Netherlands’ Human Cities Coalition goes to Malabon

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Human Cities Coalition (HCC) and the Malabon City Government signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MoA) on June 29 at the Malabon City Hall led by Mayor Antolin Oreta 3rd and Director of HCC Ronald Lenz. This cooperation marks the starting point—by identifying and developing innovative urbanization programs—for improving the lives of locals living in informal settlements.

Together with HCC, Malabon City signals its readiness to work towards addressing issues identified by the community, namely: access to electricity; land and housing tenure; access to clean drinking water; and adequate drainage.

Malabon City is one of the cities that comprises greater Metro Manila. It has a total land area of 1,571.4 hectares, about 2.5 percent of the total land area of Metro Manila. Malabon City has a generally flat topography and is a city rich with rivers and waterways. Three of these major rivers, the Malabon, Tinajeros and Tullahan Rivers are reported by the DENR-EMB to be among the most polluted river systems in the country. These winding rivers are at the downstream portion and the quality of water naturally decreases as it traverses to other Metro Manila cities such as Valenzuela, Caloocan and Quezon City before it finally drains to Manila Bay.

Malabon City is currently in the middle of implementing a city development plan, which aims to sustain community development by focusing on: poverty reduction; social, economic and environmental development; infrastructure development; and disaster risk reduction and management. Given the noticeable thematic overlap, Malabon City is proud to be HCC’s first official local government partner in the Philippines.


The MoA between HCC represents another significant milestone in realising HCC’s long-term ambition: To contribute to truly inclusive urban development that protects and serves the socio-economic interests of the urban poor living in informal settlements across the wider Manila Bay area (and the second pilot city Jakarta). The overall ambition, along with the MoA, are also supported by the Netherlands Embassy in the Philippines. With the signing of this MoA, HCC continues to strengthen its coalition and grow in a unique way by aligning community needs, private sector interests, and government engagement. This way of working leads to tangible improvements for urban poor communities while building upon governmental policy frameworks and private sector agendas.

HCC—a Dutch public-private partnership dedicated to making cities more sustainable, inclusive and resilient—recently completed a needs assessment to better gauge community needs and wishes in Malabon City. Conducted by coalition partners Slum Dwellers International (SDI) and the Shared Value Foundation (SVF), this bottom-up, participatory assessment was undertaken in the informal settlements of Barangays Catmon and Tonsuya. The same week the MoA is signed, a two-day HCC innovation workshop was conducted to build upon the findings of this needs assessment. Here, with assistance from AMS (Amsterdam Institute of Advanced Metropolitan Solutions), local companies, SMEs, financial experts, community members, and government representatives will gather and work towards designing solutions for two issues: electricity and land tenure (in the context of affordable housing).

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