Climate-change agency to adopt risk financing


THE Climate Change Commission’s (CCC) newly formed experts’ panel recommended piloting climate and disaster risk financing and insurance program at the local level to boost communities’ preparedness against catastrophes, along with other action plans to mitigate climate-induced risks.

In their first meeting with the CCC, the 16-member reconstituted National Panel of Technical Experts (NPTE) presented the Philippines’s top 10 climate-induced risks they have identified and how these should be addressed through policy and concrete actions.

These risks include rising sea levels, coastal erosion, flooding, increasing frequency and severity of tropical cyclones, extreme drought, temperature increase and rising urban heat index, extreme rainfall, climate-influenced diseases, wind patterns and biodiversity loss.

In presenting the panel’s recommendations before the CCC, NPTE member Doracie Zoleta Nantes said climate-induced risks jeopardize food security and water sources and worsen malnutrition, among others. In addition, Nantes said these risks endanger coastal communities, threaten marine resources and lead to shoreline erosion and increase the incidence of outbreaks of pests and diseases, including non-communicable ones.

Likewise, these risks trigger landslides and forest fires and force the migration and loss of species as a result of habitat destruction.

Rising sea levels could not only threaten the country’s food security and water sources, but it could also force the displacement of small island communities, particularly in the Visayas and has already led to a 1-meter to a 2-meter increase in seawater levels that affect Metro Manila, Cavite, Pampanga and Bulacan, Nantes added.

The experts also warned that the Philippines has one of the fastest rising sea levels in the world, affecting around 800 of the country’s municipalities.

CCC Chairman-designate and Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III formally adopted the action plan and strategies presented by the experts. Dominguez also instructed the CCC to integrate these in the upcoming updating of the National Climate Change Action Plan to help local governments craft action-oriented local climate change adaptation plans.

“The next step we have to do is, essentially, have the Commission adopt this program on the analysis of the risks and the action points,” Dominguez told the NPTE members after the experts’ presentation.

Finance Assistant Secretary for International Finance Paola Sherina A. Alvarez said the strategies presented by the NPTE involve the participation of the departments of agriculture, interior and local government and of the environment and natural resources.

Dominguez then instructed Alvarez to coordinate with the CCC Commissioners in setting a timetable for the implementation of the action plans.

Other key recommendations of the panel to mitigate the impact of climate-induced risks include the conduct of climate and health impact assessments for all provinces and cities using technology for forecasting and including climate finance in the investment and development plans of local government units (LGUs).

The experts also proposed the setting up and integration of online, real-time weather monitoring systems down to the local level and building a working network of state colleges and universities to provide support to LGUs and local communities on climate adaptation and mitigation actions. They also recommended enhancing local climate financing and encouraging fishers, farmers and other climate change-affected sectors to diversify their means of livelihood.

The experts also recommended aligning local climate action with the sustainable fund frameworks of banks to make LGUs eligible for financing and capacitate these local governments to enable them to revive the municipal bond market for green bond floats.

The panel also pushed for co-creating climate solutions with populations most affected by climate change; translating the science behind climate change into easy-to-understand concepts to be able to effectively communicate these to the public and integrating climate indicators in the monitoring and evaluation of government projects.

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