Climate Change and Disaster Risk Management News

Compilation of latest research news on climate change adaptation/management and disaster risk management

UP RI at the Workshop on the Creation of the National Blue Carbon Initiative Roadmap

The University of the Philippines Resilience Institute, as part of the Technical Working Group of the Blue Carbon Initiative in the Philippines, attended the 3-day workshop conducted by the Climate Change Commission, which aims to convene the members of the steering committee (SC) and technical working group (TWG) to develop the national blue carbon initiative road map.


Ms. Agnes Balota, Senior Advisor of GIZ, giving an introduction about the workshop

According to the National Ocean Service of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Blue Carbon is the carbon captured by the ocean and coastal ecosystem. Coastal ecosystems such as mangroves and sea grasses sequester carbon, most of which are stored below ground, at a much faster rates that forests (NOAA, 2017). The coastal blue carbon ecosystems are natural mitigation tools for climate change with the ability to sequester significant amounts of carbon dioxide. In addition to its mitigation potential, the blue carbon ecosystems also provide multiple adaptation services such as protection from storm surges and sea level rise, prevention of erosion along shorelines, regulation of coastal water quality and food security, among others (Climate Change Commission, 2018).

The Blue Carbon Initiative Roadmap shall serve as a guide in developing climate change resilient coastal communities through the protection and conservation of coastal blue carbon ecosystems. The roadmap has five stages namely: preparation, development, implementation, monitoring and evaluation, and policy formulation.


Roadmap to a strategic coastal ecosystem sustainability through blue carbon research and development in the Philippines

Specifically, the workshop aimed to:

  1. Develop a comprehensive Blue Carbon Roadmap detailing the plans, programs, policies and other activities for the National Blue Carbon Initiative;
  2. Create a work plan of the activities on Blue Carbon for 2018 onwards; and
  3. Identify the core members and other members of the TWG and assign focal and alternate for each institution.

The 3-day workshop is composed of 12 sessions including an introduction to the blue carbon initiative, presentation of existing projects related to blue carbon ecosystems in the Philippines, five stages of the road map, pre-finalization of the roadmap, steering committee and technical working group operationalization, and other concerns.

In addition, the participants also discussed key problems and impacts in the development of framewok/lens, institutional arrangement, national-local interface, awareness and capacities, tools and methodologies, and relationship of policy and science in relation to Blue Carbon Ecosystem.


Group discussion in the problem-tree analysis of institutional arrangement in relation to Blue Carbon Ecosystem. (Photo from


CCC Commissioner Noel Gaerlan answering inquiries from the participants during the Open Forum


Participants of the creation of the national blue carbon initiative roadmap workshop
(Photo from


NOAA. What is Blue Carbon, National Ocean Service Website,, 10/10/17.

Climate Change Commission. Background Information on Workshop on the Creation of the National Blue Carbon Initiative Roadmap. 19-21 March 2018. Quezon City.


UPRI equips LGUs through GIS Workshop

Earlier this week, representatives from the local government units of Munoz, Nueva Ecija; Taysan and Padre Garcia, Batangas; and LCCAD of Bicol, attended a workshop conducted by the UP Resilience Institute. The workshop took place from 13-15 March 2018 and it focused on familiarizing the participants with Geographic Information Systems (GIS).


The participants with Dr. Mahar Lagmay and UPRI lecturers and facilitators.

Recognizing that geographic information and analysis can significantly help the Local Government Units (LGUs) in the conduct of climate vulnerability and disaster risk assessment, and even comprehensive land use and development plans; UPRI conducted the lectures and hands-on workshops in order to assist the members of the LGUs in the development of their knowledge and skills in GIS.

More specifically the aworkshop aimed to equip the participants to be able to:

  1. Understand the basic concepts, principles, and applications of GIS
  2. Identify different types of spatial data and thematic maps
  3. Develop basic skills in using GIS tools and software
  4. Develop skills in primary data gathering, use of GPS, and basic data management; and
  5. Extract exposure data from existing land use maps

The 18 participants learned about different concepts of GIS with the help of UPRI researchers and scientists.

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Jullienne Espina on the difference between traditional maps and modern maps on her lecture: GIS Preparation and Mapping.

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Chisa Ching giving her lecture on Map Projections.

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Clara Alburo giving a lecture on types of Spatial Data.

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Feye Andal giving an illustration about OpenStreetMap as seen in Waze.

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Marga Mahor sharing the objectives of her lecture: Introduction to GIS.

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Arge talking about the legal basis of CDRA.

The participants were also immersed in some hands-on workshop activities prepared by the lecturers and aided by facilitators from UP NOAH. The hands-on workshop included: map lay-outing, data capture using GPS, digitizing of land use maps, operating softwares (OpenStreetMap, ArcMap, Google Earth), among others.

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UPRI and NOAH Center Executive Director Dr. Mahar Lagmay also expressed his gratitude to the participants and reminded them the bigger goal of the workshop: the dream of seeing a more resilient Philippines through the empowerment of local communities.

This vision is in line with the goal of the UP Resilience Institute, under the UP Office of the President, as stated in the 2018 GAA Special Provision, to "empower LGUs with science-based information and technologies for development planning, such as Climate Vulnerability and Disaster Risk Assessment (CVDRA) and multi-scenario, probabilistic hazard maps."

