Legarda: Growth Must Be Climate Adaptive and Resilient

May 22, 2014

Senator Loren Legarda today said that for nations to attain sustainable and equitable economic development, communities should be resilient to disasters and adaptive to climate change.


Legarda made the statement as part of the panel for the interactive session, Designing Solutions for Climate and Resource Risks, of the World Economic Forum (WEF) on East Asia at the Makati Shangri-la today.


“In climate risks, there could sometimes be no second chances.  The UN said economic losses from disasters are ‘out of control.’  We should reverse this situation.  We need to be in control,” said Legarda, who was named by the World Economic Forum as a Global Leader for Tomorrow in year 2000 in Davos, Switzerland.


“We should pursue equitable and sustainable development that is climate adaptive, resilient and responsive to the needs of marginalized and vulnerable communities, including rural farmers, fisherfolk and indigenous peoples,” she stressed.


The Senator said that existing laws can help translate the country’s improving growth into programs that will generate more jobs and enhance capacities especially for the agriculture sector and micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs).


“We have the Magna Carta for MSMEs, Barangay Kabuhayan Act, and the Agri-Agra Reform Credit Act, which are laws that empower our farmers, fisherfolk and entrepreneurs and provide more opportunities for livelihood in the countryside. But as we advance these programs, we must also ensure the resilience of our economy and our communities. Let us put our local climate change action plans based on the Climate Change Act of 2009 and the local DRR plans based on the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Act to work,” she explained.


Legarda noted that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report in March 2014 highlights the risks posed by climate change to the global effort to tackle priority development issues.


“The recent IPCC report said that because of climate change, poverty alleviation and achieving food security will become increasingly difficult, new poverty traps will arise as existing obstacles remain, and economic growth will slow down. It is in this light that we encourage the business sector to take a proactive role in our aim to achieve resilient growth.”


Legarda said the private sector should craft and strengthen their business continuity planning (BCP), which reflect corporate strategy on how to swiftly spring back to operations after each disaster.


Likewise, MSMEs need BCPs that highlight resiliency as a core feature of their operations.


She added that the business sector is also encouraged to conduct and share risk assessments of their companies, establish effective and efficient early warning systems and disaster plans in their respective corporations, and engage in advocacies that will protect our ecosystems, among other actions.


“It is always in the best interest of everyone if our agenda is not only focused on profit or economic development and would go beyond traditional economic statistics. Our measure of growth should also consider the general well-being of the people as well as the safety and resilience of communities,” Legarda concluded.***