Filipinos should use technology-driven solutions to address environmental threats.
A panel of experts also said environmental threats present Filipinos with the opportunity to plan and use technology-driven solutions, and foster multi-stakeholder collaboration to get people out of harm’s way and introduce a shift to a green and sustainable way of living.
The experts gathered at Session 3 of Stratbase ADR Institute’s Pilipinas Conference 2021: Sustaining Cooperation for a Green and Sustainable Recovery. The forum was held online on Wednesday.
In his keynote speech. Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Governor, Secretary Benjamin Diokno underscored the need for banks to have a clear and comprehensive understanding of environmental and social risks and their impact on their operation and business viability before they can heed the call for action on the environment.
“As part of our effort to go green, the BSP remains committed to the following: guide the financial system and promote a conducive backdrop for sustainable finance to flourish; raise awareness and build capacity; enable a regulatory environment through policy issuances; engage all stakeholders as we recognize that the environmental and social risks are not just business risks, but risks that affect everyone and the future generations to come; and lastly, navigate the path towards a post-COVID-19 economy and Philippine financial system that is more stable, resilient, and inclusive,” he said.
Dr. Mahar Lagmay, director of the University of the Philippines –Nationwide Operational Assessment of Hazards (UP-NOAH) Center in his presentation said, “Disasters are just manifestations of unresolved problems of development.”
“We need to be smart. We must incorporate scientific knowledge and the use of technology to be able to visualize these scenarios and mainstream them into the planning process of communities.”
He also said that to be able to adapt to climate change, we must beable to change our life – specifically, to find alternatives to the traditional way of making engines run.
Renato Redentor Constantino, executive director of the Institute for Climate & Sustainable Cities (ICSC) said climate change should drive us to pump prime the economy.
“If we are to face dire risks squarely, we must upgrade everything, not just the power sector, but upgrade urban services to logistics, food supply, and supply chains, including transport infrastructure that should be designed to move people instead of cars,” he said.
He warned that Filipinos cannot afford to tackle climate change with a narrow approach, and that any emissions reduction strategy must be part of a larger transition strategy focused on achieving sustainable inclusive and resilient economic development.
Dr. Carlos Primo David, trustee and program Convenor of Stratbase ADR Institute and Convenor of the Philippine Business for Environmental Stewardship (PBEST), warned that climate change will occasion drier dry seasons and wetter wet seasons. This means large parts of the archipelago will be more prone to extremes: droughts on the one hand, and flooding on the other.
He proposed a strategic approach to the use and development of farms given the area, the weather, and the type of crops, with smallholder farms working in tandem with industrial scale farms. He also wants to revive the agriculture sector through farm schools to train the next generation of farmers and agri-entrepreneurs.
Rene Meily, President of the Philippine Disaster Resilience Foundation (PDRF), said they were relying on technology to build disaster resilience – partnering, for instance, with an Israeli company for at least four early earthquake warning devices in Batangas province, and with the USAID for its Climate Resilient Cities Project.
Guillermo Luz, chairperson of Liveable Cities Philippines, emphasized that open spaces are not just a luxury but an important aspect of resilience, disaster risk reduction, and disaster response.
“Urbanization brings with it a lot of benefits but also carries with it a lot of weight of environmental impact,” he said.
Environment Undersecretary Analiza Teh identified green growth opportunities in clean energy transition, circular economy models, sustainable urban development and transport models, productive and regenerative agriculture, and healthy and productive oceans.
“We propose that we adopt nature-based solutions which can actually provide 37% of the emission reduction needed by 2030 to keep global temperature increases under 2 degrees Celsius,” Usec Teh said.
Stratbase ADRi President Professor Dindo Manhit said climate change cannot be addressed on a stand-alone basis. “Economies need to have a unified climate action, environmental stewardship, and a green economic post-recovery program,” he said.