On Sept. 15, Economic Affairs Minister Nihei Daisuke of the Embassy of Japan in the Philippines joined the culmination event of the Healthy Oceans and Clean Cities Initiative (HOCCI). The event highlighted the achievements, experiences, and lessons learned by the partner cities and communities in localizing the Philippines National Plan of Action for Marine Litter (NPOA-ML) into City Plans of Action for Marine Litter (CPOA-MG).
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 Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) readiness of local government units.
A regional initiative by UN-Habitat in the Philippines 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 Philippines’ lead, the Government of Japan funded 3 million USD for this project and the project ran for three and a half years, from April 2020 to Sept. 2023, and was piloted in the cities of Cagayan de Oro, Calapan, Davao, Legazpi, Manila, and Ormoc.
The project provided support for improved governance structures and capacities for the localization of the NPOA-ML 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, Minister Nihei expressed his hopes that the gains and lessons learned from the implementation of HOCCI will inspire synergies and deepen partnerships at the community, national, and international levels to work hand in hand in reducing marine litter.