In line with the observance of the Climate Change Consciousness Week from 19 to 25 November, we talked to Pinoy Climate Reality Leaders Jonathan John “Jt” Maldupana, Hiasma “Yasi” Gani, and Geraldine “Gera” Cortez about the critical role of local climate change adaptation and mitigation planning in addressing the prevailing climate crisis.

 
 Jt, Yasi, and Gera are the founders of Planoteerism—a non-profit organization that provides technical assistance to local government units in preparing science-based and risk-informed Local Climate Change Action Plans (LCCAPs).

LCCAPs, as required by the Climate Change Act of 2009 from all local government units, should present strategies and interventions for strengthening local risk governance, promoting climate-resilient rural livelihoods, restoring the integrity of ecosystems, and promoting low-carbon development.

In this #Realitalk feature, Jt, Yasi, and Gera shared with us why local leaders must formulate local development strategies that are “appropriate for and responsive to the current and potential impacts of climate change on each barangay or community.”

What does the latest climate science say about the impacts of climate change on Filipino communities?

 

Jt, Yasi, and Gera: The Philippines was ranked as the third most vulnerable country to climate change, according to the report of the Institute for Economics and Peace published in 2019.

As we have been experiencing since the start of the 20th century, extreme heat and more frequent and intense rainfall are the most visible negative impacts of climate change on our country. Extreme heat can wreak havoc on our food systems as it will damage crops, dry up water reservoirs for irrigation, and lower productivity and affect the health of our aging farmers.

As of 2015, the Philippines is 51.2% urbanized and this means that half of our population, which are living in cities, will be highly vulnerable to damages in the food supply chain coming from rural areas.

More frequent and intense rainfall will also damage our food systems. Floods, storm surges, and rain-induced landslides can also destroy homes, businesses, institutions, and infrastructure.

With 959 coastal local government units (LGUs) or 57% of our cities and municipalities), our country will also experience climate migration as sea levels rise—an impact that the recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report has now tagged as irreversible. As early as now, we need to think about relocating our most vulnerable coastal communities to safer inland areas.

Our government, both national and local, should declare a climate emergency now so we can design and implement adaptation measures with urgency as thousands, even millions, of Filipino lives are at stake.

Based on recent data from the Climate Change Commission, 18 percent of the total number of local government units in the country still do not have a Local Climate Change Action Plan (LCCAP) in place. What are the challenges and barriers to developing a science-based and risk-informed LCCAP?

 

Jt, Yasi, and Gera: A science-based or evidence-based and risk-informed LCCAP can take a lot of time, effort, and money to prepare. Municipalities, especially lower-income class LGUs, may not have the technical capability, available staff, and sufficient finances to prepare this plan. Even engaging planning consultants and experts may be out of the question. Without trained staff or technical assistance, LGUs may not be able to properly conduct evidence-based greenhouse gas (GHG) inventories and may not be able to come up with development strategies that are appropriate for and responsive to the current and potential impacts of climate change on each barangay or community.

These challenges are compounded when local decision-makers and policy-makers are not sufficiently informed about the realities of our changing climate. These local leaders may not fully understand our predicament and may not fully appreciate the value of having a plan of action for climate change adaptation and mitigation.

Without local leaders who understand that we are now in a climate emergency, which threatens the very existence of our civilization, the preparation, budgeting, and implementation of LCCAPs will be put on the back burner, and their communities will remain at (high) risk to the impacts of climate change.

"The LCCAP plays a critical role in putting direction to the different Programs, Projects, and Activities (PPAs) which will be reflected in the LGU’s Comprehensive Land Use Plans (CLUP) and Comprehensive Development Plans (CDP)."
JT MALDUPANA, YASI GANI, AND GERA CORTE

How can LGUs leverage their LCCAPs to ensure strong local risk governance and sustainable local investments? Why is it important for LGUs to integrate their LCCAPs into their Comprehensive Land Use Plans and Comprehensive Development Plans?

 

Jt, Yasi, and GeraAll developmental plans must be aligned and harmonized to ensure that implementation of such would result in the attainment of the identified goals and objectives — sustainable and inclusive development.

The LCCAP plays a critical role in putting direction to the different Programs, Projects, and Activities (PPAs) which will be reflected in the LGU’s Comprehensive Land Use Plans (CLUP) and Comprehensive Development Plans (CDP).

The PPAs should be properly identified and tagged on how each would contribute to the climate change adaptation strategies. Having a sense of what the LCCAP of an LGU would give them a clear understanding of how they can plan and implement their developmental projects without disregarding their local climate change realities.

 

"Financial assistance for the preparation and implementation of the plan should also be provided, especially for lower-income class LGUs."
JT MALDUPANA, YASI GANI, AND GERA CORTE

What support should the national government and civil society provide LGUs on climate change action planning?

 

Jt, Yasi, and GeraThe national government should provide a more comprehensive and harmonized framework to allow LGUs to prepare their LCCAPs with a follow-through implementation. There is a need to conduct more capacity development to properly train local government staff and assign qualified and skilled professionals in the positions required to prepare and help implement the plan.

Financial assistance for the preparation and implementation of the plan should also be provided, especially for lower-income class LGUs.

Civil society organizations such as Planoteerism should step up in assisting LGUs in the preparation of science-based GHG inventories and evidence-based LCCAPs.

What is Planoteerism? How do you envision it to help LGUs develop and/or enhance their LCCAPs?

 

Jt, Yasi, and GeraPlanoteerism, Inc. is a non-stock, non-profit, volunteer organization that aims to provide technical assistance and capacity-building programs to LGUs in the preparation of sustainable developmental plans, particularly the LCCAP and the Local Climate Change Communication Plan (LCCCP). Volunteers include environment planners, engineers, architects, scientists, researchers, advocates, educators, and allied services.

Planoteerism envisions all cities and municipalities in the country to have an updated science-based GHG inventory and evidence-based LCCAP.