International and Filipino scientists shared and prescribed science-based strategies to the rehabilitation and rebuilding programs currently being undertaken by the government and private sector. At the experts forum on rebuilding communities and ecosystems held on 23 January 2014 in Makati City, about 300 scientists, engineers and experts from various disciplines discussed the current state of knowledge and how they can be applied to Yolanda affected areas and beyond. The forum was jointly hosted by the Office of the Presidential Assistant for Rehabilitation and Recovery (PARR) and the Oscar M. Lopez Center for Climate Change Adaptation and Disaster Risk Management Foundation, Inc. (OML Center).
Dr. Bregje van Wesenbeeck of Netherlands-based Deltares, an expert advisor on nature-based flood risk mitigation and integrated ecosystem analyses, discussed nature-based flood defenses. Joseph D’ Cruz, regional environment advisor of UNDP, presented their lessons and experiences in disaster recovery and response. The two foreign experts provided the international perspective in building climate-resilient communities and ecosystems.
The Filipino experts, meanwhile, shared and formulated recommendations on ecosystem rehabilitation and adaptation, land use planning and management, and resilient designs for residential, buildings and infrastructures. Dr. Laura David of the University of the Philippines Marine Science Institute shared the tools developed to assist local governments in assessing vulnerability of coastal areas and evaluating socio-economic development and the ability of affected communities to cope with such changes. Dr. Mario delos Reyes of the UP School of Urban and Regional Paper elaborated on mainstreaming framework on climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction into local development planning process in order to increase resilience of cities/municipalities to climate change impacts and related disasters. Dr. Jaime Hernandez, Jr. of the UP College of Engineering presented an alternative framework for disaster risk reduction and management (DRRM) through resilient structural designs in the context of multi-hazards occurring in the country.
“I strongly believe that a complete rehabilitation and recovery process will require not only strong governance but solid scientific foundation as well. The evidence-based framework and compendium of researches to be developed in this forum through dialogue and exchange of ideas and expertise will better position PARR’s effort to coordinate an effective rehabilitation and recovery in the education, housing, health, livelihood, and environment sectors of the Yolanda-affected areas and communities,” Secretary Panfilo Lacson said.
“The strategies and solutions formulated during the workshop and breakout sessions will be used in shaping the framework for an evidence- and science-based rehabilitation of the Yolanda-affected communities. It is crucial that we integrate disaster risk reduction and management and climate change adaptation in our rebuilding efforts and development goals towards a resilient community and sustainable resources,” OML Center scientific director Dr. Rodel Lasco added.
The Presidential Assistant for Rehabilitation and Recovery (PARR) headed by Secretary Panfilo Lacson was established to coordinate all Yolanda-related rehabilitation and recovery efforts.
About OML Center
The OML Center is a non-profit foundation working to generate science-based solutions in the area of climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction. It aims to be a leading catalyst for generating science-based solutions to climate-related risks and disasters in the developing world by supporting applied research with practical outcomes to help the most vulnerable deal with the impacts of climate change and natural disasters.