A promise to keep going on at DReAMS final conference
Around 50 participants, including representatives from Guntur Municipal Corporation, Rajshahi City Corporation from Bangladesh, Thimphu Thromde from Bhutan, from neighboring municipal corporations of Nellore, Kadappa, Tenali, Greater Hyderabad, Kurnool and officials and experts from ICLEI South Asia, attended the International Conference on Sustainable Environment Management for Poverty Alleviation organized by Guntur Municipal Corporation in Hyderabad, India on 8th October 2013.
The conference worked towards presenting the activities undertaken in the project by the different partner cities and showcasing the achievements of the project in an international platform with dignitaries from the national, regional and international arena, disseminating the results of using the two tools of ecoBUDGET and PDMS under the EU funded Realising DReAMS project to other cities and organizations in order to inform important stakeholders about the work undertaken in the project, and its benefits to the city and also discussing opportunities of taking forward the project outcomes and continue the use of the tools developed and modified under the project in the South Asian region.
The conference served a very important role in improving awareness of municipal officials regarding environmental sustainability and in providing a means of recording the work done in the corporation to better showcase such activities to general public.
The International Conference on Sustainable Environment Management for Poverty Alleviation was inaugurated by Mr. K. Lakshminarayana, Minister of Agriculture, Government of Andhra Pradesh, who belongs to Guntur. The conference also witnessed an esteemed line-up of guests and experts from India, Bangladesh and Bhutan like Mr. Abdul Latief from GMC, Mr. Ashraful Haque, Chief Engineer from Rajshahi City Corporation, Bangladesh, Mr. Tshering Peljor Chief Environmental Officer from Thimphu Thromde, Bhutan, Mr. K Sudhakar, Ex-Commissioner of Guntur Corporation and Mr. C. Yesuratnam, Ex-Mayor of Guntur Municipal Corporation sharing their views on issues like awareness generation among the officials of city corporation and inculcating the good practice of planning and sustainability in actions undertaken by the municipal bodies, implementation of activities to improve the living standards of under privileged communities, importance of slum development and provision of basic urban services to the urban poor by local government bodies etc.
During the technical session, Mrs. Bedoshruti Sadhukhan, from ICLEI South Asia presented the Realising DReAMS project discussing the background, objectives and project structure followed in the project. She described the two tools(ecoBUDGET and PDMS) used in the project and the major events and outcomes of it. She also discussed the inter-linkages between the tools and described how to use them together to achieve poverty alleviation through environmental resource management.
The three cities (Guntur, Rajshahi and Thimpu) then presented to the audience how the implementation of the Realising DReAMS project has helped them so far and their action plan for the near future. Last but not the least, what followed was an open panel discussion chaired by Mr. Emani Kumar, Executive Director, ICLEI South Asia and Mr. K Sudhakar, Ex-Commissioner of Guntur Municipal Corporation.
Cities realized the need for projects like Realising DReAMS felt that more cities should be involved to procure funding to work on different sectors in a collaborative manner.
For more information on Realising DReAMS, visit: http://dreams.ecobudget.org/
Final Local Events present the results of the DReAMS project in Guntur, Thimphu and Rajshahi
With the EU funded Realising DReAMS project coming to a close, the partner cities of Guntur (India), Rajshahi (Bangladesh) and Thimphu (Bhutan) organized the Final Local Event in their cities to present to their citizens results achieved during the project, including the ecoBUDGET master budget and the Poverty Database Monitoring System (PDMS) developed in the past three years, highlighting the benefits of these tools for the municipalities.
The events took place in Guntur on 22 January 2013, in Thimphu on 6 February and in Rajshahi on 13 February, and were attended by local government officials, NGO representatives and other relevant local stakeholders. During the events, representatives from ICLEI South Asia presented the follow-up programme of Supporting Urban Sustainability, that will be conducted in the 3 cities and will use the results of the DReAMS project to motivate the city corporations and local stakeholders to work on ecosystem services for poverty alleviation.
