Sunday, February 23, 2014

Climate Change Committee pushes for DA’s active participation in Visayas rehab efforts, commends Phl delegation in UNFCCC COP 19

Atty. Christian Monsod leads the 15th Quarterly Meeting of the PCAF Committee on Climate Change

The Philippine Council for Agriculture and Fisheries (PCAF) Committee on Climate Change is set to craft a proposal outlining agricultural interventions that will contribute to the rehabilitation efforts for Yolanda-stricken communities in Visayas.

In its 15th Quarterly Meeting last December 2, representatives of the government and private agencies under the PCAF Committee on Climate Change, headed by Atty. Christian Monsod, have agreed to draft a plan that will address the agriculture damages brought by super typhoon Yolanda (international codename Haiyan).

A task force that will lead the Committee’s involvement and initiatives in aid of the rehabilitation efforts of Yolanda-hit communities was also formed and will be headed by Atty. Monsod. The task force will identify key interventions that will be included in the proposal to be submitted to the rehabilitation czar, former Senator Panfilo Lacson.
“This is an opportunity for us to incorporate the ideas of the public and private sectors on climate change adaptation into the rehabilitation plan,” Atty. Monsod said.

On December 4, the said task force met to discuss the preparation of the proposal. The group will look into the Department of Agriculture’s (DA) draft rehabilitation plan and proposed rehabilitation program of the Alyansa Agrikultura.
The said move comes after Alyansa Agrikultura Chairperson Ernesto Ordonez underscored the need for the DA’s and PCAF’s active involvement in the rehabilitation and reconstruction efforts in the areas ravaged by super typhoon Yolanda.
Echoing his November 29 Philippine Daily Inquirer article, Ordoñez stressed that the institutionalized participatory mechanism between the public and private sectors under the PCAF should be harnessed and be able to lead the participation of agriculture stakeholders in the government’s rehabilitation plan.

Around 50 individuals present during the meeting also expressed collective commendation to the Philippine contingent led by Climate Change Commission's Commissioner Naderev Saño at the 19th Conference of Parties (COP 19) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change’s (UNFCCC) in Warsaw, Poland.

Saño was also at the meeting to report the agreements reached and commitments made during the said convention held last November 11-23.

Serving as lead negotiator of the Philippine delegation, Saño’s emotional appeal for world leaders to act on climate change with a greater sense of urgency opened the COP 19 of the UNFCCC.
Saño, a native of Yolanda-hit Tacloban, Leyte, also went on a voluntary fasting during the two-week conference as the delegation sought for concrete pledges for the mobilization of resources for the Green Climate Fund, for the operationalization of a loss-and-damage mechanism, and for an increase in targets on greenhouse gas emissions from developed countries.

“We fought hard to get this international mechanism on loss and damage. We were able to negotiate this. Now, we have an established mechanism. This is actually a landmark decision because, for the longest time, rich countries do not acknowledge the possibility of being able to assess losses and damages because of climate change,” Saño said.

Coming from his two-week trip in Warsaw, Poland, Climate Change Commissioner Naderev Saño
reports on the outcome of the talks during the UN Climate Change Conference last November.
“This mechanism allows us to access important expertise and knowledge on assessing losses and damages from climate impacts, provides us the potential to access resources and technology whenever we incur losses and damages and to allow us to recover from losses and damages,” he explained at the committee meeting.

He also stressed that while there is no established scientific link between a single weather event like supertyphoon Yolanda and climate change, he said it should not change the fact that all organizations and individuals, both from the government and private sectors, can still contribute in reducing disaster risks.

“The primary principle in the climate change convention tells us that we should not wait for full scientific certainty to take action. And the endeavor to craft an international policy on climate change and to reduce risks of disasters at the local and barangay levels are not mutually exclusive. Even if we continue to closely link “Yolanda” with climate change, I don’t thank it will distract us. I think it is even more important because we will take the same approaches in reducing risks from disasters,” he said.

Meanwhile, the committee also adopted a resolution requesting DA Secretary Proceso Alcala to convene the National Agriculture and Fisheries Council (NAF Council) and its Budget Committee to lay down short-term and long-term plans on climate change mitigation and tackle areas of participation of the private sector in the Department’s reconstruction plans.

Officials from the Bureau of Soils and Water Management also presented the Agromet cum Climate Change Project System Plan to the committee.

The committee also tackled updates on the preparation of the Integrated Map System, which is spearheaded by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources-Mines and Geosciences Bureau, National Mapping and Resource Information Authority and Mining Industry Coordinating Council, and the Climate Change Vulnerability Mapping in Agriculture Project, which is led by the National Irrigation Administration.

The DA Systems-Wide Climate Change Office also presented the results of the APEC Seminar Workshop on Adaptation and Mitigation Initiative in Agriculture, while Isagani Serrano of the Philippine Rural Reconstruction Movement discussed his reaction paper on the New Rural Development Strategy of the World Bank.

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