Building local capacity in climate change vulnerability analysis

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12 Laguna towns in the Philippine have picked for EEPSEA-climate change study. The Twelve Laguna towns have been included as sites of a Southeast Asian research project on climate change. Titled “Building Capacity to Adapt to Climate Change for Selected Southeast Asian Countries: Vulnerability Assessment and Economic Analysis of Adaptation,” the regional project is funded by the Singapore-based Economy and Environment Program for Southeast Asia (EEPSEA) of the International Development Research Center of Canada (IDRC).

This premier Southern Tagalog province has been chosen as the project’s study site in the Philippines through the initiative of the Los Baños-based, Philippine government-hosted Southeast Asian Ministers of Education Organization-Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (SEAMEO SEARCA).

SEARCA is one of the 20 “centers of excellence” of SEAMEO, an inter-government treaty body founded in 1965 to foster cooperation among Southeast Asian nations in the fields of education, science, and culture.

The IDRC/EEPSEA-assisted project aims, in the case of the Philippines, to build the local capacity of 12 Laguna towns to determine and analyze their vulnerabilities to climate change and identify appropriate adaptation strategies.

The towns are Sta. Cruz (Laguna’s capital), Los Baños, Bay, Calauan, Liliw, Magdalena, Majayjay, Nagcarlan, Pagsanjan, Pila, Rizal, and Victoria.

The local government units (LGUs) will be equipped with technical skills to conduct vulnerability assessment and mapping and socioeconomic analysis.

SEARCA conducted the first of a series of such training courses last May for 30 Laguna municipal planning officers and key officials.

The participants were taught how to use tools for conducting climate change vulnerability assessment and identifying adaptation methods they can use in their development plans.

Director Gil Saguiguit Jr. said SEARCA believes that more attention should be given at the local and farm levels which are the most affected and vulnerable in climate change. It has thus identified efforts to assist LGUs in the country.

SEARCA and the Laguna provincial government headed by Gov. Jeorge “ER” Ejercito Estregan earlier had signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to pursue joint environmental programs.

The MOU binds the two parties “to collaborate in a number of areas, particularly in building the capacity of Laguna LGUs to identify, prioritize, and mainstream climate change adaptation measures, and to pursue common education, training and research objectives.”

They will also exchange scientific publications and information.

The environmental program to be pursued is in line with the provincial government’s “Save Laguna Lake” initiative and how to cope with the efforts of climate change.

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