On 21 February, IGES’s Sustainable Consumption and Production (SCP) team participated in the 22nd CityNet Japan Forum, organised by the CityNet Yokohama Project Office under the theme of “Tackling Solid Waste Management in Asia”.
CityNet is a regional network of municipalities and institutions committed to promoting sustainable and resilient urban development in Asia and the Pacific. Established in 1987 with the support of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat), CityNet currently comprises 135 cities and organisations representing more than 20 countries from across the region. In addition to municipal and local governments, private companies, and development authorities, the network also includes universities, research centres, NGOs and other civil society organisations specialised in sustainable urban management issues.
A long established member of CityNet, IGES collaborated with the CityNet Yokohama Project in 2017 on the implementation of two model projects in the cities of Galle, Sri Lanka and Islamabad City, Pakistan respectively. Working with local partners, both projects sought to improve community-based waste management through environmental education and awareness raising on 3R (reduce, reuse and recycle) practices. IGES conducted research and provided specific technical support for the delivery of key interventions, seeking to address waste in the context of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the global climate action agenda. A compendium of main outcomes and lessons learned were documented and shared at the CityNet 2017 Congress held in Colombo, Sri Lanka 5-8 November 2017.
Accordingly, the CityNet Japan Forum afforded an opportunity for knowledge sharing about successful city-led initiatives focused on 3R actions, including good practices related to waste segregation and classification. IGES delivered a keynote presentation on effective drivers for resource efficient waste management, highlighting case studies drawn from the technical cooperation activities assisting Oki Town, Japan and Surabaya City, Indonesia, respectively. Moreover, good practices resulting from the IGES-CityNet led projects in Galle and Islamabad City were also reviewed, together with several interventions led by Japanese non-profit organisations. Against this backdrop, IGES facilitated a group discussion on main findings and lessons learned, such as the need for defining a clear vision, engaging relevant stakeholders and encouraging active partnerships, organising awareness raising and environmental education campaigns in schools, coordinating waste management strategies at the city and national levels, optimising the use of local resources, and widening the scope for city-to-city collaboration, including on climate and the SDGs.
Following the event, IGES conducted a webinar on 23 February 2018, in which Mr. Chathura Welivitiya, Executive Director of HELP-O—a local civil society partner of Galle City—was invited to share insights about technology options for organic waste management. Because organic materials are estimated to comprise as much as half of all waste generation in industrialising countries, effective management of organic waste shows great promise for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, such as methane, as well as achieving public health benefits. Mr. Welivitiya’s presentation and ensuing group discussion identified the importance of conducting further analyses on successful community-based approaches for tackling sustainable development and climate change. To this end, IGES is currently working to develop technical guidelines for biogas energy systems, examining ways organic waste can be treated through simple, low-cost and environmentally friendly measures.