Sustainable Cities (Kitakyushu Urban Centre)

The 4th Green Economy Green Growth, GEGG Myanmar Forum
IGES and Kitakyushu City hosted Panel Discussion on “Mandalay – Kitakyushu City to City Cooperation Towards an Eco Model City of ASEAN” in collaboration with MCDC


The experience of Kitakyushu City, one of the leading eco model cities in Japan, demonstrates that economic growth can be accomplished with environmental achievement by introducing local policies, including industrial promotion and environmental protection measures. The evidence also shows the importance of building partnership among relevant stakeholders in local development, which can be initiated by local government. Based on the current partnership between Mandalay City and Kitakyushu City to improve the municipal solid waste management (MSWM) in Mandalay, this session facilitated an in-depth discussion among relevant stakeholders to raise understanding on the current situation, discuss key challenges and identify possible actions for pursuing the goal to become an Eco Model City in ASEAN.

Date & Time 6 February 2015, 9:00 – 12:00
Venue Mandalay University, Mandalay City, Myanmar
Participants 100
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Related Link Greeen Economy Green Growth Website
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Session Summary

The first part of the session focused on the potential of City to City Cooperation for improving MSWM in Mandalay City. The session was chaired by U Htun Kyi, and U Han Soe, Executive Committee member of the MCDC, and began with a welcome speech from H.E. Aung Maung, the Mayor of Mandalay City. Mayor Aung Maung stressed the necessity of “transformation” to an Eco Model City in Myanmar. Explaining the current situation of MSWM in the city, Dr. Thwin, an executive committee member of Mandalay City Development Committee (MCDC) highlighted that the total amount of waste generation in the city has trebled during last 10 years due to rapid urbanisation and economic development. As one of the priority options, improving public awareness and citizen participation is essential for waste minimisation.

Sharing the experience of other Asian Cities, Ms. Imazuya from Kitakyushu City presented how Kitakyushu City systematically introduced citizen learning on 3R concept during their lifetime. She emphasised the importance of more participatory learning activities rather than classroom lectures to raise civil awareness. She also introduced the experience of a project that was implemented using external funds on environmental education/learning in China. Mr. Premakumara, IGES Kitakyushu Urban Centre, shared the experience of Kitakyushu City in implementing a City to City Cooperation for MSWM in Asia, illustrating two case studies in Surabaya, Indonesia and Cebu, Philippines. His presentation highlighted that modernisation of MSWM is a step-by-step approach and developing cities can learn from the experience of developed cities through city-to-city cooperation. However, selecting the technologies and methods should be based on local conditions. Dr. Peter King, IGES, pointed out that south-to-south cooperation would be beneficial as Mandalay can learn from Surabaya and Cebu. He also mentioned that waste management is not an infrastructure problem but a matter of people’s mindset for behavioural change.

The second part of the session focused on how Mandalay City can take off towards an Eco Model City in ASEAN. The key panelists included representatives from local government, university, private business and civil society who presented their observations on the current MSWM system to identify key gaps and recommendations for building a sustainable city in Mandalay. All panelists identified a lack of public awareness and an inefficient collection system as some of the key challenges faced by the city and mentioned that lessons can be learnt from Kitakyushu City on these matters. In addition, the discussion identified the importance of considering MSWM in an integrated manner with other urban services, such as waste water, drainage and sanitation.

Summarising the discussion, Mr. Premakumara recommended that raising public awareness on the 3Rs (reduce, reuse, and recycling) is a high priority in the city and this can be achieved through capacity building for environmental education/learning based on the experience of Kitakyushu City. One way to do this is by reviewing the current environmental education programmes in the city, especially starting from the school education. In addition, a pilot or model project can be started to practice separated waste collection, getting involved with local communities, existing private sector groups and local government for efficient operations.

Major Recommendations

1) Despite the growing challenges posed by the MSWM in Mandalay City, a shift from the traditional end-of-life disposal system to a more integrated system that promotes the 3Rs (reduce, reuse and recycle) based on waste hierarchy is identified as an urgent need. There also needs to be an integrated treatment system with other urban services including drainage and sanitation. 

2) The choice of technology for modernisation of MSWM system in the city is important but not enough to ensure sustainability. Other key factors such as relevant policies, incentives, monitoring tools, political support, partnership with private sector and citizen participation also need to be considered.

3) Needless to say, environmental education and awareness-raising of the issue is important to promote changes in citizen's attitudes leading to change their behaviours. This can be started from the schools and new learning methods should be applied in contrast to traditional classroom lectures.

4) International city-to-city co-operation is one of the best ways of transferring the experiences of developed cities to developing cities. Such initiatives have already started between Kitakyushu City and Mandalay City since last year aiming to develop Mandalay as an eco-model city in ASEAN. However, developing cities should take into account local and unique conditions and develop an applicable approach based on the example of developed cities.

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