Masterclass Session 3: Using Making Cities Resilient 2030 (MCR2030) tools for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure


Session Annotation:

The session will introduce the MCR2030, a global multi-partner 10-year initiative to reduce urban risks and one key tool of the initiative – the Disaster Resilience Scorecard for Cities, which can support cities to assess the resilience of infrastructure and guide them towards actions they need to take to address gaps and enhance resilience.

Session Overview:

By 2050, two thirds of the world’s population will be living in urban areas. Cities need to be safe spaces where people and businesses prosper and flourish. But cities across the globe are challenged by increasing and accelerated disaster and climate risk. The nature of risk is becoming more complex, with cascading emergencies more frequently devastating service provision by cities and evidence of more systemic impacts of risk such as the COVID19, a health emergency which is impacting other sectors such as transport, utilities, business, and others. The need is to approach risk with a multi-hazard and multi-sector lens. The Making Cities Resilient 2030 (MCR2030) is a multi-partner global initiative aiming to facilitate a structured interaction between cities and the entities which can provide technical skills and products, with the aim to enhance resilience. The MCR2030 aims to help cities understand where they are, where they need to be and how to get there, by following a resilience roadmap. It supports action by pooling tools and products from players with expertise in urban resilience and making them available online. This session will examine the MCR2030 and one key tool which supports resilient infrastructure – the Disaster Resilience Scorecard for Cities.

Learning Objectives:

Participants will understand the MCR2030, its aims and objectives and application of the Scorecard for enhancing urban resilience


Pre-session reading assignments, pre-session exercise, discussion during the session on using the tool and possible applications by the participants.

Session Outcome:

Participants understand the value of the MCR2030 and how to use the Scorecard for enhancing resilience of infrastructure.

Session Speakers:

* Mr. Sanjaya Bhatia, Head of Office UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR) Global Education and Training Institute (GETI)Ms. Mutarika (Mai) Pruksapong, Programme Management Officer, UNDRR
* Ms. Mutarika (Mai) Pruksapong, Programme Management Officer, UNDRR

NRC President joins Sulong Pilipinas Conference

National Resilience Council (NRC) President Antonia Yulo Loyzaga was among the panel of experts from the private sector who joined the first part of Sulong Pilipinas conference on June 15 (Tuesday). The event was a venue for the youth to discuss how the Philippines can advance the agenda on climate change and how the Philippine economy can thrive despite the ongoing global health crisis and the changing weather scenarios.


In her talk, the NRC chief highlighted the scientific research collaboration of the council with its partners from the national government agencies, local government units, private organizations, business sector, science community and academe, as well as civil society organizations and non-government organizations, to mitigate the impact of climate change in the country. She highlighted some of NRC’s collaborative projects which tackles the importance of having science-based evidence to come up with solutions, including frameworks, which will be used for risk and vulnerability reduction. She said climate change assessment is also created in order to understand the different sectoral impacts of climate change related to hazards. She emphasized that knowledge on climate change has to be co-created so as to be able to own the efforts towards climate change adaptation, mitigation, and disaster risk reduction.

#BounceForwardTogether #NationalResilienceCouncil
To rewatch the event, you can click on the Facebook Livestream links below:

NRC conducts Certificate Course on Deepening Systems Thinking (DST)

Here’s to a more resilient Philippines–just recently, the National Resilience Council (NRC) and Ateneo de Manila University (ADMU) worked together to conduct the Certificate Course on Deepening Systems Thinking (DST) for a Resilient Local Government System. Targeting participants from local government units and offices, the course ran from June 4, 8-11 and 23, 2021 via Zoom. This course is most integral to the capacity building interventions in the Year 2, Adapt Phase of the Resilient Local Government Unit Program of the National Resilience Council.

Through the effort of developing and implementing this certificate course and with the support of distinguished speakers, LGUs are now closer to achieving a more proactive, risk-informed and resilience driven approach in decision making and policy and strategy formulation at the local level. The 4-day course was graced by notable resiliency experts across both public and pricate sectors such as Mr. Sanjaya Bhatia (UNDRR), Dr. Carlos Primo David (UP and Climate Change Commission), Mr. Albert Magalang (DENR), Atty. Anjanette Saguisag (UNICEF), Ms. Grace Magno (SM Supermalls), Fr. Jose Ramon Villarin, S.J. (AdMU), Mr. Austere Panadero (Zuellig), and Ms. Ana Thourlund (UNDRR), among many others. Local Chief Executives of participating LGUs were present as well, showing their thorough commitment to realizing resilient communities across their cities.