Dr. Mahar Lagmay

Resilient Campuses Project heads north to UP Baguio

Scientists and researchers of the UP Resilience Institute (UPRI) under the UP Office of the President, together with the campus engineers, administrative officials, and building administrators of University of the Philippines Baguio, worked hand in hand in finishing the field surveys for the campus last 28-29 February.

The Resilient Campuses Project of UPRI aims to help create a comprehensive disaster management contingency plan to address UP campuses’ vulnerability to natural hazards. This project intends to take off from previous and existing plans and improve them by using the latest technology and the best methodologies; thus enacting the all-inclusive data gathering of UPRI researchers and scientists one campus at a time.

The team, guided by Campus Engineer Mar Gonzales and the staff of UPB Office of the Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs, had split into two groups – for mapping building footprints, and for hazards assessment around the campus.

For mapping the building footprints of every infrastructure built in UP Baguio, the team members interviewed the building administrators about the materials used in each building, their efforts in long term maintenance planning, and their implementation of maintenance works, among others. Meanwhile, the hazards assessment team went around the campus for soil samples and field validations.

The team also met with UPB Chancellor Dr. Raymundo D. Rovillos who expressed his gratitude for the organization’s efforts.


The UP Resilience Campuses project aims to develop better strategies specific to the higher education units of the University of the Philippines campuses. This new and improved plan will cover the entire scope disaster risk management, from the identification of the risks all the way to recovering from disasters.

UP Visayas and UP RI Collaborate for the Resilient Campuses Project

Miag-ao, Iloilo --- Officials from the University of the Philippines Miag-ao, Iloilo campus who are involved with the resilience efforts of their campus invited representatives of the UP Resilience Institute, under the office of UP President Danilo L. Concepcion, to be a part of the technical working group of UP Visayas for DRR and CCA. During the meeting last Wednesday, February 21, the participants discussed further collaboration regarding the initiative stated in the 2018 GAA Special Provision as well as the UP Resilient Campuses project.

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Two UP RI researchers and scientists personally went to the UP Visayas Miag-ao, Iloilo campus while Executive Director Dr. Mahar Lagmay attended the meeting remotely. During the meeting, they presented the goals and existing efforts of the UP RI. They also established a network for a more feasible flow of data gathering should UP RI need to conduct field surveys related to the project. This would be the second discussion with UP campus officials conducted in relation to the project after the UP Los Baños visit last January 16 to 19, 2018.


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The meeting, held las 21 February 2018 at the Faculty Center of UP Visayas Miag-ao, Iloilo, was attended by UP RI Executive Director Mahar Lagmay, UP RI and NOAH Center Chief SRS Kenneth Suarez, UP RI and NOAH Center Senior SRS Paul Luzon, UP RI and NOAH Center SRS 1 Ian Abiera, Gay Defiesta – UPV Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs, Wilfredo Palete Jr. – Data and Information System Program (DISP), Rhodella Ibabao – Office of Continuing Education and Pahinungod (OCEP)/UPV – College of Management, Cheryl Joy Fernandez – UPV, College of Management, Rhea Subong – UPV, College of Management, Nicanor Babiera – UPV, College of Management, Liberty Espectato – Institute of Fisheries Policy and Development (IFPDS), College of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences (CFOS), Hanny John Mendiola – UPV, Division of Social Sciences, Juhn Chris Espia – UPV, Division of Social Sciences, and Jorge Ebay – Director, Center for West Visayan Studies (CWVS).

A year after NOAH’s homecoming in UP

University of the Philippines — This day last year, the University of the Philippines (UP) Board of Regents approved the “Establishment of the Nationwide Operational Assessment of Hazards (NOAH) Center” for climate actions and disaster risk reduction management through the initiative and effort of UP President Danilo L. Concepcion.

Today, the whole workforce of UP NOAH went to Quezon Hall to personally extend their gratitude to the UP System embodied in the ideals and leadership of UP President Concepcion and other University officials.

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It has been a year and the NOAH Center, since its adoption by the UP System, continues to proactively provide lifesaving solutions for Filipinos in times of disaster.

Now, the UP NOAH Center being the core component of the UP Resilience Institute under the Office of UP President Danilo L. Concepcion, reaffirms its commitment to genuinely “Serve the People” by empowering communities through open data and probabilistic models, among others.

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Para sa Bayan!

House of Representatives Committees Hold Meeting on DRR Bills

House of Representatives — UP Resilience Institute and NOAH Center Executive Director Mahar Lagmay presented the importance of Probabilistic Models and Open Data to the members of the Technical Working Group on Disaster Preparedness Bills chaired by 2nd District Albay Representative Joey Sarte Salceda earlier today.

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The Committee on Government Reorganization, jointly with the Committee on National Defense and Security, continues with its discussion on disaster preparedness bills (House Bills numbered 108, 344, 596, 2638, 3093, 4203, 4648 and 6075) of which Dr. Lagmay is one of the resource persons. The primary focus of the meeting was on the creation of the Department of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management, defining its mandate, powers, and functions, and appropriating funds therefor.
Representatives from Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs), Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA), Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP), The National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA), Department of Budget and Management (DBM)Office of Civil Defense (OCD), Philippine Institute for Development Studies (PIDS), and Climate Change Commission (CCC) were also present in the meeting.
House of Representatives — UP Resilience Institute and NOAH Center Executive Director Mahar Lagmay presented the importance of Probabilistic Models and Open Data to the members of the Technical Working Group on Disaster Preparedness Bills chaired by 2nd District Albay Representative Joey Sarte Salceda earlier today.