Cities worldwide are rapidly urbanizing, shedding light on the interrelated challenges of environmental, social and economic inequalities. Most of the plastic in our oceans come from rapidly urbanizing cities, particularly those along rivers and coastal areas in cities the Global South. Still, the generation and treatment of waste in urban areas is a challenge for cities and a huge opportunity. While the health, economic and environmental concerns of mismanaged waste are a high priority for constituents, local governments are natural partners for developing holistic solutions for waste management due to their general mandate and local understanding. Adding a resilience layer to solutions strengthen its capacity to tackle multiple problems, enabling the development of low-carbon, inclusive and systemic solutions.
At its core, the Urban Ocean program was created to bring urban and ocean practitioners closer together, speaking the same language and finding diverse and holistic ways to connect (or reconnect) these centers of production, consumption, and population to the water that is some time on their “front porch.”
The Project Statements from the five Learning Cities of the first phase of the Urban Ocean Program are the result of two years of work and dedication by each city and trusted partners to develop specific actions that the city hopes will advance solutions that help to build urban resilience through better waste management and address plastic waste challenges. They are based on a rigorous gap assessment process and several capacity-building sessions that helped the city pinpoint the best opportunities for impact and formulate data-driven, multipronged approaches to implement locally. Each project statement presents the context and the needs of the city on which the project builds. It provides the city’s vision and outlines the impact each city is seeking to achieve, while detailing the steps, timeline, institutional arrangements, and budget towards implementation.
Can Tho – Enhancing Can Tho’s River Waste Management and Recycling Facilities, focuses on creating an enabling environment for recycling businesses to prosper while demonstrating how a well-managed waste cycle in urban areas can enhance tourism, economic activity and equity and support the cleaning of the city’s rivers.
Melaka – Creating Clear River and Coastal Areas and Enhancing the City’s Recycling Infrastructure, focuses on creating a more efficient waste management system that will strengthen the circular economy, create job opportunities by encouraging community involvement as the key enabler to avoid waste leakages, reduce GHG emissions and create a strong tourism sector in Melaka.
Panama City – Enhance the Recovery of Recyclable Material in Panama City, focuses on balancing short-term actions that demonstrate the value of recycled material with longer-term structural solutions to strengthen the recycling industry in the city and promote green jobs and equity, decreasing the amount of waste generated.
Pune – Supporting Transformation of Energy and Recovery Materials Initiative, focuses on leading the circular economy transformation in Pune by formalizing recycling jobs and enterprises, empowering women in the sector, supporting innovation in materials recovery, leveraging partnerships along material and value chains and mitigating GHG emissions from waste management.
Semarang – Adaptation Waste Management Models and Inclusive Waste Governance, focuses on leading the circular economy transformation in Semarang, by increasing the waste service coverage, the amount of waste managed and recycling rates in the city through an inclusive model.