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OML Center Welcomes PARR Fellows from Malaysia

By: Luigi Toda and Perlyn Pulhin

As funder for this year’s Pan-Asia Risk Reduction (PARR) Fellowship Program in the Philippines, the OML Center welcomed the Fellows from Malaysia to the University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB) last October 15, 2014. The Program offers unique research, training and educational opportunities to Asian researchers, practitioners, and policy makers to enhance their capabilities for advancing and applying knowledge on critical issues of global environmental change (GEC) and risk reduction in the Asia-Pacific.

The PARR Fellowship Program fulfills the needs of the region for researchers, practitioners, and policy makers who are able to plan with foresight to address the increasingly complex challenges of GEC and risk reduction and management. It establishes knowledge to action network of people and institutions capable of developing and implementing innovative approaches to planning and action at local, national, and regional levels. Headed by the Program Leader, the Global Change System for Analysis, Research and Training (START), PARR is pioneered by an international alliance of science-focused, research, education and capacity building organizations that share a common goal and complementary track records for advancing resilience and sustainability in the Asia-Pacific.

This year’s theme is Urban Disaster Risk and Vulnerability Under Global Environmental Change (GEC). Through the financial and management support from the OML Center, the PARR Fellowship Program is bringing together the Research and Practice-Policy Fellows from Malaysia and Indonesia to the Philippines for a one-month fellowship residency in UPLB and Manila Observatory.

The UPLB Fellows, namely Ms. Nurfashareena Muhamad (Science Fellow) and Mr. Md. Azizul Bari (Policy Fellow) both from the Southeast Asia Disaster Prevention Research Initiative (SEARDRI), Institute for Environment and Development (LESTARI) in Universiti Kebangasaan Malaysia (UKM), will be supervised by Dr. Nathaniel C. Bantayan (for the Science Fellow) and Dr. Decibel V. Faustino-Eslava (for the Policy Fellow), with the support of other professors and researchers from the university.

The Program is anticipated to provide a sound basis for translating social vulnerability components into geospatial parameters and experience on loss and damage assessment, focusing on Mt. Makiling as the study area. Ms. Muhamad will be conducting vulnerability assessment using Geographic Information Systems (GIS) to process socio-demographic data into geospatial variables. Mr. Bari, on the other hand, will apply Damage and Loss Assessment (DaLA Method) for assessing loss and damage in disaster-affected areas and for determining necessary financial resources for reconstruction and recovery. The results of both approaches will be used as decision-making support tools for disaster risk management in the study area and may be replicated to support development planning and policy in the home country. Both Fellows are also expected to undertake seminars upon their arrival and before their departure.

Another batch of Fellows from Indonesia is expected to arrive in the Philippines in November and December and will be hosted by Manila Observatory.

For more information about the PARR Inaugural Round, check here.