Strategies and action plans of key Philippine agencies on risk reduction can serve as models for other countries.
This was the assessment of officials from Columbia and Kenya at two separate forums on climate change recently hosted by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources and by the Pimentel Center for Local Governance at the Makati University. The forums were co-sponsored by the Climate Change Commission, International Theatre Institute, and Earthsavers Movement.
At the DENR forum moderated by former senator Heherson Alvarez, a Commissioner of the Climate Change Commission, Dr. Viktor Sebek, executive director of the Inter-American Center for Peace and Security in Colombia, and George Owour, Kenyan ambassador to the United Nations, lauded the presentations made by the OCD-NDRRMC, PAGASA-DOST, DOTC, DPWH, DILG, and NEDA.
In the roundtable discussion, hosted by Secretary Ramon Paje, who also heads the Cabinet Cluster on Climate Change, Sebek said the Colombian government considers the impact of climate change and disaster risk mitigation so vitally important that they are embedded in national peace and security planning.
In the second forum at the Pimentel Center for Local Governance, former Senator Aquilino Pimentel stressed the continuing need for local officials and community leaders to participate in the formulation and periodical reviews of local disaster mitigation programs. “They must be familiar with these programs because they will be implementing them in times of actual danger and high stress,” he said.
Ambassador Owour recounted Kenya’s difficulties in disaster mitigation owing to the fact that Kenya is surrounded by countries wracked by rebellions and civil strife, forcing more than 650,000 refugees to live within the country’s borders.
“Representatives of various foreign embassies in Manila and Philippine environmental NGOs provided perspectives and experiences which were really valuable in the overall effort to bridge a tri-continental understanding between South America, Africa and Asia,” said Commissioner Alvarez.
“This preparatory discussion that we initiated here in the Philippines will bring together least developed countries and island communities into a focused discussion in the forthcoming global environmental forum, the Rio+20 to be held in Brazil this June, and the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, the 18th COP meeting in Qatar in December
Ms. Cecile Guidote Alvarez, president of ITI and Earthsavers, assisted in organizing the events to coincide with the celebration of the World Theatre Week.
March 15, 2012