Knowledge Showcases

Knowledge Showcases

K-SHOWCASES contains experience notes, adaptation notes, technical reports, stories on good practices, and other SEARCA publications related to climate change adaptation in Southeast Asia.

By Dr. Gelia T. Castillo

The global food crisis, manifested by soaring rice prices and long queues of would-be buyers, has generated various forms of social unrest all over the world. In the wake of these tumultuous developments, a renewed interest in agriculture has surfaced.

As the world “rushes to rice”, the focus tends to be geared toward producing more rice in irrigated, favorable, large, and accessible farms. However, one should not forget how the unfavorable areas would cope. These include the rainfed, upland, drought-prone, flooded and submerged, saline soils, and other problematic areas. They are the topographically, ecologically, and climatically challenged rice-growing places, where rice probably should not be grown, but is.

Read more: CURE Approach amidst Rice Crisis and Changing Climate

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When it rains, it pours. And this is true for Vietnam, particularly when it comes to floods and typhoons. The UN International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (2007) estimates that 84% of all disaster deaths between 2000 and 2005 are all flood-related. It also reports that the number of floods have increased from 60 to 100 per year between 2004 and 2006.

Likewise, IDRC’s EEPSEA Director, Dr. Herminia A. Francisco,2 reports the same observation – that Vietnamese people have been living with floods all their lives. These floods will still rise given climate change. In responding to the challenge of changing climate, IDRC conducted case studies in Vietnam, Philippines, Indonesia, China, and Thailand.

Read more: Flood- and Typhoon-Proofing Communities: Learning from the Vietnam Experience

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By Rodel D. Lasco

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Fourth Assessment report highlights the role of tropical forests in mitigating the negative consequences of climate change. Initial results from Alternatives to Slash and Burn Partnership (ASB) study suggest that the abatement costs of alternative land uses are reasonable.


Tropical forests are among the most valuable ecosystems in the world for many reasons. Although covering less than 10% of the earth’s land area, they provide 800 million people with fuel, food, and income (Chomitz, 2007). They harbor the largest terrestrial reservoir of biological diversity, from the gene to the habitat level. For example, more than 50% of known plant species grow in tropical forests (Mayaux et al. 2005). They help regulate climate by storing vast amounts of carbon.

Read more: Tropical Forests and Climate Change Mitigation

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By Rodel D. Lasco, Roberta Gerpacio, Patricia Ann J. Sanchez, and Rafaela Jane P. Delfino

The Philippines has been considered as highly vulnerable to current, as well as future, risks associated with climate change.

Every year, the Philippines experiences eight to nine tropical cyclones making a landfall, mild earthquakes, recurring landslides and flooding. The country is also periodically affected by the El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) that induces prolonged wet and dry seasons, adversely affecting the local economy.

Climate change is thus expected to exacerbate existing stresses in the country, particularly the more vulnerable natural ecosystems and local communities.

Read more: Philippine Environment and Climate Change: An Assessment of Policies and their Impacts

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Agriculture and Development Notes on Climate Change Adaptation
Vol. 3 No. 1 | By Antonio G.M. La Viña | 2013

In the face of the threats posed by climate change, initiatives for the conservation of natural resources are now being prioritized globally, particularly the conservation of watersheds and forests to reduce carbon emissions. REDD+ (Reducing Emissions, Deforestation, and Forest Degradation and the Conservation of Existing Carbon Stocks) is now gaining ground as a sound mechanism to address climate change. However, countries need to mainstream and adequately implement the social, governance, and environmental safeguards of REDD+ for the mechanism to succeed. Likewise, the issue of carbon property rights needs to be clarified to ensure that the rights of the primary duty bearers of forest and watershed management are recognized.

Humanity is now approaching a “state-shift” in the Earth’s biosphere—a tipping point in the global ecological system—primarily caused by the human-induced climate change. As the detrimental effects and the causes of climate change become apparent, initiatives for the conservation of natural resources have become a global priority, particularly the conservation of watersheds and forests to lessen the anthropogenic carbon emissions.

