Climate Change and Disaster Risk Management News

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

UR Field Lab 2019

Last month, the University of the Philippines Resilience Institute (UP RI) participated in the UR Field Lab: Chiang Mai Urban Flooding event hosted by the Understanding Risk (UR) group. The month long event took place in the International Sustainable Development Studies Institute in Chiang Mai and was held as a meeting of minds from various disciplines with the aim of integrating a diverse array of knowledge to address challenges brought about by climate change, particularly, urban flooding. This coincides with UP RI’s mission to promote disaster resilience in local communities through a transdisciplinary approach.

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Adopting an un-conference format, participants were encouraged to join the working groups that they were most interested in, instead of following a set schedule of activities. This format made it easier for people to meet and collaborate with experts from different backgrounds. At the end of every week, each working group were encouraged to present and output which would then be exhibited, in its final form, in the science and art exhibit scheduled on the fourth week of the un-conference.

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UP RI was there to learn from and to contribute to the UR global community as well as to present our current efforts pertaining to building disaster resilience in the Philippines. The team worked with the Risk Communication and User-Centered Design working groups to find out new ways to improve risk communication in the Philippines through mapping, technology and art.

In particular, representatives from the UP RI worked on mapping the hydro meteorological information flow in a sample area in Chiang Mai and on improving the Southeast Asia Disaster Risk Insurance Facility (SEADRIF) website. Both of these projects had aspects which may be replicated in the Philippines in various ways.

Aside from being a venue for people from seemingly distant disciplines to work one goal together, the UR Field Lab: Chiang Mai Urban Flooding event equipped the UP RI representatives with fresh approaches and perspectives on how a transdisciplinary approach can be realized.

 

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UP RI participated in a Workshop on the Resilience City

On June 27, 2019, representatives from the UP Resilience Institute (UP RI) participated in the workshop on Resilience City—Learnable and Replicable from a Real Case of Kaohsiung. The said workshop was organized by the National University of Kaohsiung in collaboration with the Asian Development Bank. It was attended by faculty members and research fellows from selected academic institutions in the Philippines; disaster risk management institutions, local government units, and community development workers.

Delegates from the universities in Kaohsiung City as well as non-government organizations shared their knowledge, experiences, and best practices on disaster-resilience and sustainability.
A few delegates from selected academic institutions in the Philippines were invited to be discussants on the four sessions of the workshop which tackled the role of culture enrichment in disaster risk reduction and management, particularly in disaster rehabilitation; water management; the role of the academe; and energy conservation. One of the presenters from the first session discussed how they applied one of cultural song and dance to help the villagers recuperate after Typhoon Morakot devastated the Xiaolin Village in 2009. Another initiative was the creation of a business model which aimed to benefit the community by utilizing indigenous plants which were processed into a drink in which a certain percentage of the proceeds went to the funding for rehabilitation projects in the community. 

The second session focused on water management. Dr. Wu, a faculty of NUK, presented theircollaboration with the government of Kaohsiung City which produced flood detention basins to store floodwater and serve as recreation areas which the community can enjoy during the dry season. The city also invested on water treatment facility to conserve water. Dr. Kristoffer Berse, UP RI Director for Research, served as the discussant on this session. He noted that these initiatives would also benefit the country if adopted especially since Kaohsiung and the Philippines share a similar climate. He also noted that this session opens for a discourse on the creation of the proposed Department of Water—a separate department for water-related concerns to prevent a repeat of the water service interruption experienced recently by parts of Metro Manila and Rizal province.

On the third session, Dr. Eing Ming Wu of the Shu-Te University shared how they capacitated the Li Captains of their city by helping them achieve a Master’s Degree of Management. The Li Captains, being equivalent to barangay captains in the Philippines, play a large role in dealing with the members of their village. Using their practical and acquired knowledge from their master’s degree, they were able to engage their respective villages in sustainable practices. Dr. Wu encouraged the academic institutions to help the local government units by capacitating them with technical skills to better govern their community.

