We can start small and create big impact – UNISDR Champion Arquillano at the Workshop organized by OML Center

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We can start small and create big impact – UNISDR Champion Arquillano at the Workshop organized by OML Center

By AV Gabriel and PM Pulhin

Date Posted: April 29, 2015

UNISDR Champion Vice Mayor Alfredo “Al” Arquillano Jr of San Francisco, Cebu shared in a workshop on loss and damage his long experience and some of the best practices on addressing climate change impacts and disasters. The workshop entitled “Linking Loss and Damage with Climate Change Adaptation and Disaster Risk Reduction in the Philippines” held on April 28, 2015 at Richmonde Hotel, Ortigas Center, Pasig City was organized by the OML Center and funded by the Asia-Pacific Network for Global Change Research (APN). This workshop is part of the regional project entitled “Assessing the linkages between Climate Change Adaptation, Disaster Risk Reduction, and Loss and Damage: Cases studies in the low-lying coastal cities of Cambodia, Indonesia, Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam.”

A total of 58 attendees (5 – speakers, 41 – participants, 12 – OML Center) from various national agencies, local government units, non-governmental organizations, research organizations, and other relevant stakeholders were gathered to discuss challenges and opportunities in linking loss and damage with CCA and DRR in the country.

The workshop was divided into four sessions. The first session highlighted the state of CCA and DRR integration in the country. Ms. Jessica Bercilla, Science-Policy Research Specialist of the Manila Observatory, provided the science-policy background by discussing CCA and DRR and its implications on loss and damage. As a way forward, she suggested the following: supporting evidence-based risk assessments; investing on understanding climate science and climate and disaster risk assessments via an integrated risk assessment platform; factoring in potential losses and damages not only to current but to future events; and investing in climate resilience and not only in disaster resilience.

She was followed by Mr. Arnold Belver, Planning Officer III of the Climate Change Commission. He shared about the national efforts of the government in integrating CCA and DRR through institutions, policies, and programs. The two-pronged approach in building adaptive capacity and delivering adaptive actions were also tackled.

Meanwhile, Vice Mayor Alfredo “Al” Arquillano Jr of San Francisco, Cebu, UNISDR Champion, presented the success stories on his municipality through their local efforts for CCA and DRR integration. He recognized the need for science-based information to help planning and decision-making bur emphasised that education is also important in building resilience. The roundtable discussions he organized with the local leaders to develop their capacity have been found more effective than large conferences. “We need to cultivate local knowledge to build resilience,” he stressed. His municipality has localized the Hyogo Framework of Action and is implementing a “no dole out policy” to empower the communities. The institutionalization of the Purok System, has won local and international awards. Among other points that he noted are: we need concrete actions that are measurable, achievable and result-oriented; leadership at the grassroot level should be demand-driven; and we have to focus on cost-effective utilization of financial resources. “We can start small and create big impact,” he pointed out.

The second session focused on the topic of loss and damage. To provide an overview on the previous and current international efforts on loss and damage discussion, Atty. Therese Guiao, Senior Legal and Policy Specialist of the Ateneo School of Government, presented the timeline of loss and damage discussion in the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). Mr. Relan Jay Asuncion, Officer-in-Charge of the Office of Civil – National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management (OCD-NDRRM) Operations Center, on the other hand, talked about the history, process, tool used, and challenges of the loss and damage assessment system in the country.

The third and fourth sessions allowed the participants to share their knowledge and experiences through group discussion. The discussants on the third session provided their sectors’ perspectives regarding strengthening CCA strategies and DRR measures for planning and development through the use of loss and damage information. The fourth session discussion revolved around the gaps and challenges of assessing loss and damages and achieving enhanced CCA and DRR strategies using loss and damage information. Possible solutions and opportunities for the issues were also discussed.

It is hoped that this workshop will open more discussions on loss and damage in the country, especially among key national agencies. The results of this workshop will help in the development of framework and policy recommendations that links loss and damage with CCA and DRR.

To view the workshop report, click here.

To view the presentations, click here.

To view the list of participants, click here.

To view the photos, click here.