Field visits to monitor project progress in Rajshahi, Guntur and Thimphu
The Realising DReAMS team recently visited a city each in India, Bangladesh and Bhutan – Guntur, Rajshahi, and Thimphu- to assess the developmental context in each country and to determine how ready the city was to implement activities planned for the final phase of the project. The team also reviewed the status of the Poverty Database Monitoring System in Rajshahi and Guntur, installed the latest version of the software; and assessed the documentation of project funds.
Partners of DReAMS meet in Thimphu to chart out future activities
All project partners involved in the EU-funded Realising DReAMS project met at the third project meeting from 3-6 July in Thimphu, Bhutan. The meeting was held to discuss project timelines and break down the activities each country was involved in. The meeting helped to bring partners up-to-date on the status of the project and to make informed decisions on how best to plan future steps. Kinlay Dorjee, the mayor of Thimphu Thromde welcomed all partners to his city, calling the occasion an opportunity to learn from each other and move towards a sustainable future. The mayor hailed the project for its focus on the regular interaction of international partners.
On the first day, the Province of Bohol presented an overview of the project, its achievements so far and a detailed account of the Results Oriented Monitoring of the project, conducted by the EU last year.
This was followed by a status review of the project in South Asian and South East Asian cities presented by ICLEI South Asia and ICLEI South East Asia. This focused on the achievements of the project in the two regions, as well as outcomes not achieved.
Each municipality -- the Province of Bohol, Guntur Municipal Corporation, Rajshahi City Corporation, and Thimphu Thromde -- presented the status of the ecoBudget implementation in their cities and the need for PDMS. The European cities of Bologna, Italy and Växjö, Sweden presented interesting cases of sustainable initiatives undertaken by their municipalities, which proved useful for Asian municipalities present.
The second day of the meeting focused on the implementation of the PDMS software. After an initial demonstration, cities were taken through a live example of how the tool works and had the opportunity to use the software firsthand. The Municipality of Tubigon, which has already integrated PDMS and ecoBUDGET, presented their experience to the whole group.
Later in the day, ICLEI European Secretariat gave the whole group a summary of the presentation on Realising DReAMS project at the ICLEI World Congress and Rio +20.
The day was concluded with a discussion on using the concept of Gross National Happiness to measure the well-being of a country’s citizens (as an alternative to Gross Domestic Product). Phuntsho Wangyel, from the GNH Commission of Bhutan presented the idea to the group and engaged in a lively discussion afterwards.
On the third day, a site visit was organized to showcase sustainable and local initiatives focusing on local assets, undertaken without external assistance. Relatively small-scale projects with a high impact on poverty reduction and environmental concerns were selected by the Thimphu Thromde for these site visits.
The sites visited were:
On the closing day, a draft work plan was shared and discussed in detail. Upon the finalization of the work plan, the meeting was successfully concluded.
Realising DReAMS in Rajshahi
A second field visit to Rajshahi was held from 14 to 16 February, 2012. At the meeting, the commissioner of Guntur, K. Sudhakar, presented Guntur’s experience with the implementation of two environmental management tools under this project -- the ecoBUDGET (http://www.ecobudget.org) and the Poverty Database Monitoring System (PDMS). Representatives from the Bologne Municipality attended the meeting to share their experience with sustainable environmental management.
On the opening day, staff from the Municipality of Bologna and ICLEI South Asia were received by the Mayor of Rajshahi, A H M Khairuzzaman Liton. The meeting was attended by several officials from Rajshahi City Corporation, including several active councillors as well as the Chairperson and members of the Environmental Standing Committee for the corporation. The Environmental Standing Committee also functions as the Stakeholder Committee for Rajshahi city for the Realising DReAMS project.
Chief Engineer Ashraful Haque explained how the ecoBUDGET tool is being used in Rajshahi to monitor the indicators of issues selected based on the Mayor’s Vision Document for 2018. He emphasised the participatory means of using the municipal budget, where financial resources have been allocated to achieve selected indicators after public discussions conducted by the Municipal Authority.