True to the mandate under the Special Provision in the General Appropriations Act of 2018 and 2019, UP RI is tasked along with other state universities and colleges to support the Climate Change Commission (CCC) in the training of local government units (LGUs) to formulate and complete their respective local development plans, and to empower LGUs with science-based information and technologies for development planning that includes Climate and Disaster Risk Assessment (CDRA) using multi-scenario and probabilistic hazard models. It is therefore the duty of the UPRI to assist LGUs in planning for their localities by capacitating them with tools and skills necessary to the conduct of CDRA.

 

Figure 1. The delegates of the workshop listening to the presentation on water management

 Figure 1. The delegates of the workshop listening to the presentation on water management

 

 Figure 2. Delegates while lining up for a photo documentation

Figure 2. Delegates while lining up for a photo documentation

 

 Figure 3. Dr. Kris Berse summarizing the presentations of the second session

 Figure 3. Dr. Kris Berse summarizing the presentations of the second session

 

 Figure 4. Dr. Berse receives his token of appreciation handed by the NUK President

Figure 4. Dr. Berse receives his token of appreciation handed by the NUK President

 

Figure 5. Representative of the Naga City shares their experience on disaster risk reduction and management

Figure 5. Representative of the Naga City shares their experience on disaster risk reduction and management

 

Representatives from Filipino Academic Institutions Convene to Spearhead a CCA-DRR Academic Society

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With the goal of forming an academic society for Climate Change Adaptation and Disaster Risk Assessment, representatives from various academic institutions in the Philippines as well as from selected government institutions gathered last May 16, 2019 at the University Hotel, University of the Philippines Diliman.

 

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The proposed organization, initially suggested by Ms. Angeli Medina, a medical practitioner and Disaster Recovery International Foundation volunteer, aims to serve as a venue where experts from various academic disciplines can convene and integrate knowledge and resources to assist the efforts being done pertaining to CCA-DRR in the country.

During the organizational meeting, a brainstorming session was conducted to define and determine the scope of the proposed academic society as well as to pinpoint steps which are necessary for the formalization of the organization. A task force was also formed to plan and spearhead succeeding efforts.

To end the meeting, UP Board of Regent Angelo A. Jimenez, delivered a short speech stressing the need to make resilience a part of the Filipino public’s consciousness by building a solid science base.

UP Resilience Institute Attended the Regional Policy Forum on the Opportunities for a Climate-Smart Food System in the Philippines

On February 7, 2019, representatives from the University of the Philippines Resilience Institute participated in the Regional Policy Forum on Opportunities for a Climate-Smart Food System in the Philippines held at the Astoria Plaza, Pasig City. The event was organized by the International Potato Center (CIP) and the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS).

The welcome address and introduction of the participants were done by Samarendu Mohanty, the Regional Director of CIP Asia. Mercedita Sombilla, Assistant Secretary of the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA), gave a keynote address which highlighted the importance of climate proofing of the food system. The opening remarks on the other hand was delivered by Leocadio Sebastian from CCAFS. He listed out the different challenges and opportunities for creating policies in relation with the climate-smart food system.

A total of three sessions were organized for the Policy Forum and these are Prevailing Food Systems and Related Climate-Resilient Agriculture (CRA) Practices, Opportunities and Challenges for Climate-Resilient Agriculture, and Reflections of Policy Experts on the path ahead.

The speakers for the first session were farmers from Leyte and Tarlac. Felixberto Udtohan, a Farmer Leader from Brgy. Bato in Leyte talked about his success story in planting SP 30 sweet potato which he said is a good emergency food as what he had experienced during the Typhoon Yolanda in 2013. Sol Gonzales from Abagon Compact Farms and Seed Growers MPC and a representative from Sapang MPC both in Tarlac raised their concerns regarding the negative impacts of climate change in their community such as the lack of water and irrigation. After the farmers’ statements, a panel discussion was held with the panelist from International Institution of Rural Reconstruction, Philippine Rice Research Institute and Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic and Natural Resources Research and Development of the DOST. The panelists discussed the different programs their agency is conducting in relation with climate proofing the food system and with helping the farmers.

