OML Center Partners with Silliman University for its First Climate Regional Forum

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OML Center Partners with Silliman University for its First Climate Regional Forum

By: Rochelle Bata and Perlyn Pulhin

March 20, 2015, Dumaguete City—OML Center and Silliman University, in partnership with World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF), Health Care Without Harm-Asia (HCWH-Asia), and Department of Science and Technology-National Academy of Science and Technology (DOST-NAST) held the Forum on Climate Change, Poverty, and Development. The forum that brought together a total of 116 scientists, educators, policy makers, and practitioners from various sectors at the local and national levels sought to:

  • create and increase an awareness by both the public and private sectors on climate change and its impacts on poverty, livelihoods and development;
  • discuss the various approaches in mitigating and adapting to climate change;
  • discuss and exchange ideas, knowledge, and expertise on climate change mitigation and adaptation measures among the different sectors of society; and
  • Identify ecosystem-based adaptation measures responsive to the identified impacts of climate change.

The Forum was composed of morning and afternoon plenary and parallel sessions. The morning session was comprised of the: Opening Remarks and Forum Rationale; International and National Situationer on Climate Change; and Local Climate Change Impacts and Possible Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation Measures and Implications to Development. Specifically, the session featured presentations by: Silliman University President, Dr. Ben Malayang; OML Center Scientific Director, Dr. Rodel Lasco on the Global and National Perspective (IPCC AR5 Report and Philippine Climate Change Assessment Report); PAGASA Senior Weather Specialist, Ms. Vivien Esquivel on Past Climate Trends and Climate Projections for the Philippines; UPLB-SESAM Professor, Dr. Ma. Victoria Espaldon on Poverty and Livelihoods; National Scientist Angel Alcala on Coastal Ecosystems; WWF National Advisory Council Vice Chairman, Mr. Jose Maria Lorenzo Tan on Biodiversity; Healthcare Without Harm-Asia Director, Merci Ferrer on Health; UPLB-CFNR Professor and former UPLB Chancellor, Dr. Rex Victor Cruz on Water Resources; and Visayan Forum Foundation Inc. Regional Coordinator, Romualdo L. Señeris II on Climigration.

Workshop on the reflections from the morning session and way forward mainly comprised the afternoon session. The participants were divided into four groups namely Poverty, Livelihoods and Climigration; Coastal Ecosystems and Biodiversity; Health; and Water Resources. The participants identified the challenges that the sector they represent face amid climate change. They also shared possible solutions and best practices to address the challenges they listed. And finally, the group proposed a program that can address current and future challenges brought about by climate change.

The forum highlighted the importance of both adaptation and mitigation or lowering our carbon dioxide emission. In fact, Silliman University committed and is encouraging everyone to help in planting 196 indigenous tree seedlings to offset the forum’s carbon footprint. More importantly, Philippines, being an archipelago and sitting at the Pacific Ring of Fire, is highly vulnerable to the catastrophic effects of climate change. This urges for a stronger, science-driven, localized, and multi-sectoral approaches in adapting to climate change.

Proceedings of the Forum will be made available through this site in due course. Meanwhile, you may check selected photos through this link.

Media updates:
The forum was featured in the local radio news 91.70 FM in the morning of March 21, 2015. Key highlights include results of the interview by a local TV and radio reporter with Drs Malayang and Alcala, Mr Tan, former Bais Mayor, Karen Villanueva, and University Research and Development Center Director, Dr. Enrique Oracion.

Links to articles featuring the forum:
Pinoy scientists echo warning against climate change: report
PH unprepared for impacts of climate change: WWF-BPI
Typhoons a bane to coral reefs: Alcala
16 PH cities not ready for climate change challenge, says study

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