For resilience: NRC partners attend first phase of climate and disaster risk assessment course

From 8-12 October 2018, the National Resilience Council’s (NRC) eight partner local government units (LGUs) and six partner academic institutions participated in the 1st phase of the Climate and Disaster Risk Assessment (CDRA) Certificate Course for the NRC Resilient LGU Program.

Held at the Manila Observatory (MO) in Quezon City, the 5-day event aimed to guide LGUs in establishing baselines and targets through resilience scorecards, while allowing stakeholders to create resilience road maps from prepare, adapt and transform stages. With risk governance in mind, these stages encompass identified pillars and sub-pillars of human development, local economy, infrastructure, environmental sustainability and human security.

NRC LGU and academic partners with members of the National Resilience Council and Manila Observatory, including: NRC Executive Director Ms. Malu Erni; MO Executive Director Dr. Gemma Narisma; Geomatics for Environment and Development Laboratory Head and overall CDRA Training Coordinator Dr. May Celine Vicente; Christian Aid Climate Change Advisor for Asia and the Middle East Ms. Jessica Bercilla; NRC Program Manager Ms. Marilou Suplido; SM Supermalls Corporate Compliance Manager Ms. Simonette Lat; and Ateneo de Manila University lecturer and Coastal Cities at Risk (CCAR) in the Philippines: Trans-Disciplinal Action Research Project Manager Dr. Noralene Uy. (Not in photo: CCAR in the Philippines: Trans-Disciplinal Action Research Project Leader and MO Senior Research Fellow Dr. Emma Porio; MO Senior Research Fellow Dr. Rosa Perez; MO Regional Climate Systems Laboratory Head Dr. Faye Cruz; and ADMU Environmental Science Department Lecturer Mr. Raymond Rodolfo)

It was also designed to build among the NRC partners an understanding of the tools used towards disaster resilience, to capacitate them in conducting comprehensive assessments that cut across several factors of climate and disaster risks and integrate the physical and social variables in analyzing hazards, exposures, vulnerabilities and risk indexing (HEVRI). This capacity is essential in enabling their LGUs to accomplish their Scorecard for Resilient Local Government Systems.

There were two types of participants from NRC’s LGU and academic partners. From the LGUs, these were the Focal Person, Disaster Risk Reduction and Management (DRRM) Officer, the Pillar Champions and the designated technical staff. Focal Persons for Leadership and Governance and Science & Technology, on the other hand,represented the academic partners.

The 1st phase of the certificate course started with a 2-day orientation introducing CDRA as a comprehensive analysis that integrates complex and dynamic data—which makes use of space-based methods such as remote sensing and geographic information systems (RS-GIS)—with social variables for a holistic approach to risk assessments. The orientation, attended by all of the participants, consisted of introductory lectures on CDRA, the different tools for analysis and the importance of social dimensions to risk assessments.

CCAR in the Philippines: Trans-Disciplinal Action Research Project Leader and MO Senior Research Fellow Dr. Emma Porio discussing the social dimensions of risk and resilience.

This was followed by a 3-day workshop—which only involved the LGUs’ designated technical staff and the academic partners’ Science and Technology Focal Persons—on the application of CDRA where MO research staff guided the participants in using the GIS tools for integrated risk mapping.

By the end of the event, the participants produced their own risk maps and started their CDRA proposals. Overall, the participants found the training useful as the activities complemented and helped them improve their knowledge and skills.To complete the certificate course on CDRA, participants would also undergo two more phases: coaching and mentoring; and production of their own integrated risk maps.

MO Research Staff John Edward Perez assisting NRC partners in using QGIS.

The CDRA training for the certificate course is an initiative of NRC, a science and technology-based evidence-informed public-private partnership capacitating the local government in disaster resilience, in partnership with MO, a Jesuit scientific institution focused on advancing its mission in environmental and pre-disaster science, and Ateneo de Manila University (ADMU), a private Jesuit research university.

LGUs in attendance were Bataan Province, Cagayan de Oro City, Iloilo City, Iriga City, Naga City, Ormoc City and Zamboanga City. Meanwhile, the academic institutions were: Ateneo de Naga University; Ateneo de Zamboanga University; Bataan Peninsula State University; University of the Philippines Visayas; Visayas State University; and Xavier University.

Photos courtesy of the Manila Observatory.

