THE European Union (EU) has pledged around €466 million (P2.7 billion) to help the Philippines drastically lower its plastic wastes and switch to renewable energy.
This was announced by European Commission president Ursula von de Leyen during her recent visit to Manila.
One of the possible projects under this EU initiative would be the development of new sanitary landfills and alternative means of waste treatment, such as co-processing of waste in cement plants and waste-to-energy.
The EU’s 27 member-countries, as well as individual governments of France, Spain, Germany, Finland, Austria, the Netherlands and Sweden, will form part of the “Team Europe Initiative on Green Economy,” which will roll-out this major outlay.
The union has allocated €300 billion (P18 trillion) to an international infrastructure development strategy called “Global Gateway” in an apparent bid to counter China’s “Belt and Road Initiative.” For Asean member-states, the investment package costs €10 billion (P605 billion) in public funds.
“Unlike other foreign investors, we don’t want to invest only in raw materials extraction,” von der Leyen said. “We can also support you in building local capacity for processing powered by new clean energy infrastructure renewable energy.”
The EU Commission official added that it is not only good for the climate, but “it’s also homegrown. So Global Gateway seeks to create good jobs right here, because this also strengthens our supply chains.”
The Team Europe Initiative on Green Economy will develop an “alternative model” to the plastic-waste management approach in the Philippines. The country is considered the third-largest pollutant of plastic wastes around the world, contributing to an estimated 0.75 million metric tons of ocean plastic every year.
According to the European Delegation to Manila, the project will be led by industry players, in “close cooperation” with the Philippine authorities. Local governments, manufacturers, importers, suppliers, environmental, trade and industry associations, as well as consumers who play a role in reducing plastic waste and in combating marine litter, will be engaged.
“[This] will help to develop a circular economy policy; in particular, tackling plastic waste, to complement the national strategy to combat marine litter,” it said.
Aside from plastic waste, the project will also conduct a policy dialogue among government officials to boost circular economy, renewable energy and energy efficiency.
Officials from the Department of Energy as well as other key stakeholders will undergo capacity-building training to support the clean energy agenda.
The EU will also help identify new private-energy sector investments that will focus on mitigation of climate change.
The initiative will also support the development of an information system for the collection and reporting of data, as well as awareness-raising activities. It will also be showcased at the Global Gateway Forum in Brussels on October 25 and 26, 2023.