Monday, June 27, 2011

ADB, CAI-Asia Reports Walkability Assessment in 13 Asian Cities


The poor state of pedestrian facilities in some Asian cities was highlighted in the information given by the Asian Development Bank and the Clean Air Initiative for Asian Cities. Ironically, the lowest walkability ratings are found to be along public transport terminals and schools where footpaths, pedestrian amenities and access for persons-with-disabilities are lacking.

Commercial areas get the highest walkability rating followed by residential areas.  The walkability ratings were derived from field surveys where pedestrian facilities and the general walking environment were evaluated. Cities included in the survey are Cebu, Davao and Manila (Philippines), Colombo (Sri Lanka), Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh (Vietnam), Hong Kong and Lanzhou (China), Jakarta (Indonesia), Karachi (Pakistan), Kathmandu (Nepal), Kota (India) and Ulaanbaatar (Mongolia).

 The average walkability rating for the 13 cities was 58 out of 100.

Improving walkability and pedestrian facilities is one of the less prioritized measures for sustainable urban transport by policymakers and development organizations. The Clean Air Initiative for Asian Cities Center with support from the Asian Development Bank and the Fredkorpset conducted walkability surveys in various Asian cities to better understand the state of walkability in Asian cities.

The survey used a methodology based on the Global Walkability Index developed by the World Bank, which includes a field walkability survey, pedestrian preference survey and a government policy and institutional survey. The survey provides an overview of the current pedestrian infrastructure and policies in selected cities and will be used to develop and propose pedestrian focused solutions for Asian cities. The "walkability
index" can help raise awareness and generate interest among policy makers and city officials and help them improve walking in their cities.

 “A sad fact is that there is a wide gap between investments made by cities for pedestrians and for motorized vehicles. Asian cities have traditionally been cities of walkers. If pedestrian facilities are more integrated and made comfortable, more people will choose to walk instead of drive resulting to less fuel consumption and less air pollution,” says Bert Fabian, Transport Program Manager of the Clean Air Initiative for Asian Cities.

 Jamie Leather, ADB Principal Transport Specialist, expressed that the walkability study supports ADB’s Sustainable Transport Initiative as well as the Decade of Action for Road Safety.

The pedestrian facilities were surveyed by taking into account nine different aspects of walkability, including safety, amenities and disability access. Out of the 4,600 pedestrians interviewed, 41% states that sidewalks are in a bad state and strongly prefer making sidewalks cleaner and pedestrian crossings safer as priority areas for improvement.

The 37% of the survey respondents primarily walk to reach their destination and 30% travel less than three km and another 21% travel within 3-6 km.

The Clean Air Initiative for Asian Cities has conducted walkability surveys in 21 Asian cities to date with support from the Asian Development Bank and Shakti Sustainable Energy Foundation.

Note:
About CAI-Asia

The Clean Air Initiative for Asian Cities (CAI-Asia) promotes better air quality and livable cities by translating knowledge to policies and actions that reduce air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions from transport, energy and other sectors. It was established in 2001 by ADB, the World Bank and USAID as part of a global initiative that also includes Latin America and Sub Saharan Africa. Since 2007, this multi-stakeholder initiative is a registered UN Type II Partnership with more than 200 organizational members and eight Country Networks. The secretariat of the CAI-Asia Partnership is the CAI-Asia Center, a non-profit organization, with headquarters in Manila, Philippines and offices in Beijing, China and Delhi, India.

Source: CAI-Asia
 
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Friday, June 17, 2011

Happy Father's Day: A Tribute to my Father

“Tatay”, “Papa”, “Dad,” "Itang" or whatever way you call your father or who acted as a father figure in your life whether as stepfathers, uncles, grandfathers, or “Big Brothers,” Father's day is for all of them!

Monday, June 6, 2011

WED 2011 for a Green Future Worldwide


Although individual decisions may seem small in the face of global threats and trends, when billions of people join forces in common purpose, we can make a tremendous difference.” 
                  - UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon

Yesterday marked the World Environment Day (WED) with the theme: Forest: Nature at Your Service.”  This highlighted the link between quality of life and the health of the forests and its ecosystems.  Likewise, it also corresponded with United Nation’s declaration this year as the International Year of the Forests.

India is the global host in this year’s WED.  India has a rapidly developing economy with 1.2 billion people with tree-planting system and installed ways to protect agricultural land using windbreaks and shelterbelts.