The gathering was then addressed by the Chairperson of the Environmental Standing Committee, Sufia Islam and Azahar Ali, Chief Executive Officer. This was followed by the Mayor of Rajshahi’s introduction to improvements in the efficiency of the ecoBudget, tree plantation, the collection of waste at night, the immunisation programme and the conservation of water bodies.
During the second half of the day, participants visited tree plantation areas in Rajshahi, where trees have been planted under the Make Rajshahi City Green Project being monitored through the ecoBUDGET tool. The officials also saw firsthand how waste was collected door-to-door in the evening, and transported to a point from which it is sent straight to the landfill site. This initiative has been started to keep the city clean when the day starts.
On the second day, the officials from Bologna Municipality were joined by K Sudhakar, the Municipal Commissioner of Guntur.
Ashraful Haque made a detailed presentation on the implementation of the project in Rajshahi and elaborately discussed the various indicators and their past and present status as monitored through the ecoBUDGET tool.
The Commissioner of Guntur presented to participants the current status of solid waste management practices and systems in Guntur. Rajshahi is currently providing free solid waste collection to all residents, while Guntur charges a nominal amount. RCC officials agreed that it would be beneficial for them to charge the residents a small fee as well, so as to make the practice more sustainable.
The officials also discussed rain water harvesting, biogas generation from degradable waste and involvement of NGOs and community in waste management.
Gabriele Magli from the HERA Multi-utility presented on the waste management system of Bologna stressing on the system of collection of re-usable goods for second hand markets and the use of underground waste collection bins for areas with less space. Rajshahi city corporation officials appreciated the underground waste collection bins used in Bologna and will discuss the use of such bins in their city as well.
In the second half of the day, the officials visited the water treatment plant of Rajshahi city which is treating water from the River Padma and distributing it to citizens. The water is treated for turbidity and bacteriological impurities only as the primary contaminants. This water supply is supplemented with water supply from tubewells in the city. A large proportion of ground water is used to meet the water supply demand.
On the third day, representatives of Bologna, Guntur and ICLEI South Asia, members of the Environmental Standing Committee and officials of Rajshahi City Corporation, met with the Chief Executive Officer of the RCC to discuss the implementation of Community Development Committees in Rajshahi.
The group interacted with the members of a Community Development Committee and discussed their role in and impact on the living conditions of the poorer sections of Rajshahi. The CDC is a local community group consisting of members of poor households in different areas in the city. There are about 170 such CDCs functioning in the city. The CDCs helps in encouraging savings and provides credit facilities from banks to support poor families. The CDCs are also responsible for the local development of infrastructure such as inner roads, inner drains, toilets and so on in their areas with support of the National Government of Bangladesh. The meeting began in a children’s park which had been created after the rehabilitation of a solid waste dump site.
Finally the officials were taken on a tour of one of the poor communities where a CDC is functioning to showcase the different activities that are undertaken by the CDC in the area.
Thimphu city advances towards Realising DReAMS
Under the Realising DReAMS project, the second field visit was held between July 28 and 30, 2011 in Thimphu. ICLEI South Asia facilitated the visit and interaction between the municipal corporations of Thimpu and Guntur cities. The Municipal Commissioner of Guntur Municipal Corporation visited the city of Thimphu for an exchange of ideas on municipal services with Thimphu municipal staff.
A meeting inaugurated by the Mayor of Thimphu was held on 28 July 2011. Mr. Emani Kumar, Executive Director of ICLEI South Asia introduced ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability to the Thimphu municipal staff and discussed opportunities to take the partnership with Thimphu city forward through our various activities.
A brief introduction of the project Realising DReAMS was given to the participants especially for the benefit of the newly elected Council and Mayor and the newly appointed Executive Secretary of Thimphu. Ms. Tshering Yangchen presented on the activities undertaken by the Thimphu Municipality under the project and discussed the implementation of the tools of ecoBudget and PDMS under the project in the city. The stakeholder group for the Thimphu Municipality consisting of the council members and departmental heads were present during the meeting and discussed the implementation of the master budget developed under the project in their city.
