Checklist Developed to Help Barangays Collect DRM Data
Philippine law requires that the barangay government create a committee in their jurisdiction for disaster risk management, but implementing the law has been nil due to lack of information.
To help solve this problem, Silliman University has recommended the use of a “template” that could serve as a checklist for identifying basic resource and environmental data that barangay people may generate themselves to draw up a practical plan for climate change adaptation and mitigation.
The suggested instrument was discussed in a paper for a national statistics conference, written by Silliman University President, Dr. Ben S. Malayang III and Asst. Prof. Roy Olsen D. de Leon of the Biology Department.
Drawing from earlier studies, as well as Silliman’s own experience in resource surveys, the authors suggest a “template for a climate change vulnerability assessment at the barangay level, with stakeholders providing the needed information.”
The template was developed after Asst. Prof. De Leon and fellow researcher Mr. Mark Sienes, post-graduate student at the Institute of Environmental and Marine Sciences, interviewed heads of government agencies at the municipal level, barangay officials and some members of the community, asking them about their experience with climate change and what they did to adapt to the problem. They also did actual inspection and measurements in the area for verification.
The authors said this “participatory governance” in climate change management is important to enhance the people’s learning capability and provide a connection between them and higher levels of governance who would ultimately support them “for mutual learning and adaptation.”
They suggested that the assessment include an analysis of “risk, exposure, sensitivity, adaptation and vulnerability.”
“Risk” is based on exposure and sensitivity of an area to the effects of climate change, such as sea level rise, increase in sea surface temperature, increase in magnitude of weather disturbances, and increase in incidence of climate change-associated diseases, such as dengue and leptospirosis.
“Exposure” is the extent to which the barangay was previously or currently subjected to the impacts of climate change and “sensitivity” refers to the geographical features of the barangay that is prone to the effects of climate change.
“Adaptation” is a function of knowledge, attitude and adaptive practices of the barangay related to the pre-determined impacts of climate change, they said.
The authors said an adaptation strategy should have eight essential elements:
- Responsibility for development of strategy
- Risk management plans
- Linking with other planning processes
- Education and communication
- Legislation and enforcement
- Information and good science
- Financing adaptation
- Support networks
They also looked at the following variables in assessing adaptation:
- Risk perception and awareness of barangay officials and the community and their willingness to spend resources to cushion effects of climate change,
- Official leadership to encourage and influence the community to adapt,
- Accessible early warning systems and information distribution systems to prepare for disaster and prevent loss of lives,
- Legal basis for implementing government policy and programs, and legal authority to enforce restrictions and conditions in coastal and upland development,
- Protective measures such as mangrove planting, sea wall construction and strengthening,
- Coastal and upland zone management plan to include risk reduction in high risk areas,
- Funding for adaptive capacity and implements.
As the risk from climate change continues to rise, the barangay’s vulnerability assessment should be periodically updated and adaptation strategies improved to keep up with the risk.
The next step is to communicate these suggestions to the barangays and help them begin the task of organizing practical data for better disaster risk management. (Celia E. Acedo, SU Renews)
Photo credits: Greg Morales