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Gov't buckles down to work on Climate Change action plan — Alvarez

MANILA, Oct. 28 — Various government agencies tasked to produce the country’s national action plan versus the impact of climate change are meeting at the Sunrise Hotel in Alfonso, Cavite for a two-day workshop starting Thursday (Oct. 28 to 29) to synchronize government’s strategic approaches and measures to address the threat of global warming.

The workshop, which is spearheaded by the Climate Change Commission (CCC), aims to coordinate and collaborate the different programs covering the spectrum of climate change, specifically on adaptation and mitigation by our communities.

CCC vice chair Secretary Heherson T. Alvarez explained that the two-day working meeting in Tagaytay City “will level-off expectations and knowledge, putting us all on the same page as we craft the action plan.”

The Commission is specifically tasked to craft the country’s National Climate Change Action Plan (NCCAP), which shall contain the country’s specific courses of action, responses and programs that communities must adopt to address the adverse effects of climate change, based on an approved framework strategy.

Republic Act 9729 or the Climate Change Act of 2009 mandates the Commission to formulate the NCCAP within one year after the completion of the National Framework Strategy on Climate Change (NFSCC).

The NFSCC, which contains the national goal to build the adaptive capacity of communities and increase the resilience of natural ecosystems to climate change, was completed and approved by the Commission last April 28, 2010 in Puerto Princesa City, Palawan.

“Our goal is for everyone to go back to our offices equipped with the right mindset, knowledge, and skills to review and assess existing actions plans and to integrate and incorporate them into sectoral plans that will be practicable and doable for the target local communities to put into action,” Alvarez stressed.

This “Capacity Building and Assessment Workshop” for the Technical Working Groups (TWGs) that will draft the national action plan is attended by various government agencies that shall be the lead implementors of the climate change programs.

The workshop objectives are: (a) to increase the level of awareness and understanding of the TWGs on the basics of climate change; and (b) to simulate, through a planning exercise, the process of assessing proposed individual work plans that will be incorporated in the action plan.

Technical and process specialists will join the workshop to serve as resources persons who will share their knowledge and expertise on climate change and related areas, and on the planning and assessment processes.

The government departments and agencies that are part of the drafting of the national action plan and are attending the workshop include the environment and natural resources, agriculture, health, national defense, social welfare and development, energy, transportation and communication, public works, finance, foreign affairs, science and technology, local government, education and national economic and development authority.

Alvarez said the Commission targets to develop the NCCAP by January 2011, citing the daunting task of the urgent need to build the action plan considering the Philippines’ vulnerability to the impacts of climate changes.

“Our goal is of a Philippines surviving and resilient to climate change, hence, formulating the NCCAP is the important and urgent task at hand,” he stressed.

Under the law, Commission is tasked to undertake strategic approaches and measures to prevent or reduce the country’s greenhouse gas emissions; conduct a comprehensive nation-wide public information and awareness campaign on climate change; develop concrete risk reduction and mitigation measures and adaptation responses; and lead the integration and mainstreaming of climate risk management with development policies, plans and programs of the government.

“With the Philippines’ socio economic status, archipelagic landscape, inclusion on the Pacific Rim of Fire, our country is very vulnerable to climate change – increasing temperature, changes in weather patterns, sea level rise. All our developmental efforts could be reversed by climate change. This is already a matter of survival,” Alvarez exhorts. (PNA)

DCT/rudyma

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