The Philippines is prone to natural hazards such as tropical cyclones, floods, earthquakes and volcanic eruptions because of its location and natural attributes. The country lies along the typhoon belt of the Western North Pacific where 66% o f tropical cyclones originate. Each year, an estimated 20 tropical cyclones enter the Philippine Area of Responsibility, of which an average of eight makes a landfall (NEDA 2011). Active faults and trenches also line the country making it susceptible to earthquake occurrences.
The country’s vulnerability to natural disasters adversely affects communities, especially the poor. Disasters have also derailed social and economic development. A World Bank study reported that the country’s vulnerability to natural hazards cost the government an annual average of P15 billion in direct damages, or more than 0.5% of GDP (World Bank 2005).
With these risks in mind the Government has initiated significant climate change reforms, establishing a basis for policy transformation. These reforms were pursued to integrate climate change into the national and policy formulation and development. Chief among these reforms is the Climate Change Act passed in 2009 to strengthen, integrate, consolidate, and institutionalize previous specific sector-based government initiatives.
Moreover, the shift towards climate adaptation and its convergence with disaster risk reduction are major changes in the new climate change policy agenda. To this end, disaster risk reduction and management were mandated to be integrated into climate change programs to enhance the adaptive capacity of communities. This policy reform is an important step toward focusing on prevention and protection instead of recovery and rehabilitation.
The climate change policy agenda is also supported by the establishment of centralized national institutions. Several new institutions that have been created or are at various stages of mobilization are the Climate Change Commission (CCC), the Cabinet Cluster on Climate Change (CCCC), and the People’s Survival Fund Board (PSFB).
The above policy reforms will help the country in addressing the impact of climate change. However, there are bottlenecks that hinder the effective implementation of these reforms, these include: 1) inconsistency between national and sectoral policies, 2) gaps at the institutional level, and 3) problems at the financing level. Thus, there is a need to align policies and strengthen institutions to enhance climate change management in the country.>>read complete document