GenSan gets serious on climate change adaptation

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews / 24 Oct) – In a bid to strengthen the city’s climate change mitigation and adaptation initiatives, the city council here is pushing for the creation of a technical working group (TWG) that will serve as a local advisory body for vital climate change issues and concerns.

In its 15th regular session on Tuesday, the council passed on second reading a proposed ordinance that sets the creation of the TWG under its committee on climate change adaptation.

City Councilor Elizabeth Bagonoc, the committee’s chairperson, said the TWG will be mainly tasked to identify current and future potential climate change impacts in the city and provide recommendations regarding mitigation and adaptation measures.

The TWG, which will be headed by the chair of the city council’s committee on climate change adaptation, would be composed of officials and representatives from the academe, religious sector, civil society, women, media, youth, the Social Action Center of the Diocese of Marbel and two other non-government organizations, she said.

The official said among its functions is to conduct a review of existing studies, scientific reports and other relevant information to determine the current realistic impact of climate change in the city.

She said it will provide comprehensive and realistic assessment of the current and future vulnerability of the city to the impacts of climate change.

“It will develop the city’s climate change action plan, which shall include climate change adaptation strategy and greenhouse gas emission reduction plan, Bagonoc said.

The TWG is also mandated to conduct research activities and prioritize climate change issues here for use in a planned climate change summit for this city and the neighboring areas.

Bagonoc said the ordinance requires the city government to appropriate funds under its annual or supplemental budgets to support the operation of the TWG.

The official said they pushed for the creation of the TWG in response to the Department of the Interior and Local Government’s Memorandum Circular 2008-69 that encourages all local chief executives to “mainstream climate change adaptation and disaster risks reduction measures into local policies as a priority concern.”

They also took into consideration the Philippine Climate Change Commission’s adoption of the national framework strategy on climate change that “takes cognizance of the high vulnerability of the Philippines to climate change-related hazards including drastic changes in rainfall patterns, more intense tropical cyclones, flooding and increasing temperature.”

Bagonoc said all these factors contribute to serious impacts on the natural ecosystem that then cascade to impacts on food security, water resources human health, public infrastructure, energy and human settlements.

“The national framework strategy highlights the critical aspect of adaption in all levels of governance particularly the local government units in formulating the local adaptation plans and strategy,” she added.