On the last day of the course, each of the seven (7) participating LGUs were given the opportunity to present outlined illustrations of their Programs, Plans and Activities (PPAs) in preparation for their local Annual Investment Program (AIP). The presentations bore out of the different learnings from the sessions, utilizing the systems lens that aims to help participants understand the nature and implications of the critical issues they have identified earlier in the program.

Combining a multi-disciplinary approach with the specializations of program and course directors that are known experts in the field of resilience leadership and governance, participants are now armed and ready with the awareness and knowledge on tools for evidence-based risk reduction, adaptive and transformative planning and development, and multi-stakeholder engagement, eventually hoping to encourage participants to take part in the bigger picture– UNDRR’s Making Cities More Resilient campaign.

To learn more about NRC’s resiliency programs, visit: Article: “Valuing resilience after the pandemic” by: Carl Folke

STOCKHOLM — If the COVID-19 pandemic has taught the world one thing, it is the high price we pay—in lost lives, damaged economies, and wasted human potential — when we undervalue resilience. By applying this lesson, we can bolster our ability to weather future shocks.

Over the last few centuries, societies have found a simple formula for progress and prosperity: economic growth. A steady increase in output and productivity is seemingly the panacea for all troubles, including food insecurity, poverty, and disease. But have we now reached a point where the strategy of growth is becoming a trap, generating new problems on an ever-larger scale?

It appears so. In a recent report published in advance of this month’s first-ever Nobel Prize Summit, “Our Planet, Our Future,” my colleagues and I argue that the world’s failure to value social and ecological resilience means that shocks this century will hit harder, be more disruptive, and have longer-lasting effects over centuries and even millennia. But we can build social resilience by promoting equality, trust, and collaboration, and ecological resilience by valuing diversity and complexity over efficiency and simplicity.

The pandemic has cruelly highlighted the risks of ignoring resilience. Our economies have become so mutually dependent that the fate of one rests on the performance of others half a world away. Our cities, usually hives of industry and innovation, have become disease hotspots. Our transport systems are perfectly designed for shuttling pathogens around the planet. And some of our main communication networks prioritize lies and misinformation over truth, making it difficult to distinguish fact from fiction.

Extreme levels of inequality reduce societal resilience, often in obvious ways. Poorer countries, with fewer hospitals, less research power, and weaker governance, have less capacity to manage the pandemic. In wealthy societies, poorer people are often the most vulnerable, because their risk factors are greater. They are exposed to higher air pollution, are more likely to suffer from obesity, and live in more crowded conditions than the wealthy. The pandemic has thus hit them harder and spread among them faster.

But economic inequality can also erode resilience in other ways. Trust in governments tends to be lower in more unequal societies, partly because poorer citizens think politicians mainly serve the interests of elites. This can encourage the rise of populist leaders, and makes it difficult to pursue long-term policies affecting all citizens within and across societies.

All of this is challenging enough. But, in our report, we conclude that by far the biggest likely shocks this century stem from our toxic relationship with nature. The biosphere — the zone close to the Earth’s surface where life thrives — is at least 3.5 billion years old. But in a single lifetime, largely since the 1950s, humanity has systematically reduced the resilience of its own home, resulting in climate change and biodiversity loss.

We are facing a perfect storm. Our survival on Earth will require us to rethink our approach to valuing the resilience of our global civilization, starting with acknowledging that it is embedded within and dependent on the biosphere. Simply put, we must start collaborating with the planet on which we live. We cannot calculate the value of the Amazon rainforest in the same way we value the company of the same name. Likewise, the stability of ocean circulation or Antarctica — both of which are showing signs of fragility — cannot be priced in the same way as consumer goods. We also need to value cohesive societies, inclusiveness, collaboration, and trust.

The COVID-19 pandemic is a transformative moment for societies. We know we need to halve greenhouse-gas emissions by 2030. We know a Fourth Industrial Revolution has begun. And we have known since the 2008 global financial crisis that returning to business as usual is not the way to build a prosperous and sustainable future.

We must now transform our economies to prioritize diversity and resilience over simplicity and efficiency. This means, first and foremost, moving beyond facile and destructive growth strategies that are disconnected from the planet we call home. Instead, governments must redirect economic dynamism toward ensuring resilience for both humans and their natural environment. Ultimately, valuing resilience means valuing our future.