Session two included a presentation from Sampriti Baruah from CIP entitled Opportunities and Challenges for a Climate-Smart Food System: Insights from Central Luzon and Nueva Ecija. She presented solutions to the problems the farmers are experiencing in the Philippines in relation to the negative effects of climate change which are changing their planting season, looking for a new market, switching to vegetable planting, and using more organic pesticides. Perpi Tiongson from Oscar M. Lopez (OML) Center also presented the opportunities and challenges of the private actor in climate resilience. And lastly, Nicostrato Perez of the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) discussed about agricultural growth, climate resilience, and food security in the Philippines with the subnational impacts of selected investment strategies and policies.

The Regional Policy Forum ended with the panel discussion in session three which includes panelists from NEDA, Irene Adion from the Department of Agriculture Regional Field Office 3, Julieta Roa from Visayas State University and Thelma Paris, a freelance consultant. The session talked about the reflections of policy experts regarding the discussion points of the day and their inputs to what can be done in order to avoid or lessen the negative impacts of climate change. Some of the policy and programs that they have mentioned are strengthening policy on types of risks, expanding public and private investments for agriculture, providing higher quality database system for climate information, solar powered irrigation system for the Philippines, and changing the mindset of the people towards other staple food besides rice.

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Scoping Workshop in the Role of Academia in Policymaking for Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Action

The University of the Philippines Resilience Institute (UP RI) conducted a scoping workshop at the Carillon Hall of Microtel, UP Technohub last Tuesday, February 27, 2019. It was entitled “Scoping Workshop in the Role of Academia in Policymaking for Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Action”. It was headed by Dr. Kristoffer B. Berse, an assistant professor from the National College of Public Administration and Governance (NCPAG).

The workshop aimed to achieve the following objectives:

  1. To map out the involvement of UP faculty and, where possible, interaction among them, in support of policymaking for DRR and climate action;
  2. To take stock of mechanisms by which said "experts" provide policy advice—in one form or another—to the government;
  3. To identify issues and challenges pertinent to academe-government policy engagement; and
  4. To draw lessons and come up with recommendations to strengthen academia’s role in policymaking for DRR and climate action.

The workshop was opened by Dr. Alfredo Mahar Lagmay, the Executive Director of UP RI, professor from National Institute of Geological Sciences and followed by the welcoming remarks of Dr. Elena E. Pernia, the Vice-President for Public Affairs, and concurrently the former dean of the College of Mass Communication. Also participating were almost 40 professors from the different UP campuses. A video with a speech from Dr. Rajib Shaw, a Keio University professor, Chair of the UN ISDR Science Technology Advisory Group, and Co-Chair of Asia Science Technology Academia Advisory Group was also shown.

After this, the participants continued to the network mapping activity where each faculty introduced themselves in order to connect with each other. In the afternoon, they were divided into four groups and then proceeded to have the parallel small group discussions. During the discussion, the participants shared issues and concerns pertaining to academe-government policy engagement. Moreover, an inspirational message was conveyed by the former executive director of UPRI, Dr. Benito Pacheco. Lastly, everyone pledged their full commitment to the advocacy of the UP RI. The workshop was concluded with a message of Dr. Maria Fe Villamor-Mendoza, the dean of UP-NCPAG. Overall the workshop was insightful and full of optimism.

 

Dr. Mahar Lagmay giving opening remarks
Dr. Mahar Lagmay giving opening remarks

 

A welcome remarks from Dr. Elena C. Pernia
A welcome remarks from Dr. Elena C. Pernia

 

Guest Speaker - Rajib Shaw
Guest Speaker - Rajib Shaw

 

Health Break - From left to right (Dr. Mahar Lagmay, Jonnifer Sinogaya and Dr. Genaro Cuaresma)
Health Break - From left to right (Dr. Mahar Lagmay, Jonnifer Sinogaya and Dr. Genaro Cuaresma)

 

Dr. Kristoffer Berse discussing the Program Overview
Dr. Kristoffer Berse discussing the Program Overview

