ON September 16, Economic Affairs Minister Daisuke Nihei of the Embassy of Japan led the culmination event of the “Healthy Oceans and Clean Cities Initiative (HOCCI).” It highlighted achievements, experiences, and lessons learned of partner-cities and communities in localizing the Philippines’s National Plan of Action in Marine Litter (NPOA-ML) into City Plans of Action for Marine Litter (CPOA-ML).
The activity also featured the emerging approaches explored by partner-cities, such as customized integration of digitization and digital transformation in plastic-waste diversion and local government units’ Extended Producer Responsibility-readiness.
A regional initiative by the United Nations-Habitat Phils. and the government of Japan, HOCCI addresses the growing concern over marine-plastic pollution that endangers the environment, marine ecosystems, and public health. While the Philippines has among the highest trash collection rates in Southeast Asia, it remains the world’s third-largest source of marine litter.
With UN-Habitat Phils.’ lead, the Japanese government funded $3 million for the project which ran for three-and-a-half years from April 2020 to September 2023, and was piloted in the cities of Cagayan de Oro, Calapan, Davao, Legazpi, Manila, and Ormoc. The project primarily provided support for improved governance structures and capacities for NPOA-ML’s localization and the vertical integration of the marine plastic-litter response. The project also assisted the cities in improving technology and systems for marine plastic-litter reduction.
In his speech, Nihei expressed his hopes that the gains and lessons learned from the HOCCI rollout will “inspire synergies and deepen partnerships at the community, national, and international levels to work hand-in-hand in reducing marine litter.”