University of the Philippines Los Baños

The University of the Philippines Los Baños, led by its Climate Change and Disaster Risk Reduction Studies Center with partners German-funding agency GIZ, Economy and Environment Program for Southeast Asia, Asian Development Bank and SEAMEO-SEARCA successfully held the National Symposium on "Learning from Each Other: Building Blocks for Climate-Resilient Local Communities in the Philippines" last 27-28 November 2013 at the Traders Hotel Manila, Pasay City.

The symposium brought together researchers, scientists, local government officials and civil society groups to share appropriate and cost-effective tools and methods as well as success stories and inspiring lessons in the area of climate change adaptation and mitigation.

Nearly 120 participants from all over the country, with about half coming from the local government sector, participated in the symposium composed of plenary talks, parallel sessions, tools orientations/ tutorials and networking activities.

According to Dr. Felino P. Lansigan, Chair of the Symposium Organizing Committee, the symposium was an important activity as “it has been designed to document and later on disseminate innovative tools and experiences of stakeholders from the local communities.”

"We want these wellsprings of lessons available to the concerned sectors, specially the local communities, so that they can learn from them, and possibly employ the tools to become more climate-resilient," Dr. Lansigan explained.

Chancellor Rex Victor O. Cruz of UPLB welcomed the delegates during the first day. Dr. Bernd-Markus Liss, GIZ Principal Advisor to the Support to the Climate Change Commission in Implementing the NCCAP Project, also gave a message of support to the activities.

The keynote of the symposium was delivered by Hon. Maria Leonor Gerona-Robredo, Representative of the 3rd District of Camarines Sur. Congresswoman Robredo talked on the experiences of Naga City and Camarines Sur in general specifically on the challenges and lessons learned while implementing climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction in calamity-prone municipalities in her province.

Vice-Chancellor Dr. Maria Victoria O. Espaldon, who served as activity coordinator said "the symposium aims to strengthen the community of practice in climate change adaptation and mitigation in the country."

"We have 30 papers which will be delivered by experts, researchers and local government units representatives during the 2-day event," she said. Seven local government units already presented their organizational experiences during the first day.

Tutorial sessions on early warning systems, comprehensive land use planning, geographic information systems, and automatic weather stations are part of the scheduled activities.

Naderev M. Saño, Commissioner of the Philippine Climate Change Commission, gave an inspiring closing at the end of the symposium.