 

Dr. Mahar Lagmay connecting himself to the people he worked with in DRR
Dr. Mahar Lagmay connecting himself to the people he worked with in DRR

 

Small group discussion about scoping of academe-government policy engagement
Small group discussion about scoping of academe-government policy engagement

 

Participants identifying the role of each department
Participants identifying the role of each department

 

Dr. Josefina Tuazon sharing the issues, challenges they have encountered and their recommendation
Dr. Josefina Tuazon sharing the issues, challenges they have encountered and their recommendation

 

Inspirational Message from the former Executive Director of UPRI Dr. Benny Pacheco
Inspirational Message from the former Executive Director of UPRI Dr. Benny Pacheco

 

Participants wrote their pledge in Commitment Wall
Participants wrote their pledge in Commitment Wall

 

Closing Remarks delivered by Dr. Maria Fe Villamejor
Closing Remarks delivered by Dr. Maria Fe Villamejor

The UP Resilience Institute joins DSWD’s KALAHI-CIDSS Field Exposure Visit

On October 10 to 12 2018, representatives from the UP Resilience Institute joined the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Kapit-Bisig Laban sa Kahirapan-Comprehensive and Integrated Delivery of Social Services (Kalahi-CIDSS) Program on its 1st Multi-stakeholder Assessment on Local DRRM-CCA Gaps in Carmen, Surigao del Sur. The Kalahi-CIDSS Program seeks to empower local communities to achieve improved access to basic services through the institutionalization of community-driven development. In response to the debilitating effects of disasters on community beneficiaries, the strengthening and mainstreaming of DRRM-CCA has been identified as a priority component of the program. The UP Resilience Institute was one of the academic and civil society partners invited to participate in the field exposure trip to help develop policies, plans, and strategies for building community resilience.

Other participants came from the Department of Finance, Department of Agriculture, and Rappler-Move.PH. Along with Mayor Jane Valeroso-Plaza of Carmen, Surigao del Sur, the group visited the barangays of Hinapoyan and Antao to take part in focus group discussions with local officials and community volunteers.

In Barangay Hinapoyan, participants were shown the projects implemented under the Kalahi-CIDSS program which included access roads, gabions, box culverts and solar-powered street lights. These projects were chosen by community members themselves as priorities to improve transport of agricultural products and to mitigate hazards such as flooding. Volunteers shared their experiences working under the program, and the team learned that the implementation of these projects have improved the quality of life of the community, especially in terms of safeguarding their households, by reducing flooding incidents. They have also said that they felt empowered by the program as they gained knowledge on climate change, the hazards present in their area and how to mitigate them as well as skills in project planning and management.

In Barangay Antao, the team had the opportunity to talk with barangay officials on how they discovered the issues affecting their locality and their criteria for project prioritization. The team found that the barangay’s location on a flood plain has resulted in agricultural fields often being inundated during heavy rains. With the Kalahi-CIDSS, they were able to build a footbridge to help them cross in times of flooding, an access road, and a food terminal where they can sell their agricultural products. They have noted that with the construction of the access road, profits have increased since they no longer have to pay laborers to carry their products.

The Kalahi-CIDSS DRRM-CCA team has introduced hazard and poverty maps, environmental management filters, and other simple analytical tools to help communities make informed decisions. This has allowed community beneficiaries to gain insights on the prioritization of risk-mitigation measures and disaster/emergency lifeline facilities appropriate for their area.

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A community volunteer shares her experience with the Kalahi-CIDDS Program during a focus group discussion in Barangay Hinapoyan, Carmen.

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The social hall serves as an evacuation center of Barangay Hinapoyan. Community members have noted that the structure is not sturdy and is in need of repairs.

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The participants inspect a gabion in in Barangay Hinapoyan, one of the Kalahi-CIDDS projects chosen and implemented by community members as a flood control project.

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Focus group discussion with barangay officials in Antao, Carmen.

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Group photo with DSWD officers, Carmen local government officials, Brgy. Antao officials and community volunteers, and other field exposure participants.