Manila's Pasig River continues to play an important social, cultural, historical and political role. Its restoration, which began with the Pasig River Rehabilitation Program in 1989, aims to reverse the effects of years of negligence, uncontrolled development, and unabated pollution. Various initiatives and projects were undertaken in collaboration with international donors, national government agencies, local governments, civil society groups, and the private sector. In 1999, a presidential mandate established the Pasig River Rehabilitation Commission (PRRC) with the clear goal of restoring the Pasig River from a biologically dead river to Class "C" level - that which can sustain life - by 2014.
The PRRC is and has been implementing for some time a Pasig River Development Plan that comprises a number of specific actions and performance targets. It is working with many stakeholders towards the goal of achieving a Class C status for the Pasig River and its "esteros" (minor tributaries) and tributaries. The PPRC's vision is "a new Pasig River, clean and alive, reflecting the country's noble history and progress." Currently, PRRC is focusing on cleaning up the esteros.
ADB and the PRRC are organizing this forum to bring together the Pasig River's various stakeholders to ensure a common view of the progress, plans, issues, and opportunities to best focus on implementing key actions and leveraging off the experiences of other cities and countries in river cleanup and urban renewal.
The objectives of the forum are to:
- Increase awareness of PRRC's progress and plans up until 2016 when the river and all its 48 esteros will be at "clean" status
- Showcase experiences of other countries that have successfully initiated major river clean ups and associated urban renewal
- Provide major stakeholders a public platform to confirm their commitment to the Pasig River plans and targets
- Shared understanding of the plans for the Pasig River rehabilitation by all stakeholders
- Enhanced PRRC capacity to fulfill its mandate by leveraging others' experiences in addressing key issues, such as: informal settlements; river bank easements and parks; wastewater and solid waste management and technologies; maintenance and sustainability (including financing); institutional arrangements and capacity development; and stakeholder awareness, participation and coordination
- Strengthened commitment by Pasig River stakeholders to support and sustain PRRC mandate, and contribute to the restoration of the river and its minor tributaries, commencing with the signing of a Pasig river Declaration
The Forum is being organized by the PRCC and ADB.
Pasig River stakeholders are expected to participate. These include:
- Government of Philippines - department delegates
- Municipal leaders and executives
- Civil society representatives
- Private sector and corporate foundations
- Donors and supporters of Pasig River
- ADB urban and Philippines country staff
Resource persons from ADB's developing member countries, media representatives, interested staff of ADB, and champions have also been invited.