ILOILO — The Province of Iloilo has been selected by the United Nations World Food Programme as one of the pilot areas in the Philippines for its Food Resiliency in Emergencies and Climate Change Adaptation Systems Tracking (FoRECAST).
This is part of a bigger initiative dubbed as Forecast-Based Emergency Preparedness for Climate Change Risks, a project presently implemented by WFP in Philippines, Bangladesh, Nepal and Haiti or Dominican Republic until June 2017.
Funded by the German Federal Foreign Office, the project aims to reduce human suffering caused by climate-related hazards (e.g. typhoons, drought) through the operationalization of scientific information for forecast-based preparedness.
Governor Arthur Defensor Sr. was briefed of the project during the recent courtesy visit of WFP Institutional Partnerships Specialist Isabelle Lacson, Field Monitor Assistant Eva Celso and Research Assistant Juned Sonido from Alcanz Consulting Group.
The project focuses on improving climate risk analysis and understanding, developing early warning systems based on indicators and thresholds, linking these indicators and thresholds to standard operating procedures for preparedness, and strengthening core areas of response management capability.
Alcanz, a corporation composed mostly of retired senior staff of UNICEF, UNDP and WFP, has been contracted to conduct the baseline assessment of hazards and early warning systems since October 2015 for the development of standard operating procedures (SOPs) based on forecasting and scientific data.
Defensor vowed to support the project since he believed that it could help the province prepare for disasters better, especially on minimizing its potential impact to life and property.
The governor stressed that the province could not afford to lose millions of pesos in agriculture and tourism — the backbone of Iloilo’s economy — due to typhoons and drought intensified by climate change.
He added that province must not be reactive but proactive when it comes to climate change considering that people’s lives were the one at risk.
Aside from Iloilo, FoRECAST will also be pilot tested in Batangas, Benguet, Cagayan Valley, Compostela Valley, Davao Oriental, Laguna, Maguindanao, Misamis Oriental and Sorsogon.
WFP decided to have this project “because exposure to high climate risk and lack of capacity to manage these risks, compounded by factors such poor access to markets and lack of income-generating opportunities, trap poor households in a cycle of food insecurity, undernutrition and poverty that quickly deteriorates into a food and nutrition crisis when a disaster occurs”. JAN