Local government units (LGUs) should institute a focal office or unit for climate change, similar to that of the Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (DRRMO).
This is one of six policy recommendations formulated at the Technical and Policy Forum on Climate Disaster and Risk Assessment (CDRA) and Local Climate Change Action Plan (LCCAP) held on 7 January 2020 at Crowne Plaza Hotel in Pasig City.
A first of its kind in the Philippines, the forum sought to craft unified policies and guidelines to hasten the preparation of science-based CDRA and LCCAP, with the goal of enhancing climate change and disaster resilience of LGUs and local communities in the country.
CDRA, as defined by the Local Government Academy, is a “decision-making tool critical for risk prevention and reduction.” It serves as one of the guides in formulating the LCCAP or the “action plan to address climate change concerns” of LGUs.
The second policy recommendation arrived at in the forum was for knowledgeable regular LGU employees to be coached and mentored in the preparation of and the compulsory training of elected officials on CDRA and LCCAP.
The forum determined the need to appoint an agency that will monitor the completion of CDRA and its mainstreaming into development plans, such as the Comprehensive Land Use Plan (CLUP) and Comprehensive Development Plan.
The participants recommended tapping higher education institutions (HEI) as technical service providers to LGUs in developing their CDR and LCCAP, and to address issues on resource mobilization.
They also recommended the need for CDRA to be prepared at the national government level and for it to become a chapter in the CLUP; and the need to capacitate LGUs in enhancing the CDRA and mainstreaming its results in their CLUP.
The forum participants also recommended data requirements for CDRA to be included in the Community-Based Monitoring System (CBMS).
Finally, the policy recommendations called for the creation of an Inter-agency Technical Working Group (TWG) that will develop a unified framework harmonizing the guidelines and tools for CDRA and LCCAP.
The TWG will include mostly the participating agencies in the forum: Climate Change Commission National Panel of Technical Experts (CCC-NPTE), Department of Human Settlements and Urban Development (DHSUD), Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA), University of the Philippines Resilience Institute (UPRI), and UPLB.
It shall also include LGUs, League of Municipalities of the Philippines, Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology, Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical, and Astronomical Services Administration, Mines and Geosciences Bureau, and the Office of Civil Defense.
These policy recommendations, arrived at after presentations on issues, challenges, and lessons on the use of CDRA for LCCAP formulation were made by participants from DILG’s Bureau of Local Government Development, DHSUD, CCC, UPRI, and UPLB.
Among the lessons learned from the forum was that requiring the formulation of LCCAP and other plans is constrained by a steep learning curve, lack of manpower, data requirement, resources and resource mobilization sustainability, and appreciation and accountability of LGUs in preparing CDRA.
The forum was the first initiative led by the UPLB Interdisciplinary Studies Center for Integrated Natural Resources and Environment Management (IdSC-INREM) for the year 2020, and was held in partnership with CCC and UPRI.
It was participated in by 51 representatives of key agencies involved in CDRA and LCCAP formulation, namely: CCC- NPTE, NEDA, DSHUD, and DILG; and was funded by the Asia-Pacific Network for Global Change Research.
LGUs of the Aurora Province and municipalities of Dingalan, Aurora and Majayjay, Laguna were represented in the forum inasmuch as the event was part of the project “Enhancing climate risk resilience through human security development and capacity building in the Province of Aurora, Philippines.”
IdSC-INREM is chaired by Dr. Juan M. Pulhin, professor at the College of Forestry and Natural Resources and Academician at the National Academy of Science and Technology. (Catherine C. de Luna)