Highlighting resiliency: Zamboanga City a case study at 2018 Singapore conference

Talking about disasters, risks and resilience have become urgent in recent years. Different sectors are now compelled to take on their respective roles in preparing for and preventing disasters that may lie ahead anywhere in the world. At the recent Asia Risk and Resilience Conference that took place in Singapore from 29-31 August, Zamboanga City Administrator and concurrent Local Economic Investment Promotions Officer, Ms. Marie Angelique Go, shared Zamboanga City’s ongoing journey towards resilient local government systems in local economy.

This event organized by the Business Continuity Planning Asia Pte Ltd(BCP Asia), the International Association of Emergency Managers (IAEM) and Risk and Insurance Management Association of Singapore (RIMAS) served as a platform for discussions on disaster risk and corporate governance.

Ms. Marie Angelique Go presenting on Zamboanga City’s disaster resilience efforts.

In a session on building resilience in the private sector, Go presented the experience of Zamboanga City as a case study for the local government. With its ongoing partnership with the National Resilience Council (NRC), a science and technology-based evidence-informed public-private partnership (PPP) promoting disaster resilience, the city is building the resilience of its local government systems through the NRC Resilience Scorecard. This move is critical after the city experienced a humanitarian crisis in 2013. It is likewise an important input and reference for the Zamboanga City Roadmap to Recovery and Reconstruction (Z3R).

Go then emphasized how it was imperative for the government to work on their resilience of its economic activities by linking small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to large businesses. She explained that Local Economy is oneof the critical pillars of the NRC Scorecard for resilient local government systems. The NRC Scorecard therefore serves as a guide for the City on how to assess and monitor its DRRM programs and overall disaster resilience in relation to its business sector.

ARRC participants gather for a group photo.

Zamboanga City is one of eight LGUs participating in NRC’s three-year Resilient LGU program. Other partners include Bataan Province, Cagayan de Oro City, Iloilo City, Iriga City, Naga City, Ormoc City and Valenzuela City. NRC is guiding these LGUs in accomplishing their comprehensive and localized Resilience Scorecard in order to be considered prepared, adapted and transformed in the context of disaster resilience.

Photos courtesy of iPrepare Business Facility at Asian Disaster Preparedness Center (ADPC).

NRC launches scorecard at LGA resilience forum

On 23 August 2018, the National Resilience Council (NRC)—a science and technology-based, evidence-informed public-private partnership (PPP) promoting disaster resilience in the Philippines—launched its first version of the Resilient Local Government Systems Scorecard at the Resilience Marketplace for Innovation Forum (#ResiliencePH) held at the SMX Convention Center in Pasay City.

UNISDR SRSG Mami Mizutori (leftmost) receives the NRC Resilient Local Government Systems Scorecard from NRC President Ms. Antonia Yulo Loyzaga (second from left) and NRC Chairman for Private Sector Mr. Hans Sy (second from right).

Organized by the Local Government Academy (LGA) of the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), the Forum gathered a crowd of nearly a thousand made up of local chief executives, members of Local Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Offices (LDRRMOs) nationwide and representatives of different stakeholder groups.

UNISDR SRSG Mami Mizutori visits the NRC booth at the Resilience Marketplace for Innovation Forum.

The NRC Scorecard is described by NRC President Ms. Antonia Yulo Loyzaga as a set of localized metrics used in combination with a 3-year Resiliency Leadership Program for LGUs and their internal and external stakeholders. “While it was intensively vetted by a combination of over 600 individuals from national government agencies, LGUs, the private sector and academe, it is a live document and will continue to be refined as we do a deep dive into the risk profiles of each local government partner.”

NRC Executive Director Ms. Malu Erni delivers a presentation on the organization.

NRC Executive Director Ms. Malu Erni, meanwhile,introduced the organization and presented its work with the local government.Currently, NRC is working with eight LGUs: Bataan Province; Cagayan de Oro City; Iloilo City; Iriga City; Naga City; Ormoc City; Valenzuela City; and Zamboanga City. Under NRC’s Resilient LGU Program, LGUs are guided in their implementation and accomplishment of their Resilient Local Government Systems Scorecards. The Scorecard is composed of five pillars: Leadership and Governance; Human Development; Local Economy; Infrastructure; and Environment.The Program has a 3-year runway based on the 3 critical thematic areas that NRC deems essential to achieve resilience namely: Prepare, Adapt and Transform.

