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UN to fund Duterte’s Climate Change project

Albay Rep. Joey Sarte Salceda has lauded the United Nation Green Climate Fund’s (UN-GCF) $10-million grant for President Rodrigo Duterte’s Climate Change Project proposal to which the UN body will provide another  $58 million in February next year.

The GCF Board approved the proposal and the $10 million grant during its 24th meeting held last week in Songdo, South Korea. It will fund a multi-hazard impact-based forecasting and early warning system (MH-IBF-EWS) in the Philippines. Legazpi City, which is within Salceda’s second congressional district, is one among the project’s pilot areas.

The GCF (also referred to as Fund) is a specialized UN financing mechanism created to fund initiatives towards a global shift to low carbon emission and  climate-resilient adaptation measures for developing countries. The MH-IBF-EWS aims to strengthen and ensure the delivery of actionable and timely early warning to communities and ‘last mile’ end users at risk of impending natural hazards.

Salceda, House Ways and Means Committee chair, was the first Asian GCF co-chair, elected to represent all 172 developing countries including India and China in 2013-2014. Despite pervasive skepticism, the GCF Board, under the co-chairmanship of Salceda and his German counterpart, delivered two milestone achievements—the completion of the prerequisites that operationalized the GCF, and mobilization that raised the Fund’s initial US$10.2 billion.

Salceda said the Philippine projects will “ensure that all climate change related hazards are included in the development of climate risk profile of targeted LGUs as provided for in Climate Risk Management Framework (CRMF), and that the appropriate institutions such as academes and other science experts organizations which have the ncapacity to develop or have developed methodologies to establish climate change risk profile are officially engaged.”

The initial grants approved represent only a small portion of the $10.4 billion fund collected out of $100 billion pledges to the GCF by developed countries which largely contribute to global warming that cause severely disastrous weather events. It is dedicated for use by poor, vulnerable developing countries which mostly bear the brunt of climate change impact.

Apart from the $10 million MH-IBF-EWS grant, Salceda confirmed that the Philippines will access a bigger $58-million grant from the GCF by February next year, for Strengthening the Resilience of Most Vulnerable Coastal Communities to Climate Change in the country’s

Eastern Seaboard. This project, Salceda explained, aims to attain the goal of ‘Resilient Filipino coastal communities, supported by a healthy and resilient economy and ecosystems with the following objectives: 1) To enable the most climate vulnerable Philippine coastal communities to effectively manage the disaster risks of climate change;

2) To increase and improve the stock and quality of the country’s coastal resources, especially mangroves, and enable them to withstand the adverse impacts of climate change and sustainably provide optimum ecosystems services for the poor and vulnerable coastal population; and 3) to put in place the enabling environment and institutional arrangements for the continued resilience building in the country’s coasts.

The project, he said, will comprise the following components with their respective outcomes, outputs and major activities in coasted communities, as follows: Component 1 -- Managing the Disaster Risks of Climate Change; Component 2 -- Enhancing Mangrove Ecosystems Services for Climate Change Resilience; and Component 3 -- Establishing an Enabling Environment and Institutional Arrangements for Coastal Resilience.

Salceda said the $58-million project’s expected direct and indirect beneficiaries, including lives saved from  climate-related disasters, are: 578 LGUs in 28 provinces, 9,024,000 fisher folks and farmers, 33 academic institutions as direct beneficiaries, and 51 million people as indirect beneficiaries in the eastern seaboard out of the country’s 105 million total population.

Salceda’s achievements as GCF co-chair were consequently hailed in the Conference of Parties held in Lima, Peru. His work on Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change Adaptation in Albay was recognized by United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Reduction which declared him as the “most senior global champion” in these fields. During his term, the GCF focused on strategies to compel developed countries to remit their financial pledges to help support poor countries in developing their own disaster risk reduction and climate adaptation programs. He expressed elation that Legazpi City is included among MH-IBF-EWS’s target sites and beneficiaries, along with Tuguegarao City; Palo, Leyte; New Bataan and  Cagayan de Oro.

MH-IBF-EWS is designed to translate hazard forecasts into warnings that can convey location- and sector-specific impacts, providing clear climate risk information directly to LGUs and communities on the ground. It aims to deliver four outputs: 1) Generate science-based multi-hazard weather and risk information; 2) Establish an MH-IBF-EWS supported by a knowledge and decision support system; 3) Improve national and local capacities in implementing a people-centered MH-IBF-EWS and forecast-based early actions (FbA), and; 4) Mainstream climate risk information and MH-IBF-EWS in development policy and planning, investment programming and resilience planning at national and local levels and institutionalizing a people-centered MH-IBF-EWS in the Philippines.

Salceda said the GCF will channel the grant to the Land Bank of the Philippines, from where it can be accessed, based on established protocols.

Salceda said the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration or PAGASA will be the project’s lead agency.

It will work together with the Department of Interior and Local Government for advocacy, outreach, public awareness, capacity building of LGUs, and  updating of disaster preparedness and response protocols using impact-based early warning system; the Department of Environment and Natural Resources-Mines and Geosciences Bureau for landslide hazard and threshold mapping; the  Office of Civil Defense as implementing arm of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council, that will facilitate inter-agency coordination, resource mobilization for disaster preparedness and response, and manage information at the national and regional levels; and the World Food Programme for activities related to FbA and shock-responsive social protection, including the development of index-based triggers and SOPs aligned with impact-based forecasting and warning system.

The target LGUs will lead all activities in the project sites, such as building the exposure database with population and socio-economic variables; housing, building and gathering field data; identifying forecast-based actions and financing mechanisms; adopting and implementing early action protocols; identifying alternative resilient livelihood options; and integrating MH-IBF-EWS and FbA in their respective local resilience plans.

A Project Board consisting of the CCC, Land Bank, DOST-PAGASA, OCD, DENR-MGB, and DILG will be set up at the national level to provide project oversights and implementation strategies.

In a related development, Salcedo said the proposed Department of Water Resources will need P2 billion.

In a television interview, the proposed department need a huge budget to ensure the proper management and delivery of water resources.

“In the creation of such department, we have the existing Local Water Utilities Administration, the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System and National Irrigation Administration. These are teh attached agencies,” he said.

“But within the core of the National Water Resources Board, P2 billion is needed,” he added.

Other key water agencies to be consolidated or whose functions would be transferred to the Department of Water Resources are the River Basin Control Office, Department of Environment and Natural Resources’ Manila Bay Coordinating Office, Department of Public Works and Highways’ Flood Management Planning and Sediment Functions, Department of Interior and Local Government’s Water Supply and Sanitation Unit, and Environmental Management Bureau’s Water Quality Management Section.

Salceda, who led the House technical working group taking up various measures toward the creation of the Department of Water Resources, said a Water Regulatory Commission would also be created to closely monitor water price rates.

“There will be no adjustment in the prices of water we pay for, drink and use without it passing through the Water Regulatory Commission. The mandate of this commission is to protect the consumers,” he said.

“We will at least have a constructive tension between the need to develop water and at the same time, it would not be that too expensive for the consumers,” he added.

The committees on government reorganization, and public works and highways approved the bill to create the Department of Water Resources.

The bill would be referred to the committee on rules that shall schedule plenary deliberations.

Topics: Joey Sarte Salceda , Rodrigo Duterte , Climate Change Project , United Nation Green Climate Fund , Department of Environment and National Resources
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