Recognizing cities and their role in achieving a climate-resilient and sustainable future, WWF-Philippines’ One Planet Cities (OPC) program and its flagship activity, One Planet City Challenge (OPCC), has once again highlighted the critical role of local governments, particularly cities, in addressing climate change’s impacts through an in-person comeback culminating event amidst the pandemic.
Launched in 2011, the OPCC is the largest and longest-running biennial global challenge initiated by World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), with over 400 cities from 53 countries on 5 continents participating since its inception. OPCC recognizes participating cities for their contribution and efforts to mitigate the climate crisis. This biennial initiative seeks to help cities across the globe align their inclusive climate actions with the 1.5 C global target and develop climate-smart recovery plans through community engagement, public awareness, and capacity building.
With the theme “Cities and the NDC: Discussion on Gaps and Opportunities”, a one-day event was held last December 6 at the Marco Polo Hotel in Ortigas that serves as the culmination of this year’s run in the Philippines. A roundtable discussion formed part of the program wherein invited speakers from the Climate Change Commission, the Philippine League of Local Environment and Natural Resources Officers, Inc. (PLLENRO), business and NGO sectors exchanged insights on how cities can align their climate actions in the country’s submitted Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC). In the afternoon session, a total of sixteen (16) participating cities were recognized for their efforts in taking on the global challenge of WWF to present their commitments and action plans towards low-carbon development.
Cities included in the country’s OPCC 2021-2022 implementation are Baguio, Batangas, Cagayan de Oro, Legazpi, Makati, Ormoc, Pasig, San Carlos, San Fernando (La Union), Santa Rosa, Tagum, Zamboanga, and Vigan. Quezon City and Davao City distinguished themselves as national finalists in this year’s global challenge.
Although Davao City Mayor Sebastian Duterte was unable to attend the face-to-face OPCC culminating activity, he still gladly expressed his gratitude for the recognition received.
“It is through the collective effort and influence of both government and private sector that helped the city enhance its environmental reforms and attain significant progress toward sustainability. Above all, let us further our shared commitment to environmental protection and preservation,” Duterte shared.
Quezon City Acting Asst. Dept. Head of the Climate Change & Environmental Sustainability Dept. Vincent Vinarao highlights the city’s thrust towards a “livable, green, sustainable, and climate-resilient city” after receiving their participant’s trophy during the OPCC Awarding Ceremonies last December 6, 2022. WWF-Philippines/Matikas Santos
“On behalf of the Quezon City Government with the leadership of Honorable Mayor Joy Belmonte, we are truly honored to be one of the national finalists of WWF’s One Planet City Challenge 2012-2022. This recognition is a testament that we are on the right track as we aim to build a livable, green, sustainable, and climate-resilient city,” Vincent Vinarao, Acting Assistant Department Head, Climate Change & Environmental Sustainability Department (CCESD).
Dipolog City Mayor Darel Dexter Uy received the National Winner Award of the 2022 One Planet City Challenge for the city’s action plans that aim to bring down the total greenhouse gas emissions. WWF-Philippines/Matikas Santos
Dipolog City emerged as the National Winner for the Philippines in this year’s One Planet City Challenge. The city was awarded for its bold leadership and holistic efforts to create innovative and impactful action plans for long-term environmental benefits. Dipolog was also awarded as the “Most Lovable City,” a special award from OPCC’s related public engagement campaign, “We Love Cities.” Mayor Darel Dexter Uy was present at the event and received the recognition on behalf of his constituents.
“Our environmental actions may not represent the best that the country has to showcase, but I believe it is the guts and the conviction to make a difference. The targets that we have committed were called as most ambitious but also aligned with the country’s nationally determined contributions,” Mayor Uy shared. “We therefore share this OPCC award and the challenge that comes with it with all cities and climate advocates in our country.”
WWF-Philippines’ Technical partner, ICLEI-Southeast Asia, discussed during the event the essential involvement of all the stakeholders in the NDC implementation and the crucial role of cities in helping achieve the country’s part in the overall global climate commitment. The event also highlighted the importance of public engagement and youth participation which has been seen to strengthen the national contribution of the country.
WWF-Philippines’ Climate and Energy Program Head Atty. Angela Ibay explains to the representatives of 16 cities the process of the friendly competition and how it achieves the target of lowering greenhouse gas emissions. WWF-Philippines/Matikas Santos
Atty. Angela Ibay, Head of the Climate and Energy Programme of WWF-Philippines, acknowledged all the OPCC participating cities and encouraged the local governments to continue joining the global challenge.
“Cities have really been at the forefront of facing the climate crisis. Thank you so much for being part of this One Planet City Challenge.” Atty. Ibay said. “We want you to know that, as we go through the year, we’ll be here to help you and assist you in your journey. Because we really want to go on the journey of Changing the Ending.”
Over the next two years, WWF-PH hopes to expand the global challenge to support more local governments in the country in developing actions to combat climate change. With the commitment and active participation of partner cities and organizations, the Philippines will undoubtedly achieve the climate trajectory and secure firm its NDC implementation to #ChangeTheEnding for the environment.