The seven cities from the Philippines that participated in the Earth Hour City Challenge (EHCC) 2015-2016 were recognized by the World Wildlife Fund for Nature (WWF)-Philippines during a two-day workshop held last August 17-18 in Quezon City. These cities had risen to the global challenge to showcase their local actions and commitments to combat climate change: Makati City, Paranaque City, Quezon City, Santa Rosa City, Naga City, San Carlos City, and Cagayan de Oro City.
EHCC is a WWF initiative that aims to “highlight, recognize, and reward city governments that are making substantial long-term efforts to combat climate change.” The theme for this round of EHCC is ‘Bridging the Gap to 202’. Evaluations had put emphasis on “powerful, inspiring and creative actions and solutions in terms of reducing GHG emissions and reporting co-benefits related to food, water and energy security.” Participating cities from all over the world had reported their emissions data, commitments, as well as climate change mitigation and adaptation actions in the carbonn Climate Registry (cCR), a reporting platform managed by ICLEI. ICLEI Southeast Asia Secretariat (ICLEI SEAS), the partner of WWF-Philippines in this undertaking, had supported the seven cities in the reporting and usage of the cCR.
In the workshop, ICLEI SEAS provided an overview of the processes and results of this year’s EHCC. Santa Rosa City was proclaimed as the first National Earth Hour Capital of the Philippines. The city was joined by Makati City and San Carlos City as finalists. The City Government of Santa Rosa effectively reported its entity and community-level greenhouse gas (GHG) inventories and management framework plan as well as a wide range of environmental actions and initiatives on the areas of renewable energy, energy efficiency, solid waste management, and number of awareness raising campaigns, that impressed the members of the international jury.
Paris was announced as this year’s Global Earth Hour Capital.
San Carlos City also received the We Love Cities (WLC) award, having gained the most number of votes from various social media platforms (Twitter and Instagram) among the three finalist cities from the Philippines. The WLC Campaign is the public engagement arm of the EHCC initiative. The city of Bogor in Indonesia emerged as the global WLC winner among the 46 finalist cities from 21 participating countries.
First District of Laguna Rep. Arlene Arcillas, former Mayor of Santa Rosa, said that the City Government has been actively implementing environmental actions within their locality that seek to influence and engage the participation of its community members. Recognizing the adverse impacts of climate change, she asserted that cities are indeed taking actions and should further intensify these actions. WWF-Philippines echoed this statement and encouraged the cities that attended the event to also rise to the challenge and participate in the next call of EHCC in 2017.
Awarding of the Global Earth Hour Capital and WLC Winner will be conducted in October 2016 in Quito, Ecuador, in time for the highly anticipated United Nations Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development (HABITAT III).