What is World Environment Day?
WED is an annual event which is the biggest and widely celebrated global day for positive environmental action. WED activities take place all year round culminating every 5th of June yearly, connecting everyone from everywhere.

This annual celebration began in 1972 and has grown to become the one of the main vehicles through which the UN stimulates worldwide awareness of the environment and encourages political attention and action.

Through this, the UN Environment Program is able to personalize environmental issues and enable everyone to realize not only their responsibility, but also their power to become agents for change in support of sustainable and equitable development.

This is a day for people from all walks of life to link together to ensure a cleaner, greener and brighter outlook for themselves and future generations. This involves all sectors of society – governments, non-governmental organizations, business, industry, inter-governmental organizations, civil society, media and schools.

Why focus on forest?

It is alarming to know that 13 million hectares of forest are destroyed annually, equivalent to the size of Portugal!

Do you know that forests cover one third of the earth’s land mass, performing crucial functions and services around the world which make the earth alive with potential. It plays a key role in our battle against climate change, releasing oxygen into the atmosphere while storing carbon dioxide.

Forests aid to regulate the distressing impact of storms, floods and fires. They are known as the green lungs of the earth needed by us.

The UN Environment Programme (UNEP) reports that the targeted investments forestry could generate up to 10 million new jobs around the world. However, forests need to become a universal political priority.

"The Green Economy initiative has identified forestry as one of the ten central sectors capable of propelling a transition to a low carbon, resource efficient, employment-generating future if backed by investment and forward-looking policies," said Achim Steiner, UN undersecretary general and UNEP executive director.

"WED is a day for everyone to act in support of forests and to nurture these green shoots of a Green Economy as the world looks towards how best to accelerate, scale-up and above all implement these transitions in Rio in 2012," he said.

How can we participate in WED 2011?

We can organize neighborhood clean-up with the whole community; plant a tree or collective planting; re-using and recycling of materials inside our house or company,; simply putting your trash in the bin; car free and biking moments with family, bird, fish or nature watching; green campaigns nationwide, etc. Thus, all these actions may restore the health of our environment, our planet.

WED encourages us to help preserve our national surroundings. This also promotes the systematic disposal of household and industrial waste that may conserve natural wealth and prevent the proliferation of diseases and unpleasant surroundings.
 
Groups like WWF are sorting information and experience in respect to plantations to maximize biodiversity and ecosystem services.

India has recently approved a national initiative to increase forest cover over five million hectares, improve quality of forest cover over another five million hectares and improve crucial ecosystem services provided by forests, such as hydrological services. The new Green India Plan aims to increase forest-based incomes for three million households.

In the Philippines, Bulacan governor promotes WED by passing the 2011 Environment Code in the province.
  
In essence this is an economic paradigm that each country must include and prioritize in order to unlock the full potential of forests in creating green economies.

This advocacy can be a daily habit to sustain and maintain the beauty of our surroundings and save our planet from global warming/ climate change. As an individual, or in a community, do you have other ways to contribute in our environment or in forest? Drop a note and we will truly treasure and share it.


PinoyVision advocates environmental campaigns.  
PinoyVision is a brand of M-Vision Business Solutions.

Bulacan’s greening actions

Bulacan’s governor Wilhelmino Alvarado
A day after the World Environment Day, Bulacan’s governor Wilhelmino Alvarado arranged to sign the province first Environmental Code. According to Lawyer Rustico de Belen, the head of the provincial environment and natural resources, the signing of the code into law is a commemoration of the Environment Month in the province.

The 2011 Environment Code covers national legislation on the protection and conservation of the environment. It includes provisions on solid waste management, clean air, management of toxic waste, forestry, coastal resource management, establishment of sanitary landfill, and even mining regulations.

De Belen said that the most notable provisions in the code are the ones on coastal resource management and mining and the provincial government does not have an office that focuses on coastal resource management.

He also added: “The Department of Environment and Natural Resources has a division on coastal resource management, but we need our own men who will look into it.”

The code requires location clearance from the governor’s office on sanitary landfills and mining. “There is no law that regulates the establishment of sanitary landfills in Bulacan and the province usually ends up legitimizing landfills (that are) constructed,” De Belen said.

On mining, he said the code requires free prior informed concerned (FPIC) and provincial environment compliance certificate, especially for small mining firms.

In the past, he said small mining firms merely secured permits from barangay heads.

(Source: Dino Balabo of PhilStar)

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