What do the cities of Davao, Dipolog and Quezon have in common? They have been selected as national finalists in the World Wide Fund for Nature’s (WWF) 2021-2022 One Planet City Challenge (OPCC) from 16 qualified cities in the Philippines.
WWF initiated the OPCC to honor cities for their climate actions and ambitions, and assess whether they align with the goals agreed upon in the Paris Agreement in limiting plane’t warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius by 2100, OPCC said.
The OPCC finalists will be evaluated by an international jury panel composed of experts in urban sustainability. The winners will be announced by May-June.
It should be noted that the United Nations Environment Programme pointed out that climate change directly impacts cities and urban life.
Increasing global temperatures result in rising sea levels and more extreme weather events—such as floods, droughts, and storms, particularly affecting coastal communities.
OPCC said increases in the spread of vector-borne and water-borne diseases and heat-related illnesses have affected urban populations as global temperatures increase.
The recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report reinforced these findings. It said that cities are areas of concentrated risk to climate change with losses due to infrastructure damage and disruption in services and affected supply chains already occurring. Cities are also areas where opportunities for delivering urgent climate action abound.
Major contributors to climate change are cities, because urban activities are significant sources of greenhouse gas emissions. An estimated 75 percent of global carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions are from cities, with transport and buildings being among the largest contributors, OPCC said.
To address the climate change challenge, some cities have started to use renewable energy sources, implement regulations to limit industrial emissions, and institute energy efficiency measures.
“Many have undertaken climate actions to increase their city’s resilience with its residents and businesses adapting to the changing climate. Others have also enforced laws that help to restore and preserve the environment,” OPCC said.
In OPCC, cities are encouraged to present their best practices and holistic plans to substantially reduce the effects of climate change and accelerate climate transformation.
In OPCC’s 2021-2022 leg, there are a total of 280 cities from 50 countries.
Since its inception 10 years ago, close to 600 cities from 53 countries in five continents have already participated in this challenge.
One Planet Cities Project Manager for WWF-Philippines Imee Bellen expressed hope that more Philippine cities will participate in OPCC in the future.
“We are always welcome to showcase inspiring transformative urban solutions to mitigate the adverse effects of climate change,” Bellen said.
WWF-Philippines Climate and Energy Programme Head Atty. Angela Ibay encouraged citizens to help their respective cities to boost their capacity to respond to the climate crisis.
“The cities’ plans would not come to life if it wasn’t for the collective action of its residents. However, we as individuals can still make a difference on our own. Even the most trivial habits, such as reducing energy consumption, can have a long-lasting impact on the community and nature,” Ibay said.