LGUs should collaborate to prevent fragmentation

Kristine B. Quintas/NSA (The Freeman) - December 8, 2015 - 9:00am

CEBU, Philippines - An official of an international organization stressed the importance of collaboration among local government units to prevent fragmentation.

Tadashi Matsumoto, project manager of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD)-Regional Development Policy Division Public Governance and Territorial Development, said if fragmentation within metropolitan areas is high, in effect, the performance of economic development would massively decline.

Fragmentation of a region, city or municipality, Matsumoto said, can be measured simply by counting the number of local governments within a metropolitan statistical area (local municipalities, special service districts, and school districts). It can also be defined as the degree to which local governments in a region overlap, or the degree to which the region is dominated by the central city or one form of local government.

Matsumoto, in yesterday’s presentation of OECD study, showed that for regions of equal population, doubling the number of governments per 100,000 inhabitants reduces productivity by six percent.

He said if fragmentation would not be addressed, it may create sprawl through uncontrolled growth and economic development.

“This shows how important the collaboration of different municipalities within the metropolitan area,” he said.

He added that genuine collaboration is likewise needed in addressing the pressing environmental, social, economic and political issues to promote competitiveness and holistic growth.

In particular, he said collaboration is vital in knowledge-sharing workshops to coming up with a comprehensive study on Urban Green Growth.

Cebu has been selected as one of the five cities in Asia for “green growth” study.

Other cities are Bangkok in Thailand, Johor Bahru or Iskandar in Malaysia, Bandung in Indonesia and Hai Phong in Vietnam. The study in Bangkok was already finished and the results have been published.

The project is a study that examines ways to promote greening and competitiveness in a fast-growing economy; to improve environmental performance in cities and urban quality of life; and to increase the institutional capacity to achieve green growth.

“Creating a sustainable and resilient Cebu in the context of rapid urbanization and economic growth,” Matsumoto said, adding that the focused study areas in Cebu are land use, water management and metropolitan governance.

He said OECD through the study will help and facilitate the actions of the implementing agencies and political leaders in project implementations, governance structure, or even on how to work with other organizations.

The study, which will complement JICA’s Roadmap Study for Sustainable Urban Development in Metro Cebu, covers the analysis of key environmental and socio-economic trends of the metropolitan area; assessment of the policies for areas of opportunity for urban green growth; discussion on urban green growth policy topic unique to the case study of city; and identification of enabling strategies for implementing urban green growth.

The project period of the case study is 12 months and the final report will be published next year. The results will be benchmarked against around 300 other OECD and non-OECD metropolitan areas using a set of economic and environmental indicators.

In line with this, there will be a two-day knowledge-sharing workshop on December 9-10 between the OECD study team, peer reviewers from Barcelona and Vancouver, and members of the Metro Cebu Development and Coordinating Board (MCDCB), a coordinating body for metro-wide planning and development in consortium of the Province of Cebu, 13 cities and municipalities in Cebu, regional line agencies, and private and civil society organizations.

During the workshops, international and local participants and the OECD team will share their experiences and lessons learned in the session which will discuss land-use planning and management, water supply, quality and resilience and metropolitan governance in Cebu.

Ramon Aboitiz Foundation Inc. president Roberto Aboitiz said the study is a huge opportunity for Cebu to take advantage of the program to achieve economic growth.

“Our contributing factor in MCDCB is our ability to make institutions work, to help them work and to ensure clarity of responsibilities. We welcome this opportunity with OECD. We want to learn, share and grasp whatever is available to us so that we are in better position to move people forward,” he said. —  (FREEMAN)

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