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Taal Volcano 2020 Eruption Update

Taal Volcano 2020 Eruption Impact on Air Quality Part I: Satellite Retrievals and Ground-based, Vertically-resolved Measurements

Original post from Manila Observatory:

Summary (as of 13 January 2020):

  1. Emissions from Taal Volcano rapidly spread northward, hitting major population centers within an hour of the initial eruption.
  2. High-altitude winds were largely responsible for transporting volcanic emissions northward. HSRL measurements from Manila Observatory show that most of the pollution was transported above 12 km.
  3. Comparison of integrated aerosol optical depth over the Manila Observatory before, during, and after the ashfall shows current conditions are back to typical range.
  4. Satellite retrievals show reduced emissions and plume dispersion across Luzon early morning, 13 January 2020.

At around 3:00 p.m. (0700Z) 12 January 2020, Taal Volcano in Batangas erupted, releasing large amounts of particles and gases into our atmosphere. In the following hours, the volcano continued to spew ash as the initial plume was transported northward by prevailing winds, as shown in Figure 1 . Even from space, the transport of the emissions could clearly be seen moving quickly, reaching Metro Manila between 4:00 and 5:00 p.m. (0800-0900Z) shown in Figure 2 , and spreading past Batanes by 11:00 p.m. (1500Z).

It is well-known that volcanic eruptions threaten nearby areas through lava or lahar, but less-known are the impacts of such eruptions on our air quality. Volcanic ash and dust are emitted in the eruptions and dispersed throughout our atmosphere. These are types of natural aerosols, which are solid particulates or liquid droplets suspended in the air. Some aerosols are fine enough to be inhaled and have negative effects on human health. Hazardous gases such as sulfur dioxide (SO2) and greenhouse gases (GHG) are also released [2].The Taal ashfall particles are noticeably quite different than the Pinatubo ashfall in terms of size, shape, texture. They are larger, more uncrystallized (amorphous), and more rough when pulverized. The presence and abundance of water in the Taal region has allowed magma to cool and solidify much faster than in a terrestrial eruption, much like Pinatubo’s. Nonetheless, volcanic ash, of whichever type or source, is a conglomeration of small particles of jagged glass, rocks, minerals that is hazardous to us when ingested through the respiratory system.

Most of the pollutants from the Taal eruption on 12 January were transported at high altitudes. A steam-and-ash plume was detected as high as 16.5 km above ground level by Tokyo Volcanic Ash Advisory Center [3]. Termed a phreatic eruption, the event was driven by building pressure from steam, heated by magma [4]. An injection with considerable vertical exit velocity and particle buoyancy associated with the high temperatures of volcanic emissions transported associated particles and gases towards higher altitudes [5]. Although low-altitude winds were stagnant during the time of eruption, the rapid vertical transport of volcanic emissions allowed for horizontal transport by high-altitude winds northward into high population areas ( Figures 1, 3 ), reaching as far as the North Luzon coast by 8:00 p.m. that night (1200Z).

Ashfall has been reported in many locations, including areas in Batangas, Tagaytay, Laguna, Cavite, Bulacan, and Metro Manila. PHIVOLCS has issued an ashfall advisory for CALABARZON, Metro Manila, and Central Luzon [6]. The general public is advised to stay indoors, especially the elderly, children, and people with respiratory problems such as asthma. The Department of Health (DOH) has warned the public on the dangers of ashfall which include bronchitis-like illness, coughing, and nose-and-throat irritation [7]. They suggest that N95 grade face masks should be used when possible, especially by those who are exposed to the ashfall, and motorists should drive with extreme caution due to low visibility and slippery roads.

Instruments at the Manila Observatory (location relative to Taal shown in Figures 2 and 3 ) support the reports of ashfall reaching the Metro late last night, and can help to assess current conditions as well.

The High Spectral Resolution Lidar (HSRL) measures how much light from a laser is reflected back towards the ground (called the backscatter). This can be used to determine the presence of clouds and aerosols, with higher backscatter generally meaning a higher concentration of aerosols (depending on the shape and radius of the aerosols as well). Figure 4 shows low backscatter in the time period before the eruption (the blue color on the left of the graph, around 2:30 p.m. local time; 0630Z). Rapidly, within an hour after the eruption starting from 4:00 p.m. (0800Z), larger backscatter values (i.e. higher amounts of aerosols) are observed at high altitudes around 10- 12 km as the polluted air mass was transported from Taal to Metro Manila. The top of the ash plume can not be measured by the HSRL which loses signal above 12 km due to high concentration of the ash. This supports the hypothesis of high-altitude transport as the main mechanism behind the rapid spread of Taal’s emissions. As the evening went on, the air mass began to descend until it reached the ground at 6:00 p.m. (1000Z), the same time that ashfall in Metro Manila was reported. The ash plume is still present after 13:00Z however the HSRL becomes blocked by water clouds starting near 1300Z (9:00 pm).

