A test for local climate adaptation

What does local climate change adaptation look like? Two LGUs in Mindanao will now be able to carry out local adaptation projects funded by the People's Survival Fund

Airah Cadiogan

Published: 9:0:0am November 29, 2016

Updated: 2:6:15am November 30, 2016

On Friday, the board of the People’s Survival Fund (PSF), a special annual fund in the National Treasury intended to finance local climate change adaptation initiatives, announced that it has given the green light for two projects in Mindanao.

The two projects worth P120 million were proposed by the local government units (LGUs) of Lanuza in Surigao del Sur and del Carmen in Surigao del Norte.

Oxfam has worked with the LGUs of Lanuza and del Carmen from 2012 to 2014 in the implementation of the BINDS project (Building Resilient and Adaptive Communities and Institutions in Mindanao), which was supported by the Australian Government’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT).

PREPARED FOR CLIMATE CHANGE? Lanuza residents living near the coast, like this fisherman say they have little knowledge of the impacts of climate change except that, when a typhoon is coming, they should heed the instructions of local authorities. Photo credit: VJ Villafranca/Oxfam

Through the collective action of all stakeholders, the BINDS Project helped improve the ability of communities and local institutions to build livelihoods that could withstand climate change, develop their own climate-sensitive strategies, and enhance their skills and knowledge on responding to disasters and adapting to climate change.

Since 2013, Oxfam, together with local NGO partners, also provided technical support in the crafting of the PSF Project Proposals of both municipalities.

WHEN TO ACT? A surfer emerges from the sea in Lanuza, Surigao del Sur. The small town (2015 total population: 12,001) comes alive during the November surf season when the local economy booms with the arrival of dozens of foreign and national professional and amateur surfers. But because of its location along the eastern seaboard of Mindanao, Lanuza is vulnerable to tidal surges and tsunamis that come from the Pacific Ocean. Photo credit: VJ Villafranca/Oxfam

While Oxfam welcomes the approval of the projects, we also look forward to learning more about how LGUs will use the PSF grants to enhance their resiliency and put vulnerable groups, such as women, children, the elderly and people with disabilities in a position where they can grow and thrive despite the uncertainties associated with climate change.

Last month, I re-visited the municipality of Lanuza together with documentary photographer VJ Villafranca to find out more about how the LGU has continued its climate change adaptation program. According to Lanuza’s Municipal Environment and Natural Resources Officer, John Largo, their program follows a “ridge-to-reef ecosystem approach”, which involves looking at mountains and terrestrial forests down to the river systems, going through mangrove areas, and finally ending in the coast lines to come up with an integrated set of strategies to manage natural resources while contributing to poverty reduction, creating sustainable livelihoods, and enhancing climate resilience.

ROOT OF THE ISSUE. Felipa Dagaang, an indigenous Manobo farmer, shows how abaca is manually stripped in their community’s facility in Sitio Himatagan, Barangay Agsam. Photo credit: VJ Villafranca/Oxfam

After my visit, it became clearer why, for low-income, climate-vulnerable municipalities like Lanuza, the PSF is an important mechanism to help them adapt to the harsh realities of climate change, a phenomenon that is greatly affecting them even if they are least responsible for causing it. - Rappler.com

Airah T. Cadiogan is Climate Policy and Campaigns Officer for Oxfam in the Philippines. Follow her on Twitter: @eightyseas.