Ms. Bedoshruti Sadhukhan from ICLEI South Asia briefly presented the ecoBudget tool focusing on its utility as a management and monitoring tool. Mr. Anthony Irving from the Province of Bohol presented the PDMS software and its implementation in Thimphu.
On the second day, the Local Implementation Team along with representatives from ICLEI SA and Province of Bohol discussed the future work plan for the project in their city. Detailed work plan with immediate steps, timelines and responsibilities were identified. The Local Implementation Team (LIT) was revised for the implementation of the master budget. The new LIT consists of:
Chief Environment Officer (Project Secretary)
Tshering Yangchen, Project Manager
Sonam Denkar, Project support Officer
Dorji Zangmo, ITO
Sonam Tshewang, HRO
Pema Khandu, Water
Shera Doelkar, Forestry Officer
Tshewang Lhamo, Accounts Officer
On the third day, Mr. K Sudhakar, Municipal Commissioner of Guntur Municipal Corporation interacted with the Thimphu municipal staff. He presented on the solid waste management system in Guntur to the Mayor, Executive Secretary and local implementation team. The staff also discussed their solid waste management issues and means of tackling them in Thimphu.
After the presentation and discussion, the Municipal Commissioner visited the compost plant and landfill site of Thimphu city. The vegetable market which was the source of raw material for the compost plant as well as the main consumers of the compost produced was also visited by the Commissioner, along with Thimphu City Corporation staff and representatives of ICLEI South Asia.
First Stakeholders meet in Guntur for ‘Realising DReAMS’
The first Stakeholder meeting for Realising DReAMS project was conducted by Guntur Municipal Corporation (GMC) on 19 May 2011. The Stakeholder committee was created for the regular monitoring of the progress of the project. In the initial meeting, the project and proposed targets of the Master Budget adopted by GMC was introduced to the stakeholder committee, who will meet at regular intervals to assess the achievement of the targets set by GMC.
Representatives from ICLEI South Asia presented the project Realising DReAMS to the stakeholder committee. The objectives of using the tools of ecoBudget and PDMS were discussed. Mr. R Sudhakar, Municipal Commissioner, GMC and Mr. K Lakshminarayana, Deputy Municipal Commissioner, GMC presented the Master Budget prepared and discussed the indicators and targets for the indicators selected by GMC under the project.
The stakeholder committee consists of representatives from the Pollution Control Board, Rate Payers’ Association, and NGOs among others. During the meeting, members of the stakeholders’ committee suggested for the improvement of the environmental and social aspects of Guntur. Some of these suggestions included using the Realising DReAMS project as a means to monitor and assess:
Air quality in Guntur
RWH at household level and reduction in water consumption
Waste segregation and vermi-composting of waste
Waste water management through STP in Guntur
Improvement in public transport
Control in the use of plastic bags
Second partner meeting and study tour (February 10-17, 2011)
The Second Partner Meeting and Study Tour under the Realising DReAMS project were held between 10th to 17th of February 2011. All partners from South Asia, South East Asia and Europe participated in the meeting.
The partner meeting was held in Freiburg in Germany on 10-11 February 2011. Participants from Guntur in India, Rajshahi in Bangladesh, and Thimphu in Bhutan along with ICLEI South Asia staff participated in the meeting. Mr. Ashraful Haque from Rajshahi City Corporation and Ms. Tshering Yangchen from Thimphu City Corporation presented on the status of the implementation of Realising DReAMS in their cities, giving details of the master budget prepared by them and different activities undertaken by the city to meet the targets set under the master budget.
There were discussions on the various indicators undertaken in the master budget in the Asian cities and the European cities of Vaxjo and Bologna appreciated the way in which the cities have included social parameters and indicators along with environmental ones in their master budgets.
A training session on the Poverty Database Monitoring System was held with the computer technicians who had come from the cities by technical experts from Bohol Province of Philippines. A tentative roadmap was discussed to implement the PDMS in the South Asian cities.
