. They also identified areas where the survey will be conducted in a pilot scale for the purposes of the project.

The City Corporations then identified the Local Implementation Team for this project, which will be intimately involved in carrying out the activities of ecoBUDGET and PDMS systems.

The visit to Stung Treng, - the partner Province of Cambodia, was held from 7 - 11 June, 2010 at Sekong Hotel. The highlight of the event was the presence of the Undersecretary of State of the Ministry of Environment, Meas Borin and the Vice Governor Veth Chhay.

The training was delivered to 27 representatives from different districts, municipalities and communes of the Stung Treng Province, as well as to representatives from the neighbouring Kratié Province.

During the opening ceremony, H.E. Veth Chhay, welcomed the opportunity to participate in the DReAMS project. He further stressed that this project will strengthen local government capacity with the added value of integrating two systems: ecoBUDGET and PDMS.

These tools address sound natural resource management and poverty monitoring, with a combined aim to improve the use of natural resources while alleviating poverty. The field visit was used as an opportunity to introduce the project to various stakeholders and to train local government staff in the two systems. The training included simulation exercises following the steps of ecoBUDGET. Stung Treng decided to pilot test the systems in three districts.

With the tools at hand, project partners have started the field work and will be able to report on their experiences in the next project meeting, bringing together all project partners in Freiburg, Germany, in February 2011.

4. INTRODUCING THE POVERTY DATABASE MONITORING SYSTEM (PDMS)

Introducing PDMS

The Poverty Database Monitoring System (PDMS) for local governments is a database software, which has been developed by the Provincial Planning and Development Office of Bohol, along with the Bohol Local Development Foundation.

It consists of 18 indicators, which record and rank the levels of deprivation in the 47-municipalities and one city - Bohol Province in the Philippines. It has also been implemented in other countries. The indicators include: literacy, electricity, garbage disposal, sanitation, unemployment, water and waste water disposal, among others.

It can act as a tool for governance by identifying and ranking the levels of deprivation at the municipal, village and household level and identifying areas requiring poverty reduction support. It can track the impact of specific interventions including their correlation over time and it provides data that can feed into policy-making decisions.

It is a vital tool to bring about convergence of development efforts of all partners in addressing basic social, economic and environmental problems of communities.

The PDMS tool will be implemented by the Asian partner local authorities in the five developing countries included in the consortium (Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cambodia, India and the Philippines).

5. LIBRARY

We invite you to read more about ecoBUDGET. The Introduction for Mayors and Councillors is a concise brochure on ecoBUDGET published by UN-HABITAT, UNEP and ICLEI - Local Governments for Sustainability, focusing on the developing countries' context.

The brochure introduces the concept of integrated resource management and the advantages of ecoBUDGET to local decision makers, offering practical support to Mayors and Councillors in becoming true resource managers.

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, 2010
Contact: cristina.garzillo@iclei.org