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<< Back to: ICLEI e-News | issue 11, December 2007 - January 2008

ecoBudget final conference linked two global regions

The two final ecoBudget Conferences, held earlier this month, were probably the first time that an ICLEI project was celebrated by a double final conference, within a few days, in two different world regions. The effort of the project’s consortium was enormous, nevertheless it was the only way to honour in the proper way the first two non-European municipalities, which adopted ecoBudget as a sustainability management instrument.

The occasion was the three-year project ecoBudget - ASIA, funded by EU’s ASIA-URBS Programme.  The project ran from 2005 to 2007 in the local authorities of Bologna (Italy), Växjö (Sweden), Guntur (India) and Tubigon/Bohol (Philippines), with the assistance and co-ordination of three ICLEI Secretariats: Europe, South Asia and Southeast Asia. The conferences were held in the Indian metropolis Hyderabad - capital of the federal state of Andhra Pradesh, where Guntur is situated - and in the picturesque island of Panglao, close to Tagbilaran, Bohol capital (Philippines).

The first conference, held on 11th and 12th October, was entitled “ecoBudget: An Innovative System for Natural Resource Management & Urban Governance”. Besides the delegations of the four cities, relevant speakers and contributors enriched the programme. The conference was inaugurated by the Minister of Transport for Andhra Pradesh, Sri Kanna Lakshminarayana; and Professor R. Rama Rao, advisor for India who presented his views on the possibility of incorporation of the concept of ecoBudget in the cities of JNNURM, the biggest national-wide urban renewable programme. The concluding remarks were made by Mr. Vikram Roy, Advisor for Economic Cooperation of the European Union, who spoke on the need to motivate staff of municipal corporations, and the linkages with institutions, financial sustainability through public service charges. The conference was attended by about 90 participants, including mayors of about 20 Indian municipalities.

At the beginning of the following week, on 15th and 16th October, the conference “ecoBudget: An Instrument to Good Local Resource Management and Governance” was held. Among the most distinguished guests welcomed by Bohol’s Governor Erico Aumentado, were Alistair MacDonald, Ambassador of the European Union; Inger Ultvedt, Ambassador of Sweden to the Philippines; and Mario Alberto Bartoli, Deputy Head of the Italian Embassy of the Philippines - all contributing to the conference with their speeches and interventions. Delegations from a number of Philippine cities, as well as from GTZ and UN-HABITAT took part actively in the conference. On the second day,  the approximately 90 participants visited one of two locations:  the new mangroves plantation or the Bohol Poverty Fair.  The plantation represented one of the targets approved by Tubigon, while the Fair exhibited all of the initiatives undertaken by Bohol municipalities aimed at poverty alleviation, which are strictly linked to ecoBudget interpretation within the provincial government.

ICLEI was represented in both conferences by Andrea Burzacchini of the European Secretariat, as well as by the Regional Directors Emani Kumar (South Asia) and Vic Aquitania (Southeast Asia), both with their teams. ICLEI staff co-ordinated the conferences and awarded Guntur and Tubigon as ecoBudget cities. Finally, the conferences paved the way forward for the co-operation between ICLEI and other institutions (GTZ, UN-HABITAT, regional and national governments and agencies) for further development of ecoBudget in Asian countries.

The Conference also garnered attention from local media.  To read the articles, please go to the Press Room section of ICLEI’s website, located in the News and Events section.