Group discussions were organized to identify the problems faced during the implementation of the project and possible solutions recognized by the cities. Possible funding opportunities were also discussed to identify ways to carry forward the issue beyond the life of the project.
During the meeting, the partners discussed intensely the integration of ecoBUDGET and PDMS which is a primary outcome of the project. It was accepted that the PDMS is a software which can act as a support system for the ecoBudget management process in the city, especially to get baseline information on environmental status in the city. A tentative workplan for the next year was discussed with reference to Work Packages and deliverables for each partner.
The study tour for south Asian cities of Rajshahi, Guntur and Thimphu were held in Bologna between 14th -17th of February 2011. The delegates were introduced to the Bologna city administration and the sustainability initiatives of Bologna on water consumption, energy production, air pollution, urban waste and transport. Detailed presentations were made by the local experts on solid waste management, water supply and waste water treatment, and urban mobility in Bologna. The delegates were taken around the city in a walking tour to showcase some of the sustainable and environment friendly initiatives of Bologna, like underground waste collection, shared bicycles, and water canals in the city.
The delegates from Guntur, Rajshahi and Thimphu made presentations on the implementation of ecoBUDGET and local programmes such as Service Level Benchmarking in Guntur, the Mayor’s Vision in Rajshahi and the Gross National Happiness in Thimphu.
The delegates were taken to the Waste management site and the water depuration plant maintained and operated by HERA Group for Bologna city. The delegates were also taken to the Energy Office which is an exhibition on renewable energy options and resources maintained by the Municipality.
All participants from partner cities appreciated the efforts made by Bologna City corporation and planned to replicate the simple efforts in their cities also.
First Field Visit to Guntur (July 2010)
The first field visit for the project Realising DReAMS was conducted by ICLEI – South Asia in Guntur – the light house city in India during 21 – 23 July 2010. The 3-day programme included introduction of the project to municipal officials, site visits and a presentation of the tentative selection of indicators to the Municipal Council.
During the first day, ICLEI – SA introduced the project of Realising DReAMS along with its components of implementation of ecoBudget and PDMS systems to the officials of Guntur Municipal Corporation (GMC). Presentations were made on ecoBudget and PDMS systems and the role of GMC in implementing the project was discussed in detail. On the second day, site visits were made by ICLEI SA and GMC team to areas where GMC has introduced segregation of waste, to the site of a new pipeline which will be used to supply drinking water to the city, and to a meeting of a slum level federation which is a collection of self help groups giving employment and support to women living in slums. Internal meetings were also held with the Project Coordinator of GMC, Mr. K. Lakshminarayana, Deputy Commissioner, GMC in order to prepare the draft Master Budget for application of ecoBudget. Areas were selected for application of PDMS systems within the city. GMC will apply the PDMS system to all the slums within Guntur municipal limits. The local Implementation Team was also selected for the project.
On the final day of the field visit, the draft Master Budget was presented to the corporators of Guntur Municipal Council in the presence of the Hon’ble Mayor, Mr. Rayapati Mohan Sai Krishna, the Municipal Commissioner, Dr. Ilambarithi K., the Deputy Mayor, Mr. Shaik Gowse, and the Deputy Commissioner, Mr. Lakshminarayana K. The corporators were explained about the project in the local language for better comprehension.
At the end of the field visit, the GMC had selected their target issues with their relevant indicators and also the areas where PDMS system will be implemented. The resolution to implement ecoBudget and PDMS systems in Guntur will be presented to the council in the next council meeting.
First Field Visit to Rajshahi (June 2010)
The first field visit for the project Realising DReAMS was conducted by ICLEI – South Asia in Rajshahi – the partner city of Bangladesh during 22 – 24 June 2010.
