Climate change has become a major development challenge in the Philippines. The effects of climate change, both the gradual change and extreme events, are exacerbating existing environmental, social and economic problems in Philippine cities. The manifestations of climate change impacts experienced by the country only dictate that development planning in the Philippines can never be “business as usual.”
Following the passage of the Republic Act 9729 or the Climate Change Act of 2009, the national government has created the Climate Change Commission, which to date has already facilitated the development of a National Framework Strategy on Climate Change and has translated the strategy into a National Climate Change Action Plan (NCCAP). Guided by the NCCAP, Republic Act 9729 mandates local government units to develop their local climate change action plans. The challenge remains that most local authorities have limited capacities to develop their local climate change action plan so that it is meaningful to their local risk context and development strategies. In the dynamic setting of cities and urban areas, the ability of local government units to address climate change issues and implement sustainable adaptation strategies and measures is so crucial.
Current and recent programmes
UN-Habitat Philippines integrates climate change adaptation and mitigation measures into all its programmes, as well as implements demonstration projects on vulnerability and adaptation assessments, conducts training and provides, technical assistance and capacity building programmes with key national, provincial and local partners.
Vertical integration and learning for low emission development (V-LED) Philippines
The success of a global response to the climate challenge depends on the coordinated effort at multiple levels. However, in spite of national climate and green growth strategies and targets being in place, very few countries have been able to establish dynamic vertical policy coordination mechanisms between the national and local levels.
It is against this backdrop that UN-Habitat Philippines continues to support government’s efforts in responding to challenges of climate change. From 2015 until 2018, UN-Habitat will implement two but interrelated projects:
(i) Vertical integration and learning on low emission development (V-LED) with support of the International Climate Initiative (IKI)-Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety (BMUB) and in partnership with Adelphi Research GmbH; and
(ii) Strengthening capacities of national and regional level governance to mainstream climate change concerns into national urban-related policies with UNEP and UNESCAP as partners.
Both projects are geared toward supporting government in integrating climate change into national urban policy and foster low-emission development at the national and local levels. In the Philippines, local governments are complying with their mandates to formulate their comprehensive plans and mainstream local climate change actions into such mandated plans. Much is happening at the local level and this makes it important to further support such local efforts and vertically linked to national programs and policies with climate and sustainable energy strategies and policies integrated into the process.
Strengthening resiliency and safety in urban informal settlements in three Metro Manila cities and their partner local government units in the Visayas
The Philippine offices of UN-Habitat and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) implemented the joint project entitled “Strengthening Resiliency and Safety in Urban Informal Settlements in Three Metro Manila Cities and Their Partner LGUs in the Visayas”.
The joint project was implemented from April 2014 to February 2015 under the Safe and Friendly Cities Programme (SFCAP), a global programme of UNICEF, UN-Habitat, and UN Women which in its Philippines implementation aims to: 1) reduce vulnerability to violence and disasters; (2) increase access to social services; (3) strengthen partnership and collaboration among stakeholders at local and national levels; and (4) increase resources for programs on safety and security that result in increased safety, reduced violence and improved quality of life.
Aligned with the SFCAP objectives, the joint project was expected to accomplish improved capacities of city and national government agencies, civil society organisations, and other stakeholders on safety and resilience, violence prevention, and decreasing vulnerability to disasters particularly affecting informal settler families.
A key approach of the joint project is the use of ‘Local Government Twinning’ among Metro Manila Cities (Mandaluyong, Pasay, and Quezon) and local government units in Eastern Visayas namely, Tacloban City, Ormoc City and Guiuan Municipality which were affected by Super Typhoon Yolanda (international name Haiyan). The local government twinning and other activities focused on delivering three sub-expected accomplishments/objectives:
- Strengthened partnership and collaboration among stakeholders at local and national levels that result in increased safety and resilience, decreased vulnerability, reduced violence and improvement particularly in the lives of informal settler families;
- Supported LGUs and local stakeholders to have informal settler families baseline data and mapping system; and
- Increased awareness of ISFs on their rights and access to basic social services and livelihoods that promote safety and resilience to disasters.
Designed as mentoring sessions, cross-visits resulted in actual outputs and transfer of knowledge like policy drafts, project design, systems installation, and others.