The Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (SEARCA), in collaboration with NIRAS Asia Manila Inc. and the International Centre for Environmental Management (ICEM), held an inception workshop on 8 September 2023.
The workshop is part of the technical assistance to the Philippines under the "Accelerating Climate Resilience in Agriculture, Natural Resources, and the Environment (ANRE) Project" funded by the Asian Development Bank (ADB). The workshop is a hybrid event and was participated in by forty-seven (47) national and international experts from relevant government agencies and multisectoral institutions in agriculture, natural resources, and the environment. The project aims to help the government to move forward with the climate resilience reform agenda of the Climate Change Action Program (CCAP), covering agriculture, natural resources, and the environment. It will support the preparation and achievement of relevant policy and institutional objectives of the ensuing Subprogram 2 and the implementation of climate resilience and institutional reforms required to achieve the relevant overall outcomes of the CCAP.
Under this context, the project will deliver three major outputs to help increase the resilience of the country's agriculture, natural resources, and the environment.
The first output is strengthening climate resilience in agriculture. This will institutionalize climate-resilient agriculture and strengthen the Climate-Resilient Agriculture Office (CRAO) in providing direction, oversight, and services to achieve its climate agenda. This will also enhance the governance of organic agriculture by supporting the issuance of national government agencies and LGUs ordinances and by developing climate-smart technologies in crops, livestock, and fisheries. This output will be implemented in collaboration with CRAO and the National Organic Agriculture Program both under the Department of Agriculture.
The second output is strengthening climate resilience of natural resources and ecosystem, which will scale up the Department of Environment and Natural Resources – Risk Resiliency Program (DENR-RRP) by providing resiliency roadmaps, online monitoring and evaluation platform, and capacity building on mitigating climate hazards as well as developing guidelines at central and local levels. This output will be carried out in partnership with the DENR.
And, the third output is improving agricultural insurance for climate risk. This will prepare a medium-term agriculture insurance roadmap for the Philippine Crop Insurance Corporation (PCIC) and explore innovative financing solutions to mobilize private and philanthropic capital for interventions that strengthen nature-based solutions and the resilience of natural capital. This will be implemented under the guidance of the PCIC, emphasizing financial sustainability and cost-effectiveness of other services.
Mr. Antti Inkinen, NIRAS regional director for Asia and the Pacific, expressed his enthusiasm for the project. He encouraged everyone to engage in a focused discussion centered on taking action and making collaborative decisions, particularly on the initial steps toward working together. Mr. Cesar Umali, deputy team leader, highlighted that the project will support the government in pursuing climate resilience as outlined in its agenda stipulated in the CCAP.
Breakout sessions per output then preceded the workshop. Each session discussed the strategies and approaches to achieve the deliverables, risks and opportunities, and the ways forward.
A series of meetings and consultations will be organized to review the key points from the inception workshop, present an updated work plan, tackle any identified problems and issues, and solicit feedback from important stakeholders within relevant government agencies and offices.