This training workshop introduced the concepts of ecoBudget and PDMS systems to the officials of Rajshahi City Corporation (RCC) for the first time and helped them to prepare their draft Master Budget on which they will be working under this project. The workshop was inaugurated by the Hon’ble Panel Mayor, Mr. Shariful Islam in the presence of Mr. K M Abdus Salam, Secretary, RCC, Corporators of RCC as well as the senior and middle level officials of different divisions from the corporation. The project was introduced by Ms. Bedoshruti Sadhukhan from ICLEI – South Asia.
The training was conducted for a period of 3 days with exercises and group discussions on ecoBudget and PDMS systems. At the end of the training workshop, the participants had identified the relevant environmental problems and the natural resources for RCC. The participants prepared the first draft of the master budget for ecoBudget. They identified the Local Implementation Team for this project who will be involved in carrying out the activities of ecoBudget and PDMS systems in RCC.
First Field Visit to Thimphu (June 2010)
The first field visit for the project Realising DReAMS was conducted by ICLEI – South Asia in Thimphu – the partner city of Bhutan during 2-4 June 2010.
The training workshop focused on the ecoBudget and PDMS systems to be introduced into the Thimphu City Corporation (TCC) under this project. The participants from TCC included the Executive Secretary and heads of divisions from the corporation along with a few representatives from the Thimphu City Council. The training workshop began with the keynote address from the Executive Secretary, Mr. Phuntsho Gyeltshen from TCC and the project was introduced by Ms. Bedoshruti Sadhukhan from ICLEI – South Asia.
The training was conducted for a period of 3 days with exercises and group discussions on ecoBudget and PDMS systems. At the end of the training workshop, the participants had identified the relevant issues and the natural resources on which the TCC will work under this project. The participants prepared the first draft of the master budget for ecoBudget. They identified the Local Implementation Team for this project who will be involved in carrying out the activities of ecoBudget and PDMS systems in TCC.
Kick-off meeting for Realising DReAMS
The Kick-off meeting on Realising DReAMS was conducted in the Province of Bohol, Philippines with the participation of all project partners during 24 to 27 February 2010. This was the first opportunity for all partners to meet and get to know each other, creating a spirit of future cooperation. During the meeting, the consortium agreement was formulated and distributed to all the partners as well as the work plan for the next year was prepared and discussed. The participants included representatives from the partner cities of Guntur, Thimphu, Rajshahi from South Asia region, Province of Stung Treng and Province of Bohol from South East Asia region, city of Växjö from the European region, and the ICLEI offices from Europe, South Asia and South East Asia as well as representatives from the European Union.
The meeting was inaugurated by the Governor of Bohol, Atty. Erico B Aumentado, who welcomed all the participants and expressed his happiness to host the first meeting on Realising DReAMS. Atty. John T Vistal, PPDO, Province of Bohol, presented the principal tenets of the Realising DReAMS project to all the participants, focusing on the objectives, target groups, methodology, expected results, project structure and budget of the project. Mr. Emani Kumar, ICLEI South Asia, presented on the ecoBudget tool in the next session, with focus on its origin, methodology, and primarily its benefits and utility to the cities adopting the tool. There were presentations from the European partner cities of Bologna and Växjö, and the Asian cities of Guntur and Tubigon, elaborating their experience in implementing the ecoBudget tool in their cities.
The project cities of Guntur, Rajshahi, Thimphu and the Provinces of Stung Treng and Bohol identified environmental issues that they would focus on in this project, ranging from solid waste management and slum development to economic empowerment and reduction in carbon footprint.
The two project regions – South Asia and South East Asia – through focused group discussions, identified conflicts (such as land use and environmental degradation) and synergies (such as eco tourism) between environment management and poverty reduction, which are the principal objectives of this project.
During the meeting, the partners discussed the Project Standards and Management Document, the consortium agreement and the work plan for the year 2010. There was an official launch of the Realising DReAMS Project by the Province of Bohol in the presence of the councilors from different parts of the province.
After the kick-off meeting, there was a PDMS (Poverty Database Monitoring System) Training conducted by the Province of Bohol. There was an orientation to the PDMS, focusing on the process of application, its objectives, methodology, and the main actions to be undertaken for this application of the software for all the participating cities.