A pilot project designed to enable targeted rural communities in the Philippines to cope with the impact of climate variability and change will soon be underway with the signing of a $4.974 million grant agreement between the Philippine Government and the World Bank on December 21, 2010.
The project – called the Philippines Climate Change Adaptation Project (PhilCCAP) – aims to develop and pilot-test adaptive strategies that will promote the climate-resiliency of Philippine agriculture and natural resources management.
In particular, the project seeks to increase farmers’ capacity to cope with climate change through such measures as making the irrigation and other agricultural infrastructure more climate resilient, enhancing delivery and effectiveness of extension services for farm-level climate risk management, pilot-testing of a weather index-based crop insurance, and improving management of watersheds and protected areas.
“PhilCCAP supports the government’s campaign to reduce the sector’s vulnerability to weather variability, change, and extreme events, thereby promoting our vision of a food-secure nation and a prosperous farming sector,” said Department of Agriculture (DA) Secretary Proceso J. Alcala. “The project will benefit poor farmers, who often suffer the most from climate change-related losses, as well as other vulnerable groups that depend on agriculture and natural resources for their livelihoods.”
In addition, the project will help the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), concerned LGUs and communities more effectively manage and protect critical ecosystems through a systematic consideration of climate risks.
DENR Secretary Ramon Jesus P. Paje welcomed the signing of the grant agreement saying, “The project will help integrate climate change adaptation into the agriculture and natural resources sectors, and strengthen the capabilities of relevant government agencies in dealing with the impact of climate change. It will also strengthen the coordination of interventions addressing climate change by supporting capacity-building in oversight bodies like the Climate Change Commission.”
One of the important components of the project involves improving the institutional capacity of Philippines Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) and other organizations to capture and analyze data, improve analysis of climate change trends, and make the information available to policymakers and the general public.
PhilCCAP will be implemented by the DA, DENR, PAGASA, and the Climate Change Commission.
The $4.974 million grant for the PhilCCAP will come from the Global Environment Facility (GEF) under the Special Climate Change Fund being managed by the World Bank.
The Philippines has one of the highest exposures to climate change risks—including typhoons, floods, landslides, and droughts—and is ranked in the top 10 countries worldwide at risk for both climate change and disasters.
In late September and early October 2009, tropical storm Ondoy, followed closely by typhoon Pepeng, caused massive flooding, landslides, damage to infrastructure, loss of crops, and loss of human life in an area reaching from Metropolitan Manila to Northern Luzon. These two weather disturbances—the worst on record in the Philippines—disrupted the lives of an estimated 7 million people, caused hundreds of deaths, damaged crops and infrastructure.
The country is also periodically affected by the El Niño phenomenon, which creates strains on water resources due to low water inflows into major watersheds and reservoirs, causing severe losses in agriculture and more hardships for the rural poor.
World Bank Country Director Bert Hofman said, “Poor communities are more vulnerable to climate change and have fewer options for coping with the impacts, including decreased food and water supplies. This project therefore is very important because it helps reduce the poor’s vulnerability to these types of shocks.”
He mentioned that the Cancun conference on Climate Change made it clear that climate change financing is set to increase. “Countries that have a solid strategy on climate change and the mechanisms in place to implement it are set to benefit most from international support for their efforts,” Hofman added.