Read more: REDD+ for Climate Change: Ensuring the Rights of Local Communities

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Agriculture and Development Notes on Climate Change Adaptation
Vol 2. No. 6 | By Rex Victor O. Cruz | 2013

Watersheds are critical to economic development and environmental protection in Southeast Asia. Thus, managing them effectively is a key in the pursuit toward sustainable development. Watershed management, however, is a complex decision-making process. The threat brought by climate change further puts stress on the already-stressed watersheds in the region, and would further complicate the already-complex process of watershed management and governance. Extensive research is therefore needed to provide an empirical database that will predict the future changes in watersheds. An integrated watershed management framework must also be developed to synchronize the development of all land and water uses. The roles of multiple stakeholders involved in watershed management and governance should be harmonized in order to achieve effective watershed management and governance in a changing climate.

Read more: Watershed Management and Governance in a Changing Climate

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Agriculture and Development Notes on Climate Change Adaptation
Vol 2. No. 5 | By Auke Idzenga | 2013

adn2013-2-6Anangue is an upland village located in Murcia, Negros Occidental, Philippines. The primary livelihood in the village is farming. However, the villagers experience low agricultural productivity due to the lack of access to sufficient water.

The nearest source of water in the village is a freshwater spring located 240 meters away and elevated by 80 meters. Thus, the community greatly depends on rainfall for domestic consumption and agricultural production. However, with the onset of climate change causing variations in the rainfall pattern and distribution, access to water became more difficult and costly.

To respond to the challenges of agricultural areas like Anangue, the Negros-based organization Alternative Indigenous Development Foundation, Inc. (AIDFI) was established. AIDFI aims to address water problems including those faced by small-scale farmers using various adaptation technologies such as its hydraulic ram pump.

Read more: Hydraulic Ram Pump: A Practical Solution to Climate Change

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Agriculture and Development Notes on Climate Change Adaptation
Vol 2. No. 4 | By David Manalo | 2013

Flooding is a prevalent problem in the Philippines, especially now that there are heavier rains due to climate change. Experience has shown that being prepared for a disaster can minimize casualty and damage. However, for people living in remote areas, preparedness could be a problem, as they do not usually have access to radio, TV, mobile phones, and other media that can immediately warn of possible floods and landslides. As such, an effective early warning system needs to be designed specifically for far, remote areas.

The Bell and Bottle Early Warning System (EWS) project aims to address this need. With funding from the World Bank, the University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB) in cooperation with the Center for Initiative and Research on Climate Change Adaptation (CIRCA) is implementing this project in 15 to 20 villages in Albay province, a mountainous area in the Philippines with many remote communities. The project seeks to establish a low-cost, fast, effective, and community-based early warning system designed for remote communities that are prone to floods and landslides.

Read more: Bell and Bottle Technology: Community-based Early Warning System

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Agriculture and Development Notes on Climate Change Adaptation
Vol 1. No. 5 | By Felino P. Lansigan, Gernot Laganda, Reiner Wassman, and Anan Polthanee | 2012

Climate change is a global problem that affects all areas of human life. Both natural processes, like volcanic eruptions, and anthropogenic activities, such as population increase and industrialization, cause climate change. Furthermore, climate change has impacts on agriculture, forestry, public health, and other systems, and these effects vary across different places in the world.  

Adaptation and mitigation measures are necessary to reduce the risks brought about by climate change. While adaptation considers future risks and seeks to prepare the society and the other systems to the impacts of climate change, mitigation aims to keep climate change below the dangerous level.  

Read more: A Systems Approach to Reducing Risks in Rice Production in Southeast Asia

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Agriculture and Development Notes on Climate Change Adaptation
Vol 1. No. 6 | By Mozaharul Alam, Louis Lebel, Lucille Elna de Guzman, and Oscar Zamora | 2012

Southeast Asia relies heavily on its agricultural capacity, species diversity, and natural resources. However, with the whole region experiencing the impacts of climate change, the need to identify strategic roles for climate change adaptation and mitigation in Southeast Asia rises. Therefore, initiatives, policies, and new technologies are needed to help different countries in the region manage the effects of climate change. The challenge is in contextualizing and localizing international policies in designing and implementing projects on climate change adaptation and mitigation. Small communities should realize the need to contextualize such initiatives to fit their own needs and capacities.  

Read more: Community-based Adaptation to Climate Change in Southeast Asia

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