Several demonstration projects now being implemented by local government units (LGUs) in the Upper Marikina River Basin Protected Landscape (UMRBPL) and the Ecotown Climate Resilience and Green Growth Road Map in the UMRBPL are two of the critical outputs of a technical assistance granted by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) in response to the need to demonstrate the concept of ecotowns in sync with the National Climate Change Action Plan (2011-2028).
The Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (SEARCA) was commissioned by ADB to conduct the project in close coordination with theClimate Change Commission (CCC), the project’s implementing agency; ERGONS Project Marketing Consultants, an associate in the project; and the participating LGUs of Antipolo City and the Rizal towns of Tanay, San Mateo, Rodriguez, and Baras.
The three-year project, officially known as ADB TA-8111 PH: Climate Resilience and Green Growth in the Upper Marikina River Basin Protected Landscape (UMRBPL): Demonstrating the Eco-town Framework, held a Wrap-up and Project Review Workshop on 29 September 2015 at SEAMEO INNOTECH, Diliman, Quezon City.
The project had four components: (1) the collection of baseline information and assessment of vulnerability to climate change; (2) the identification, analysis and prioritization of locally appropriate adaptation and mitigation measures; (3) the selection of pilot demonstration areas and implementation of gender-equitable adaptation and mitigation measures; and (4) the development of knowledge products and strengthening of stakeholder capacity.
At the wrap-up workshop, the results and impacts of the project and key continuity and sustainability programs were presented by Mr. Elmer Mercado, Project Team Leader. The major outputs of the project include baseline information, geographic information system (GIS) mapping, and sectoral vulnerability assessments covering agriculture, water, health, forest, and roads and bridges; natural resources accounting and economic valuation; and greenhouse gas (GHG) inventory.
In addition, more than 2,000 stakeholders in the protected landscape benefited from training activities and workshops conducted by the project. These included training on GIS, natural resource management and benefit-cost analysis, adaptive capacity, GHG emissions inventory and payment for environmental services. Officials and staff of the LGUs were thus kept apprised of the process, methodology, and outputs/results of the technical assistance.
Among the most tangible outputs of the project were the baseline information and maps on climate change impacts as well as toolkits and quick guides on conducting GHG inventory, vulnerability assessments, benefit-cost analysis, and GIS for local governance.
“Our hope is that our LGUs will be able to use and maximize the results of this project in updating their respective Comprehensive Land Use Plan and in preparing local climate change action plans,” Dr. Gil C. Saguiguit, Jr., SEARCA Director, said in his message delivered by Dr. Virginia R. Cardenas, SEARCA Deputy Director for Administration.
Dr. Ancha Srinivasan, Principal Climate Change Specialist at ADB, said green growth and resilience measures piloted by the project included bio-charcoal briquetting for the five municipalities; pioneering species establishment and rehabilitation (PISER) in Tanay, Rodriguez, and Baras; and check dams in San Mateo and Antipolo City.
“This is not to say that these are the only measures that could be implemented, but within the time and budget constraints, these are just the pilot demonstration activities … If we can identify adaptation and mitigation measures, there are funding from international sources,” Dr. Srinivasan stressed.
Forester Alexis Lapiz of CCC thanked the LGUs and all the sectors involved in the project for their active participation. He reiterated that climate change is a global phenomenon that must not be taken for granted but rather, there is a need to prepare for it and plan at the local level so that adaptation and mitigation strategies can be properly implemented.
The Technical Assistance Team is composed of Mr. Mercado; Dr. Maria Victoria Espaldon, Capacity Building and Gender Specialist; Dr. Florencia Pulhin, GHG Specialist; Dr. Esteban Godilano (GIS Specialist); Dr. Nicomedes Briones, NRM Specialist; and Mr. Rey Alo, KM Specialist. The Team is supported by Dr. Emmanuel Lleva, Forest Management Specialist; Mr. Allan Dela Cruz, GIS Assistant; and Ms. Hilda Ronquillo, Administrative and Finance Assistant.
Technical and administrative support during the workshop were provided by Dr. Lope B. Santos, III, Program Specialist and Officer in Charge; Ms. Nancy M. Landicho-de Leon, Program Specialist; Ms. Sarah Grace L. Quinoñes, Project Associate; Ms. Maylyn G. Desamparo, Project Assistant; and Mr. Jerrel Edric B. Mallari and Mr. Ronald P. Salazar, both Project Support Staff, all of SEARCA’s Project Development and Technical Services. (Leah Lyn D. Domingo)