SRSG Mami Mizutori delivers a special message on behalf of the United Nations Office for Disaster Reduction (UNISDR).

NRC’s work is duly recognized by the new Special Representative of the United Nations(UN) Secretary-General (SRSG) for Disaster Risk Reduction, Mami Mizutori, who was the guest of honor at the Forum. Along with the UNISDR-led Private Sector Alliance for Disaster Resilient Societies-Philippines (ARISE Philippines), she described NRC as a “shining example of PPP of Public-Private Partnership that deserves to be replicated in other countries.”

Photos courtesy of the Local Government Academy.

NRC partners attend international workshop on climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction

From July 31 to August 3, around 38 representatives from 19 countries gathered at Jeju-do, South Korea for the four-day training-workshop on “Developing Capacities on Climate Change Adaptation and Disaster Risk Reduction in Asia-Pacific Region.”

The workshop was organized by the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) affiliated International Training Centre for Authorities in Leaders in Jeju (CIFAL Jeju) in collaboration with the United Nations Office for Disaster Reduction Office for Northeast Asia and Global Education Training Institute (UNISDR ONEA-GETI), United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UNDESA) and the United Nations Project Office on Governance (UNPOG).

Col. Mario Verner Monsanto exchanging insights with workshop facilitator Ms. Ana Thorlund of UNISDR.

The event was a forum for knowledge sharing, as well as learning sessions on developing local disaster risk reduction plans and applying tools for Making Cities Resilient Campaign.

Two of the five representatives from the Philippines were from NRC LGU Partners namely Cagayan de Oro City Disaster and Risk Reduction Management Officer (CDRRMO) Col. Mario Verner Monsanto and Zamboanga City CDRRM Officer Dr. Elmeir Antonio.

Dr. Apolinario found the workshop helpful, especially “The small group discussions and information exchanges—formal and informal—among participants.”

Regarding lessons from the workshop that will greatly benefit his city, Monsanto chose the formulation of scorecards for each of the 10 Essentials of Making Cities Resilient of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction.

“These scorecards are complimentary to the NRC Resilient Local Government Systems Scorecard as it can be used to assess the resilience of each and every barangay,” Monsanto elaborated. “The resilience of my city is only as strong as the weakest barangay that compose my city.”

Dr. Antonio also saw its importance as it is critical for cities to integrate it to the overall disaster risk reduction planning process and mainstream it into urban development planning and design.

Col. Mario Verner Monsanto sharing the resilience journey of Cagayan de Oro City.

Monsanto was happy to note that workshop facilitators and fellow representatives lauded the Philippines for its efforts in disaster risk reduction. Dr. Apolinario pointed out that being disaster-prone compels the Philippines to do all it can to reduce and manage disaster, mentioning national efforts in policy making such as the Climate Change Act of 2009 and the Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Act of 2010. The local government, on the other hand,has pushed for setting up Local Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Offices (LDRRMOs) that can directly work with national agencies.

Workshop participants during the welcome dinner.

Despite all the work the government has been putting into DRR, both Monsanto and Dr. Apolinario acknowledge there is still a lot to be done. To name a few, Dr. Apolinario mentioned stronger infrastructure, well-coordinated Early Warning Systems (EWS) that come with communication protocol for the stakeholders involved, intensified Information,Education, and Communication (IEC) campaigns for the communities and comprehensive plans for proper environment and natural resources management.

Dr. Elmeir Apolinario at the closing ceremony.

Monsanto also emphasized that DRR is not the job of the government and its partners alone. “The general public has to be involved. [They have] to be drawn in. And this can be attained if they are informed and empowered.”

Cagayan de Oro City and Zamboanga City are among the local government partners of the National Resilience Council (NRC)—a science and technology-based evidence-informed public-private partnership capacitating the local government in disaster resilience—for the Resilient LGU Program, a three-year initiative that involves creating and implementing a Resilience Scorecard for a prepared, adapted and transformed LGU.

Special thanks to the following for providing their insights:

Cagayan de Oro City Disaster and Risk Reduction Management Officer (CDRRMO) Col. Mario Verner Monsanto; and Zamboanga City CDRRM Officer Dr. Elmeir Antonio.

Photos courtesy of Col. Mario Verner Monsanto and Dr. Elmeir Apolinario