Climate Change and Disaster Risk Management News

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

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.



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.


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


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.


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.


Focus group discussion with barangay officials in Antao, Carmen.


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

UP RI participates in a workshop reviewing the National Climate Change Action Plan

The National Climate Change Action Plan (NCCAP): Thematic Consultation on Adaptation-Mitigation Nexus Analysis Knowledge and Capacity Development workshop is a follow-up activity of the Inception Report conducted last August 28-31, 2018. The 2nd consultation workshop scheduled on October 8-12 aims to validate the step-wise description of the process of adaptation-mitigation nexus analysis drawing upon lessons learned from the Inception Workshop, validate the provisionally identified systems of interest across the thematic sector namely food security, water sufficiency, ecological and environmental stability, human security, climate-friendly industries and services, sustainable energy, and knowledge and capacity development, and discuss issues, gaps, and challenges identified in the monitoring and evaluation of the NCCAP for 2012-2016. The workshop intends develop outputs that will illustrate the adaptation-mitigation nexus analysis sectoral linkages, identify the key processes and inputs to refine and complete the analyses for all systems of interest across the seven themes using the data from the previous workshop, and pursue agreements on the ways forward addressing the issues, gaps, and challenges identified.

The program started by an opening remarks by Mr. Jerome Ilagan, Division Chief of Policy Research and Development Division Climate Change Office, of the Climate Change Commission. Mr. Ilagan stressed the priorities on updating the NCCAP in consideration with Sea Level Rise and gas emission in the country and how the NCCAP must find its way to the Philippine Development Plan. Afterwards, Ms. Elaine Borejon provided brief introduction of the NSFCC and NCCAP. She highlighted the RA 9729 which mandates the CCC to formulate the NCCAP in accordance with NFSCC which is the roadmap to reach the goal of enhancing adaptive capacity of communities, increase resilience of natural ecosystem to climate change and optimize mitigation opportunities towards sustainable development. She also provided of summary of what happened from the previous Inception Report.

Later on a presentation on the overview of the results of the NCCAP 2012-2016 Monitoring and Evaluation (M&e). The M&E Team composed of CCC staff, agency counterparts, GIZ advisors, and research assistances, and independent evaluators conducted data gathering and analysis. Highlights of the key accomplishments and findings are as follows:

  1. An integrated national anchor program has not been established either for knowledge and capability development;
  2. Outputs and activities were identified but are pursued sectorally, rather than coherently through integrated structure programs
  3. Major decision support systems (DSS) were established, but they are as yet sectoral, not yet through an integrated nor interopable, and has yet to be centrally-managed
  4. Several vetting mechanisms, processes and criteria were developed and implemented to identify, prioritize, and pilot climate adaptation and mitigation actions under most of the themes.
  5. There was an attempt across themes to rationalize the development and prioritization of the adaptation measures on the ground considering local knowledge and experiences, but no information to categorically establish that locals and communities were actually involved in the identification and vetting or prioritization processes of climate measures.
  6. During the reporting period, a national climate changes awareness survey revealed that there is widespread awareness climate change and its anthropogenic causes and that recent climate-related events and patterns are the new normal. However, it is likewise revealed that there is generally a low awareness of the government’s programs, projects and activities related to addressing climate change.

The session of the workshop was delivered by Mr. Richard Smithers from GIZ who presented the adaptation-mitigation nexus analysis process.

Mr. Smithers first clarified definitions used, defining of Climate Sensitivity, adaptive capacity, and vulnerability based on IPCC AR5 definition. He stated that “Adaptation requires prioritization in relation to vulnerability and exposure to climate change particularly extreme weather and climate events.” Noting that mitigation is pursued as a function of adaptation. Mr. Smithers also discussed the Adaptation Principles, which are the guiding principles of the NFSCC 2010-2022, used and such principles include:

  1. Adaptation measures shall be based on equity
  2. Climate change initiatives by one sector should not hinder the adaptation of other sector but rather must complement
  3. Build adaptive capacity of communities and increase the resilience of natural ecosystem

Next, Mr. Smithers outlines the proposed outputs of the project, which included

  1. Adaptation-mitigation nexus analysis
  2. Data from consultations
  3. High-level guidance on a systematic process for the NCCAP update

After the session of Mr. Smithers, the Inception Workshop began. The workshop started with the validation of the SOIs for the nexus analysis, where the participants worked on the outputs from the previous workshop and reviewed and refined the outputs by identifying links between the NCCAP focal theme’s high-level activities and Sustainable Development Goals, Philippine Development Plan and other themes. The next part of the workshop included identifying common SOIs that were associated with the previous step. Completing the nexus analysis was the identification of the benefits of all high-level activities associated with each SOI for adaptation and mitigation by reference of the rankings initially determined.



Mr. Smithers of GIZ discussing the definitions.


Mr. Smithers joins the participants (which includes UP RI's Ms. Joy Santiago) in the workshop. The participants include representatives from DOH, DEPED, DILG, DENR and other government agencies.

UP RI goes to Cebu landslide ground zero

Last Friday, September 21, 2018, Dr. Mahar Lagmay, Mr. Jake Mendoza and Mr. Bojo Sta. Maria of the UP Resilience Institute (UP RI) went to Naga City, Cebu to assist in search and rescue operations. The team collaborated with UP Cebu, Datos Project, Terai Alicaba and Enzo Campomanes, and used local knowledge, building footprints, Open Data Sat images, K9-Search and Rescue and detectors to locate the buried houses. The scientific information provided by the group contributed to the hastening of the search operations.

Below are images of recommendations and maps given by the UP RI to the Search and Rescue Operations:


Images of ground zero and the incident command post obtained by the team:



Dr. Mahar Lagmay, Mr. Bojo Sta. Maria and Mr. Jake Mendoza.


UP RI produces a map helpful for the rescue of landslide victims

Yesterday, a rain induced landslide hit Naga City, Cebu. So far, it has been reported that 21 people are dead with 74 missing. Because of this, Dr. Mahar Lagmay ordered some of the GIS experts of the UP Resilience Institute (UP RI) to map the building footprints that were buried by the landslide. Led by Ms. Feye Andal, UP RI used Open Street Map to plot out the households that were buried.

The map produced can be downloaded in this link:

Also, in his Facebook and Twitter accounts, Dr. Mahar Lagmay shared the additional information related to the landslide.