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Collective efforts needed to address climate change — experts

Published on 1 December 2021 Philippines

Filipinos must plan smartly, use technology-driven solutions, and foster multi-stakeholder collaborations to address environmental threats and achieve a green and sustainable way of living.

This was the consensus reached by a panel of experts during the Stratbase ADR Institute (ADRi)’s “Pilipinas Conference” held virtually last Wednesday, November 24. Stratbase ADRi President Dindo Manhi noted that sustainability and environmental concerns have to be among the priorities of new political leaders as the election season nears. “They have to understand the risks of failing to understand what it means to give green and circular measures in their policies, frameworks, and operations,” he said.

As such, the Stratbase ADRi — an international research organization — gathered a group of experts who are most respected in their field of specialization to discuss ways on how to design climate-resilient and sustainable communities towards green economic recovery amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

The panel was composed of Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) Governor Benjamin Diokno; Dr. Mahar Lagmay, director of the University of the Philippines’ Nationwide Operational Assessment of Hazards (UP-NOAH) Center; Renato Constantino, executive director of the Institute for Climate & Sustainable Cities (ICSC), Dr. Carlos Primo David, Trustee and Program Convenor of Stratbase ADR Institute and Convenor of the Philippine Business for Environmental Stewardship (PBEST); Rene Meily, President of the Philippine Disaster Resilience Foundation (PDRF); and Guillermo Luz, Chairman of Liveable Cities Philippines (LCP).
A file photo shows houses which were wrecked after a storm surge caused by super-typhoon Yolanda ravaged Tacloban City. (MANILA BULLETIN FILE PHOTO)A file photo shows houses which were wrecked after a storm surge caused by super-typhoon Yolanda ravaged Tacloban City. (MANILA BULLETIN FILE PHOTO)

In his keynote speech, BSP Gov. Diokno said that there is a need for banks to have a clear and comprehensive understanding of environmental and social risks. He said banks must also understand the impact of environmental and social risks on their operation and business viability before they can take the necessary actions to address it.

As part of the BSP’s efforts to go green, Diokno said the central bank remains committed to guide the financial system and promote a conducive backdrop for sustainable finance to flourish.

The BSP Chief added that they aim to raise awareness and build capacity to address numerous environmental and social risks, enable a regulatory environment through policy issuances, and engage stakeholders to act in recognition of the fact that these risks “are not just business risks, but risks that affect everyone and the future generations to come.”

Further, he said the BSP wants to “navigate a path towards a post-COVID-19 economy and Philippine financial system that is more stable, resilient and inclusive.”


Meanwhile, UP-NOAH director Lagmay said in his presentation that disasters are actually “manifestations of unresolved problems of development.” To be able to adapt to climate change, Lagmay said that “we must be able to change our life, specifically to find alternatives to the traditional way of making engines run.”

Boosting economy

As for ICSC executive director Constantino, he stressed that climate change should drive the Filipino people to boost the country’s economy.

“If we are to face dire risks squarely, we must upgrade everything, not just the power sector, but upgrade urban services to logistics, food supply, and supply chains, including transport infrastructure that should be designed to move people instead of cars,” he said.

He warned that Filipinos cannot afford to tackle climate change with a narrow approach. He said any emissions reduction strategy must be part of a larger transition initiative that is focused on achieving sustainable, inclusive, and resilient economic development.

Extreme seasonal changes

Climate change is also expected to “bring drier dry seasons and wetter wet seasons,” according to PBEST convenor Dr. David. He explained that large parts of the archipelago will be more prone to extremes, such as droughts on one hand and flooding on the other due to the rapidly progressing climate change.

Therefore, David proposed the use and development of farms with smallholder farms working in tandem with industrial scale farms, and the revival of the agriculture sector through farm schools in a bid to train the next generation of farmers and agri-entrepreneurs.

Optimizing technological advancements

The last presenters were PDRF president Meily who said that they were relying on technology to build disaster resilience among communities, while LCP chairman Luz stressed that open spaces “are not just a luxury but an important aspect of resilience, disaster risk reduction, and disaster response.”

“Urbanization brings with it a lot of benefits but also carries with it a lot of weight of environmental impact,” Meily said.




Source: Manila Bulletin 26 November 2021