CCC: Climate Change is a human rights issue
Climate Change Commission (CCC) Secretary Emmanuel De Guzman said building climate-resilient communities is a moral imperative to help preserve the basic human rights of the poor and the marginalized who are most vulnerable to extreme weather events.
Speaking at the Social Development Initiatives Summit held in Davao City from Aug. 17-19, De Guzman underscored the need to do more and do better in adaptation and mitigation and risk reduction to equip communities in dealing with climate change.
“Poverty, as we all know, breeds disaster vulnerability, and those who have least in life, sadly,risk life most. To be indifferent and to do nothing on the threats of climate change is thereforeaninjustice to the vulnerable poor,” De Guzman, vice chair and executive director of the CCC, told the summit attended by multi-sectoral stakeholders.
“That is why adaptation, mitigation, and risk reduction are moral imperatives and clearly social justice in action. Building the resilience of our communities, especially the vulnerable poor and the marginalized, allows them not only to preserve their basic rights but also presents opportunities to thrive despiteweather extremesand rising sea levels,” he added.
Cabinet Secretary Leoncio Evasco, Jr. organized the multi-sectoral workshop, with the theme “Malasakit at Pagbabago,” to consult the basic sectors on the responsiveness and effectiveness of the government’s priorities, plans, programs, and strategies for social development and poverty reduction.
According to De Guzman, the national and local governments need to step up in climate change adaptation, including risk assessment, public health services, protection of the ecosystems, improvement of agricultural methods, management of water resources, and creation of settlements in safe zones.
“Rural people, particularly farmers, fisherfolk, and indigenouspeoples shouldbe engaged and enabled to participate with a strong voice in bottom-up adaptation and risk reduction planning and implementation, articulating their concerns and priorities, as their views are grounded in their daily lives,” he said.
De Guzman emphasized that a whole-of-government approach to integrate efforts of all government agencies and stakeholders is necessary to build strong and climate-resilient local communities.
Based on the 2016 Global Climate Risk Index of think-tank Germanwatch, the Philippines ranked fourth in the list of countries most affected by extreme weather events between 1995-2014, behind Honduras, Myanmar and Haiti.
The study also found that the Philippines had the most number of extreme weather events during the same period at 337, incurring 1.10 deaths per 100,000 inhabitants, and about 0.68% losses per unit gross domestic product (GDP).
Last year at the "Vulnerable 20" (V20 Group) inaugural meeting in Lima, Peru, the Department of Finance (DOF) estimated yearly economic losses due to disasters for climate vulnerable countries like the Philippines at 2.5 of their GDP.
In its pre-disaster risk assessment for the onset of La Niña this year, the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) identified Regions V (Bicol), VII (Central Visayas), and X (Northern Mindanao), and the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) to have the most number of poor families exposed to hazards, ranging from 400,001 to 600,000.
TheCCC, chaired by President Rordigo Duterte, isthe lead policy-making body of the government tasked to coordinate, monitor, evaluate state programs, and ensure mainstreaming of climate change in national, local and sectoral development plans toward a climate-resilient and climate-smart Philippines. The CCC promotes and facilitates the convergence of government actions and policies, plans and programs for climate and disaster resilience.#
Reference: Asec. Romell Antonio Cuenca / Tel. No. (02) 735 3069