First National Workshop for the Development of National Strategies for reduction of the Short Lived Climate Pollutants (SLCPs) from Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) in the Philippines

Rajeev Kumar SINGH, Premakumara Jagath Dickella GAMARALALAGE, Matthew HENGESBAUGH,
Institute for Global Environmental Strategies
Publication Date

Carbon dioxide (CO2), a primary driver of climate change, is responsible for more than half of the total current warming impact of human-caused emissions. Emitted CO2 remains in the atmosphere for hundreds of years, absorbing heat that contributes to a warming effect even after initial CO2 concentrations start falling. Taking this into consideration, mitigation efforts solely focused on CO2 will not be an effective measure for slowing climate change in the near term, and need to be complemented by other fast-action climate mitigation measures that provide more sizable short-term climate benefits. It is therefore crucial that such mitigation strategies will focus on the reduction of Short-lived Climate Pollutants (SLCPs), including Methane (CH4), Tropospheric Ozone (OZ3) Hydrofluorocarbons  (HFCs), Black Carbon (BC), which are responsible for as much as half of global warming not caused by CO2  and possess atmospheric lifetimes of less than 20 years.

The Climate and Clean Air Coalition (CCAC) is a voluntary partnership of governments, intergovernmental organizations, businesses, scientific institutions and civil society organisations committed to improving air quality and protecting the climate through actions to reduce SLCPs. In 2012, the governments of Bangladesh, Canada, Ghana, Mexico, Sweden and the United States, along with the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), came together to initiate efforts to treat short-lived climate pollutants as an urgent and collective challenge. Today, the Coalition brings together over 120 state and non-state partners and hundreds of experienced and influential stakeholders from around the world to leverage high-level engagement and catalyse concrete actions in both the public and private sector. The coalition also takes action through its 11 initiatives, including the Municipal Solid Waste Initiative (MSWI), which aimed at reducing SLCPs from the Municipal Solid Waste Management (MSWM).

Similar to other developing countries, Philippines face a tremendous challenge in addressing SLCP emissions from the MSWM. These challenges include improper waste handling (i.e., separation, collection and treatment), open burning of bio-waste and increasing amounts of waste being inadequately disposed in open dumpsites. In order to address these issues, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has been involved with the Institute for Global Environmental Strategies (IGES), one of the implementing partners of the CCAC-MSWI, to develop policy measures, strategies and implementation plans at both national and Local Government Units (LGUs) to mitigate SLCPs from MSWM since 2015. As a part of this collaboration, IGES with the assistance of CCAC-MSWI has been supporting the Government of Philippines in developing a National Action Plan for the Integration SLCP Reduction into Philippine National Government Solid Waste Management Framework. 

This report documents the proceedings of the First National Workshop, which was organised on 23 November 2017, Quezon City, Philippine for the development of National Strategy for Reduction of the SLCPs from MSWM in the Philippines. More than 50 participants attended the workshop, including key speakers from DENR, IGES, Clean Air Asia, Asian Development Bank (ADB), and the Solid Waste Management Association of the Philippines (SWAPP).  One-day workshop included both presentations and panel discussions that are focused on understanding drivers of SLCP emissions generated by the municipal solid waste sector, impacts and effects of SLCPs, national-level options for addressing SLCPs , and potential strategies for mitigating SLCPs in the municipal waste sector in view of policy, technology and finance issues . Over the course of day, DENR highlighted current waste management policies, future strategies and plans on waste management. In addition, five-selected pilot LGUs provided information on their current waste management systems with consideration of policy, technology and finance issues, as well as their prospective plans. In addition, the Mayor of Virac Municipality actively contributed to workshop discussion, emphasising its importance for influencing behaviour change regarding the environment. The conclusion of the workshop featured a ceremonial signing of the commitment made between DENR, IGES and five pilot LGUs to continue collaboration under the CCAC project.