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Iloilo City most vulnerable to climate change impact

Published on 14 July 2015 Philippines

ILOILO City is at high risk to the effects of climate change because of its location and high population density, according to a study released by World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) Philippine Group and Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI) Foundation, Inc.

The study, “Business Risk Assessment and the Management of Climate Change Impacts”, focused on the city-specific socio-economic baseline data of Baguio, Iloilo, Cebu and Davao and their ability to adapt to climate change.

The four cities became the pilot areas of the WWF-BPI Foundations study based mainly from the occurrence of storms, floods, drought and other extreme climate events during the past decade.

To seize the trends drawn from existing climate studies and city-specific socio-economic information, the study worked with scenario building exercises and linked their predictions for each city to an action-oriented proposal for present-day decisions.

The research also used a three vector analysis to gauge the level of vulnerability of each city – climate/environmental exposure, socio-economic sensitivity and adaptive capacity – by using historical data for a 20-year period, from 1990 to 2010.

The first factor put together local climate scenarios and city-specific weather information while socio-economic sensitivity looked into variables such as population, agriculture, tourism, new and existing businesses and investment, health and educational enrollment.

Adaptive capacity assessed variables such as labor/ work force, city revenue/ expenditures/ reserves, functional literacy – that reflects the city’s ability to implement adaptation strategies.

The study noted that Iloilo City is in a precarious situation because “it has the second highest population density of the four cities in this study. Sitting on reclaimed marshland, it also remains highly flood-prone. In combination, these two factors constitute a serious risk. Next to Baguio, Iloilo City emerged as the second most vulnerable city in this study,” the report said.

But the study also noted that although Iloilo is rapidly becoming urban and is flood-prone, it has managed to keep its population growth down to 1.53%, much lower than the national average. The low population growth of the city has eased the pressure on its natural resources unlike Cebu and other Luzon cities.

Jose Ma. Lorenzo Tan, WWF-Philippines chief executive officer, said the study will provide city planners and government agencies insights on how to plan their cities with the challenges posed by climate change.

WWF is scheduled to tour the four cities from December 6 to 9 and educate the governing bodies on how to create an adaptive strategy to climate change. Four more cities are slated to be covered by the study in 2012.

“Each city faces its own set of advantages and disadvantages in adapting to a sustainable future. Now that we have the insights, from the potential of Cebu to grow by establishing its own airport to the threat of rising sea levels to Iloilo’s reclaimed lands, WWF and BPI Foundation invite institutions within these cities and the government in particular to initiate more eco-friendly solutions for the development of our country,” Tan said.



Source: The Daily Guardian | 13 July 2015