Building Resilience is an Attitude, Says Legarda at ADB Conference

September 10, 2014

Amid the risks posed by climate change and extreme weather events, Senator Loren Legarda today said that a change in mindset is inevitable to be able to look at the opportunities in the face of threats.


“Building resilience is an attitude,” said Legarda at theInnovation and Learning in a Changing Asia Conference organized by the Asian Development Bank (ADB).


Legarda, UN Champion for Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change Adaptation for Asia-Pacific, is a panelist for the session Natural Hazards and Climate Change. Her co-panelists are Mohan Munasinghe, Founding Chairman of the Munasinghe Institute for Development, Colombo and recipient of Nobel Peace Prize 2007 as Vice Chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change; Brahma Chellaney, Professor of Strategic Studies, Center for Policy Research Dharm Marg, Chanankyapuri, New Delhi; and Fr. Jose Ramon T. Villarin, President of Ateneo De Manila University.


“Citizens of the Asia-Pacific region are more likely to be affected by natural hazards than citizens of other regions. We have been warned of the risks posed by climate change to poverty alleviation, food security and economic growth. Faced with these difficulties, it is a must that development policies should be towards sustainable and resilient growth. We must find innovative solutions to existing problems,” said Legarda.


The Senator explained that policies should mainstream disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation in development plans, programs and budgets at the national and local levels.


Moreover, people can venture into developing climate change adaptation expertise or in other related areas, because a study done by Environmental Business International, Inc. estimates that, in the next seven years, the annual market for “climate adaptation services” will grow by 12 to 20 percent per year, becoming a $700-million annual market in the United States and $2 billion globally.


She added that disaster risk reduction should be viewed as an investment and not as additional expense. For instance, the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) has calculated that if the government of Pakistan invests on DRR now, it is projected to achieve approximately 25 percent more economic growth for the year 2042.


“We must promote the scaling up of existing government programs to rectify the social and economic structures that breed disaster risk and trap the poor in the vicious cycle of risk and poverty. Meanwhile, the private sector is encouraged to put disaster resilience at the core of their business strategies and to promote green policies,” she stressed.


“We must reduce the vulnerability and exposure of our people and our economy to the impact of natural hazards. The road towards this goal may be tough, but with the attitude of resilience and a strong resolve, we will be able to weather the many challenges of the fast changing environment,” Legarda concluded.