UNDP recognizes CSU’s ‘pioneering research’ among circular economy initiatives in the PH

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The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) recognized Caraga State University’s research as a key initiative for Circular Economy baseline development in the Philippines in their April report.

The report highlights the work of CSU researchers Dr. Raquel Balanay, University Professor Dr. Rowena Varela, and Dr. Anthony Halog (a Balik Scientist). Their contributions include "Circular Economy for the Sustainability of the Wood-based Industry: The Case of Caraga Region, Philippines," published by Elsevier in the Circular Economy and Sustainability Journal (2022), and "Tools for Circular Economy: Review and Some Potential Applications for the Philippine Textile Industry," also by Elsevier in the Circular Economy in Textiles and Apparel Journal (2019).

The UNDP report, titled "Baseline for Circular Economy in the Philippines," covered collaborative projects from 2016 to 2017. It establishes a comprehensive set of indicators for a circular economy in the Philippines, setting a baseline for the transition from linear to circular practices. This is a significant step forward for the Accelerating Nationally Determined Contributions through Circular Economy in Cities (ACE) Project, which is supported by Klynveld Peat Marwick Goerdeler (KPMG) and UNDP in partnership with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), with financial support from the Government of Japan.

This work has also inspired additional research activities, leading to industry partnerships and innovations to reduce environmental waste. Notable projects include:

1. "The Framework of Waste Management in Gold Mining Towards Building Sustainable Communities in Caraga Region, Philippines" by Dr. Raquel Balanay, University Professor Dr. Rowena Varela, and Dr. Anthony Halog published in the International Journal for Conservation Science (2020)
2. "Techno-economic Aspects and Circular Economy of Waste Biorefineries" by Dr. Raquel Balanay, University Professor Dr. Rowena Varela, Dr. Anthony Halog, and Dr. Rey Y. Capangpangan, which was published by Springer in the Handbook of Waste Biorefinery: Circular Economy of Renewable Energy (2022)
3. "Socially Inclusive Valorization of Gold Mill Tailings from the Small-Scale Gold Mining Sector" by Dr. Raquel Balanay, University Professor Dr. Rowena Varela, Abigael Balbin, and Mark Anthony Lavapiez, which was published in the Global Journal of Environmental Science and Management (2024)

Additionally, a group of agricultural and biosystems engineers at CSU is developing products from agricultural waste. An article titled "An Overview of the Production of Bio-briquettes from Agricultural Wastes: Methods, Processes, and Quality" by Philip Donald C. Sanchez, Mia Mae T. Aspe, and Kenneth N. Sindol was published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Engineering.

With these contributions to advancing the Circular Economy in the Philippines, the university aims to strengthen its role in policy and waste management planning towards valorization, social inclusion, and zero emissions.

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