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DA sets climate change adaptation projects

MANILA, Philippines - The Department of Agriculture (DA) has teamed up with Spain and the United Nations in an $8 million (roughly P368 million) pilot projects to enable the most vulnerable regions in the country to cope with the destructive impact of climate change.

This was announced by DA Undersecretary for Operations Jess Paras after he presided over the finalization of the demonstration project plan for the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR) whose fragile ecosystem was seen to be the most vulnerable in the country.

The other showcase areas for coping with climate change were: the Bicol region, vulnerable for volcanic eruptions and typhoons, and Agusan del Norte identified as most vulnerable to climate-change induced drought in Mindanao, Paras said.

Metro Manila was included in the demonstration project for disease surveillance together with the province of Albay also in the Bicol region.

In the Cordilleras, the UN-Spain-RP funded project was meant to enable communities in contiguous fragile ecosystems to be ready to cope with climate change triggered disasters. Villages in that mountainous region have become the center of landslides that have resulted in hundreds of deaths whenever typhoons or strong monsoon rains hit Luzon.

Paras said lessons learned from the demonstration projects were meant to be replicated in the whole of the country as it incorporates climate-change mitigation and adaptation programs in its development planning process.

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To be tested are innovative adaptation measures and technologies for agriculture and watershed management including biodiversity conservation.

To do this, the project implementers are organizing regional and local structures for inter-agency participation in making the climate-change adaptation programs sustainable over the long term, Paras explained.

“The back-to-back typhoons that hit Luzon in the past weeks had taught us the bitter lesson that when a region is hit by a major disaster, victims had to depend on themselves and their neighbors in the first day that that calamity hit them,” Paras said.

In the face of this harsh reality, those communities must be well prepared to help each other to prevent heavy tolls on lives, crops and properties, the DA official said.

The DA was chosen by the United Nation’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) as lead agency in putting in place the demonstration projects because the food sector was identified as the most vulnerable segment of the Philippine economy to climate changes and the destruction they bring.

Global warming and the sudden changes in climate and weather patterns across the globe have hit hardest tropical countries like the Philippines. The highly developed countries, however, were the chief contributors to the problem.

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