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Science and Environment

IRRI, SEARCA draft climate change policies

Rudy Fernandez - The Philippine Star

LOS BAÑOS, Laguna, Philippines – Two Philippine-based international institutions have agreed to implement a joint project focusing on climate change policies.

A letter of agreement for the implementation of the project was signed recently by the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) and the Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (SEARCA).

Signatories to the LOA were SEARCA director Gil Saguiguit Jr. and IRRI director for external affairs Carinta Quijano-Guerta.

The project is titled “National Action Plans for Mitigation in Rice: Comparative Assessment of Institutional Field Testing and Possible Entry Points for Intervention in the Philippines and Vietnam.”

IRRI climate change specialist Bjoern Ole Sander represents his institute in the project while SEARCA R&D head Bessie Burgos represents her center.

Both IRRI and SEARCA are hosted by the Philippine government in the University of the Philippines-Los Baños (UPLB) campus here.

Established in 1960, IRRI has evolved into the world’s main rice research institution.

SEARCA, which is observing its 50th anniversary this year, is one of 21 regional centers of the Southeast Asian Ministers of Education Organization.

In undertaking the project, IRRI and SEARCA noted that the Philippines and Vietnam have different policies, plans and strategies to mitigate the effects of climate change through intervention in the agriculture sector.

Last December, both countries submitted their Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs) to the United Nations Framework of Convention on Climate Change within the Framework of the Conference of the Parties in Paris, France.

 The INDCs outline what climate change action the countries intend to take.

“In the coming years,” SEARCA and IRRI projected, “the big challenges will be to translate these national commitments as well as other national action plans for mitigation to action at local level.”

Within the project, they will analyze the institutional capacities of Vietnam and the Philippines with respect to effectively implementing national and local climate change policies focusing on the rice sub-sector.

“The objective of this study is to identify possible bottlenecks in the implementation process and entry points for international institutions to support implementation of national mitigation plans in the rice sub-sector,” they said.

They added: “we intend to highlight the stakeholders and their roles as well as recommendations on how to involve them to successfully reduce the carbon footprint of rice production in the two countries.”

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