Aerosol optical depth or AOD is a measure of how much sunlight is prevented from reaching the ground due to aerosols and a marker of aerosol concentration. A higher AOD means that conditions are hazier. Figure 5 shows that total AOD from surface to 10km (which can be read as the AOD value at the top-most altitude) before the ashfall (8:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m., 12 January 2020; 0000Z-0400Z) was around 0.36, which is somewhat polluted but typical for Metro Manila. Over a four-hour period during the peak of the ashfall in Quezon City (8:00 p.m. to 12:00 a.m., 12 January 2020; 1200Z-1600Z), AOD reached over four times that value (~1.66), signifying extremely hazy conditions.

More recent measurements (8:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m., 13 January 2020; 0000Z-0400Z) show that AOD values have returned to normal (~0.34) over the Manila Observatory. Based on the latest satellite images, emissions from the volcano have decreased and prevailing winds are advecting residual emissions in the northeast direction (Figure 6).

As Taal Volcano continues to be at Alert Level 4 (hazardous eruption imminent), people in affected locations are advised to take necessary precautions and stay calm. In the days to come, the Manila Observatory will continue to monitor atmospheric conditions and air quality levels in order to better assess the level of danger posed to the general public.

By Gabrielle Frances Leung¹, Miguel Ricardo Hilario¹, Grace Betito¹, Paola Angela Bañaga¹, Xzann Gary Vincent Topacio¹, Zenn Marie Cainglet¹ ³, Shane Marie Visaga² ³, Imee Delos Reyes¹ ³, Lyndon Mark Olaguera² ³, Julie Mae Dado² ³, Faye Cruz²,
Joel Maquiling³, Maria Obiminda Cambaliza¹ ³, James Bernard Simpas¹ ³, Gemma Teresa Narisma² ³, Robert Holz⁴, Ralph Kuehn⁴, and Edwin Eloranta⁴
¹ Air Quality Dynamics Laboratory, Manila Observatory, Philippines ; ² Regional Climate Systems Laboratory, Manila Observatory, Philippines; ³ Department of Physics, Ateneo de Manila University, Philippines; ⁴ Space Sciences Engineering Center, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madiscon, Wisconsin, USA

Acknowledgments: We acknowledge the use of AHI data from the Japanese Meteorological Agency (JMA), imagery from the University of Wisconsin Madison Space Science and Engineering Center (SSEC) and U.S. Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) as part of the NASA CAMP2Ex ( Cloud, Aerosol and Monsoon Processes Philippines Experiment) and the Cooperative Institute for Research in the Atmosphere (CIRA), and the NASA Worldview application team as part of the NASA Earth Observing System Data and Information System (EOSDIS). We also acknowledge that the University of Wisconsin High Spectral Resolution Lidar (HSRL) which is deployed at the Manila Observatory to support CAMP2Ex, and Dr. Jeffrey Reid of NRL for his invaluable comments and input.

References[1] Cloud Top Height Determination From 10.7 um Imagery, [online] Available from: (Accessed 13 January 2020).[2] How Volcanoes Influence Climate | UCAR Center for Science Education, [online] Available from: (Accessed 13 January 2020).[3] Taal volcano (Luzon, Philippines) activity update: Significant eruption, first in 43 years, Alert Level raised to 4, [online] Available from: (Accessed 13 January 2020).[4] Garcia, M.A. What is a phraetic eruption?, GMA News [online]. Available from: (Accessed 13 January 2020).[5] Eckhardt, S., Prata, A. J., Seibert, P., Stebel, K. and Stohl, A.: Estimation of the vertical prole of sulfur dioxide injection into the atmosphere by a volcanic eruption using satellite column measurements and inverse transport modeling, Atmos. Chem. Phys., 17, 2008. [6] DOST-PHIVOLCS: Volcano Bulletin, [online] Available from: (Accessed 13 January 2020).[7] Viray, P. L.: DOH cautions public on health effects of Taal ashfall, [online] Available from: (Accessed 13 January 2020).

Tackling disaster resiliency for businesses

On November 21, National Resilience Council (NRC) President Antonia Yulo Loyzaga and SM Prime and NRC Disaster Risk Reduction and Resilience Consultant VADM Alexander Pama appeared on CNN Philippines’ On the Record to discuss how businesses can prepare for and bounce forward from disasters.

Video courtesy of CNN Philippines