ICLEI SEAS presents Urban Nexus at Laguna environment summit

ICLEI Southeast Asia Secretariat (ICLEI SEAS) presented the Urban Nexus approach to urban governance at an Environment Summit held on 28 August 2015 in Santa Cruz, a municipality in the province of Laguna, Philippines. The Urban Nexus aims to fully utilize the interaction and synergies across the key ‘nexus’ sectors, including water, energy, and food security, and the potential co-benefits arising from integrated resource management. It is anchored on the introduction of innovative engineering technologies and adheres to the principle of integrated urban planning and breaking open of ‘silo’ thinking.

The Association of Laguna Environment and Natural Resources Officers and Advocates (ALENROA) Inc. organized the said summit with the theme “Tubig Kanlungan… Alagaan… Pagyamanin! (Protect and Enrich Watersheds).” Laguna Governor Ramil Hernandez opened the summit highlighting that environmental protection is one of the priorities of the province.

ICLEI SEAS Regional Program Manager, Mr. Ranell Martin Dedicatoria, discussed the Nexus approach vis-à-vis watershed management taking off from the experiences of the City of Santa Rosa, Laguna. The city is one of two pilot cities in the Philippines (the other being Naga City) supported by the GIZ-implemented project, ‘Integrated Resource Management in Asian Cities: The Urban Nexus.’ ICLEI SEAS serves as implementation partner of the project in the Philippines and Indonesia.

During his presentation, Mr. Dedicatoria highlighted that the Nexus approach on watershed management refers to complex linkages of several actors that impact one another. He explained that breaking down the ‘silo’ thinking means moving away from the sectoral thinking. “Within a local government, there is a need for collaboration and cooperation with other departments when managing watersheds. Across local governments, this requires clustering and planning holistically,” he said.

He emphasized that proper watershed management cannot be done by one local government alone. It requires collaboration and cooperation of all local governments covering the watershed. This needs institutional strengthening and requires “champions” in order to move things forward. He concluded that watershed management relates, either directly or indirectly, on several relevant Nexus issues including solid waste and wastewater management and energy generation and efficiency.

Other presenters included Dr. Myra David and Dr. Felino Lansigan from the University of the Philippines Los Baños, Ms. Melanie Arguelles and Ms. Dolorita Ravanilla from the Laguna Lake Development Authority, and Mr. Edgardo Tongson representing World Wildlife Fund (WWF) - Philippines. Environment Officers of Santa Rosa and Sta. Cruz, Ms. Erlinda Creencia and Ms. Marie San Miguel, also presented updates about their respective watershed management initiatives.

The summit was attended by several local governments in the province of Laguna as well as neighboring towns from the adjacent provinces of Batangas and Cavite, which still form part of the watershed.

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ICLEI SEAS Program Manager, Mr. Ranell Martin Dedicatoria, presents the Urban Nexus approach to urban governance at an Environmental Summit held on 28 August 2015 in Santa Cruz, Laguna.