Study on disaster and climate resilience targets coastal cities in PH

Scientists, academics, and representatives from local government and civil society came together at the launch of the “Coastal Cities at Risk in the Philippines: Investing in Climate and Disaster Resilience (CCAR2)” project held January 24, 2018 at the Ateneo de Manila University (ADMU) in Quezon City.

The CCAR2 project is a transdisciplinal action research project of the Ateneo de Manila University and the Manila Observatory (MO), in partnership with the National Resilience Council, and with support from the International Development Research Centre (IDRC).

cainta flood
Photo: Philippine Daily Inquirer

Enhancing coastal cities’ capacities

CCAR2 aims to enhance the capacity of coastal cities in Metro Manila, Iloilo, and Naga to weather and bounce back from flooding. The three areas in the study are examples of low-lying coastal, river-delta megacities already stressed by rapid population growth and economic, social, health, and cultural challenge, and therefore most exposed and vulnerable to natural hazards. The project is set to run from 2018 to 2020.

The project is the second phase of the Coastal Cities at Risk (CCaR) program. The first phase ran from 2011 to 2016, with research focusing on the cities of Bangkok, Lagos, Manila, and Vancouver. CCAR1 likewise took an interdisciplinary approach involving natural, engineering, socio-political-economic, and health scientists to upon and partner with leading programs and international projects. One outcome of the CCAR1 project is the Master of Disaster Risk and Resilience (MDRR) graduate program jointly designed and delivered by the ADMU’s Department of Environmental Science and Department of Sociology and Anthropology.

Producing useable knowledge

Kicking off the launch were messages from ADMU President Fr. Jose Ramon Villarin, SJ, IDRC Senior Programme Officer Dr. Melanie Robertson, and Dr. Faye Abigail Cruz of the MO, standing in for MO Executive Director Dr. Gemma Narisma. Villarin said that the ADMU was privileged to take part in a project which would mobilize science to benefit communities and mitigate the environmental and economic effects of disasters. Robertson placed emphasis on closing gaps and building trust so that different sectors could work together. Cruz cited the value of the CCAR projects in helping scientists produce “useable” knowledge.

Top row: Fr. Jett Villarin, SJ, Dr. Melanie Robertson, Dr. Faye Abigail Cruz, Prof. Gordon McBean, Dr. Hassan Virji. Bottom row: Dr. Wei-Sun Li, Ms. Ma. Antonia Yulo-Loyzaga, Dr. Emma Porio, Dr. Fabian Dayrit, Ms. Yael Buencamino

The launch’s main speakers delivered the following presentations:

Partners from the different cities included in the study were on hand as well to give their responses. Representatives from the local governments* of cities included in the study were present, as was Mr. Rene Gumba of the Naga City Resilience Council. Dr. Fabian Dayrit of the National Academy of Science and Technology commented on the how the project is an experiment on teaching without having all the answers, and learning in the process. Ms. Marilou Eni, Executive Director of the National Resilience Council, emphasized the need to simplify language and operationalize results in order to educate and empower stakeholders. She also talked of the need to engage the private sector to share their core competencies. Mr. Noli Abinales of the San Mateo City citizens’ group Buklod Tao shared his group’s long journey to sustainability, arrived at through years of cultivating partnerships with scientists and local government. Mr. Benedict Balderrama, National Coordinator of the Partnership of Philippine Support Service Agencies, Inc. concluded the series of responses by laying down the bottom line – that any tools generated by research must benefit families and communities.

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Accompanying the launch was the “From Risk to Resilience” exhibit, a visual guide to the research areas, research process, and desired outcomes of the project.

*We would like to thank the following local government representatives who were present at the launch:
Mr. Franco Anthony Agudo, City Government of Iloilo
Mr. Rene Gumba, City Government of Naga
Ms. Sharmaine Era, City Government of Navotas
Mr. Roneil Gonzales, City Government of Navotas
Ms. Yzabela Bernardina A. Nazal, City Government of Navotas
Ms. Mhel Soque, City Government of Navotas
Ms. Raquel Naciongayo, City Government of Pasig
Ms. Raquel Mallillin, City Government of Quezon
Ms. Maegan Zeresh Monsanto, City Government of Quezon
Ms. Thess Khaz S. Raza, City Government of Quezon
Dr. Arnaldo Antonio, City Government of Valenzuela
Ms. Chatty Anne Decena, City Government of Valenzuela
Ms. Sharmaine Tan, City Government of Valenzuela

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To view more photos from the project launch, visit our photo gallery.

Photos by Andrea Bautista, UCPRO-ADMU

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