Finalists in the first Climate Resilience Challenge tap green infrastructure, disaster risk financing, in building resilience

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Two submissions emerged as finalists in the first-ever OML Center Climate Resilience Challenge, a competition aiming to surface innovative interdisciplinary solutions that private sector actors can take on to address climate risks of a vulnerable sector or community. 

Launched in July, the challenge was opened to individual researchers, departments, and centers or groups within higher educational institutions (HEI) in the Philippines with proposals on how to address challenges in Food and Water Security, Livelihood and Essential Services, and Climate-Health Systems. The two solutions that garnered enough scores to be recognized as finalists focus on green infrastructure and disaster risk financing.

COWET: A Nature-based Solution to Water Security” aims to address water scarcity while also treating wastewater for the agricultural sector using constructed wetlands, man-made systems that emulate natural wetlands. The solution, submitted by Engr. Ma. Hazel T. Castillo, Engr. Donny Rey D. Camus, Engr. Alvin Joseph S. Dolores, and Engr. Victor Mikael de Padua from the University of the Philippines – Los Baños (UPLB) endeavors to help small-scale and commercial farmers with an affordable and sustainable system. Their proposed system also has potential applicability in urban and residential settings. 

Meanwhile, “The MisOr Akay Fund: The Pathway to Sustainability and Resiliency” seeks to establish a concrete, sustainable and inclusive disaster risk financing for the province of Misamis Oriental.  The proponents from the Asian Institute of Management, which includes Mr. Augustus Caesar B. Esmeralda, Mr. Tristan Lindsey Ares, Mr. Jonathan S. Biagtan, Mr. Randell Kitt Botero, Ms. Sheryl Joy Anne Gutierrez, and Mr. Walter Panganiban, seek to help farmers, low-income families, Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) and flood-prone communities in the province.

The two teams receive a cash prize of PHP 50,000 each to help further their solution. A public presentation of their solutions will be conducted in the 1st week of February 2021. 

Of the submissions received by the Center from individuals and teams across the Philippines, ten passed the eligibility review and were endorsed to the initial set of technical reviewers composed of the OML Center Knowledge Production Unit and the Center’s Project Upturn team.

Four submissions were then endorsed to proceed to the ideation and development sessions, where participants were given the opportunity to connect and interact with relevant public, private and civil society sector representatives and improve upon their submissions. Resource persons tapped for the ideation and development sessions include: 

  • Dr. Jaime Aristotle Alip of the Center for Agriculture and Rural Development Mutually Reinforcing Institutions (CARD MRI), 
  • Ms. Kathleen Almonte of the Philippine Business for Social Progress (PBSP), 
  • Dr. Rex Victor O. Cruz of the National Academy of Science and Technology (NAST), 
  • Prof. Moises Dorado of the University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB),
  • Mr. Engellau Flores of the Energy Development Corporation (EDC), 
  • Ms. Amy Lecciones and Dr. Catriona Devanadera of the Society for the Conservation of Philippine Wetlands, Inc. (SCPW), 
  • Mr. Jose Nuno O. Meira of the GIZ Centre for International Migration (CIM) and World Agroforestry Center (ICRAF), and
  • Dr. Pedcris Orencio of the Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (SEARCA). 

The revised submissions were then endorsed for final review and evaluation on the basis of research/scientific evidence, innovation, feasibility and operational sustainability, and impact. The panel was composed of:

  • National Scientist Dr. Lourdes J. Cruz,
  • Ms. Agnes de Jesus of First Philippine Holdings Corporation (FPH),
  • Ms. Janice O. Dugan of First Gen Corporation (First Gen), 
  • Ms. Floradema C. Eleazar of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP Philippines), and 
  • Ms. Lourdes V. Tibig of the Climate Change Commission – National Panel of Technical Experts (CCC NPTE).

The OML Center envisions the Climate Resilience Challenge to be an annual program, with themes and target participants varying per year. To keep track of developments to the Climate Resilience Challenge, visit the OML Center website.

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