Saturday, February 20, 2016

Top scientists lead discussions in Legazpi on youth anti-climate change disaster learning
By Danny O. Calleja

LEGAZPI CITY, Feb. 19 (PNA) -- Over a dozen of the country’s top experts in the scientific fields of environment and climate are here for a three-day drafting of learning materials to be used in educating the youth on climate change adaptation (CCA) and disaster risk and vulnerability reduction (DRVR).

They now sit as the National Panel of Technical Experts (NPTE) in the K to 12 Mainstreaming Climate Change Adaptation and Disaster Risk and Vulnerability Reduction: Learning Materials for Philippine Schools project rolled out in this city Friday.

Highlighting the roll-out activities are tough technical write-shops to be participated in by scores of teacher-writers mobilized by the Department of Education (DepEd) in the crafting of the learning materials targeting the youth in the propagation of awareness to enable them to directly participate in CCA/DRVR efforts toward building resilient communities.

DepEd Regional Director for Bicol Ramon Fiel Abcede said the participation of the teachers in the write shop is “buoyed up by the experience during the first workshop in 2008 for us to come up with a first of its kind CCA-DRVR learning materials for Filipino students as a sequel to the lesson exemplars for teachers developed and produced earlier.”

A brainchild of Albay 3rd district congressional Rep. Fernando Gonzalez, the project concept is anchored securely on the commonly accepted fact that measures to address climate change and disaster risk impacts start at home where families and individuals are the basic elements of the day-to-day decision-making process.

Either the community does not understand the threat or underestimates CCA impacts, and does either nothing or something inappropriate due to lack of capacity to address it even as year after year, weather-related disasters recur and exposed communities become more and more vulnerable after each extreme event, Gonzalez said.

These experiences are concrete, physical and scientific lessons that drive innovation in proactive approaches, measures, strategies and options to plan and manage against economic loss, damage and risk scenario and “preventing climate change from becoming a major disaster” hence, the CCA-DRVR education project, he said.

According to Gonzalez, educating the youth is a significant element of a new strategy to embed climate change adaptation in the country's educational system.

“Our schools can provide the venue for the adoption and implementation of the integrated global goals for resilience among vulnerable peoples, multiple stakeholders and communities by preparing the populace, both socially and culturally, to meet the unequivocal challenges of climate change and natural disasters,” the congressman stressed.

The implementation of the project is born of the interlocking between the Local Climate Change Adaptation for Development (LCCAD) based here and headed by its executive director Manuel “Nong” Rangasa and Climate Change Commission (CCC) under Sec. Emmanuel de Guzman.

The CCC provides the guidance in its implementation by the LCCAD through the support of the local government here headed by City Mayor Noel Rosal, Gonzalez and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), among others.

The write-shops that intend to develop explicit learning materials and teaching modules on CCA and DRVR in the primary and secondary school levels, according to Rangasa, will be focused under the guidance of the NPTE on the conceptual framework towards the integration of information related to disasters in the K to 12 basic education program.

Pursuant to Republic Act 9729, otherwise known as the Climate Change Act of 2009, as amended by RA 10174 “The People’s Survival Fund”, the NPTE, Rangasa said, was constituted to provide the CCC policy recommendations as well as technical and advisory services related to climate science, technologies, and best practices for risk assessment and management.

Among its members are environment and ecology scientists Rex Victor Cruz, Felino Lansigan, Rodel Lasco and Juan Pulhin; ecology and biodiversity experts Profirio Alexander Aliño and Laura David; climate change and earth scientist Leoncio Amadore; and health science specialist Glen Roy Paraso.

Others are meteorologists Rosa Perez and Lourdes Tibig; earth science and environment specialists Carlos Primo David and Fernando Siringan; greenhouse gas emission inventory sector representative Leandro Buendia; and climate scientist Jose Ramon Villarin.

Inputs from these experts, Rangasa said, will provide write-shop participants the direction towards coming up with the draft learning materials and teaching modules on CCA and DRVR.

He said the goals of CCA and DRVR education are to foster public awareness of and concern about economic, social, political, ecological and cultural interdependence of rural and urban areas as well as create new patterns and norm of behavior of individuals, groups and multiple stakeholders as a whole towards these concerns.

It also aims to simplify, facilitate and provide individual with opportunities to acquire solid foundation of knowledge, values and skills needed to protect and improve the environment to develop and implement comprehensive risk management strategies and build better for community resiliency.

Created about four years ago, LCCAD, which is based in this city, is the national CCA and DRVR training institution and service provider recognized by the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) that provides theoretical moorings to national, local government units (LGUs) and multiple stakeholders.

In entering into a tie-up with the LCCAD, Rangasa said De Guzman took note of the K to 12 conceptual frameworks that call for the integration of information from three international agreements related to disasters crafted in 2015 that reflect the growing awareness about the need for more resilient communities and economies.

De Guzman was referring to Paris Agreement of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, the Sendai Framework on Disaster Risk Reduction and the Sustainable Development Goals, as enshrined in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Year 2016, according to De Guzman, is a critical and exciting year as it marks the start of the implementation of these global agreements which are doubly significant for the Philippines as they address common, interlocking issues affecting the country’s aspiration for a prosperous, sustainable future.

These issues converge on the Philippines’ vulnerabilities which stem from its geographical location, socio-economic features like a rapidly growing population, and external factors like climate change which is outstripping the country’s natural coping capacity.

Rangasa noted that all these issues have to be factored in the preparation of the next Philippine Development Plan with resilience becoming a national priority, given that global warming leading to climate change turns into a local disaster when the root cause is not identified or the response is not appropriate to the threat. (PNA) LAP/FGS/DOC/CBD/EDS