It’s Hot in Here! Now What?: PH x Canada Climate Adaptation Partnership

We Filipinos have always had the biggest dream to always be in a place where it’s cool and comfortable — as we have always experienced the rays of the heat almost every day no matter what month it is. We don’t wear jackets, unlike the people in other countries, we wear sandos! Anything to help us with the heat. 

But this year, anyone can agree that the heat has been OA or tremendously suffocating, causing most institutions to suspend classes and promote remote work for offices. 

Is suspension really the solution for this scorching heat? Will it be the sole solution for climate change? How much more in the next few years? Will we only keep on suspending face-to-face activities? 

This is why the Philippines and Canada recently showcased a new climate change adaptation program that leverages nature to minimize climate impacts. This is called the Philippines-Canada Partnership on Nature-based Solutions (NbS) for Climate Adaptation (PCP4NbS), an initiative led by Forest Foundation Philippines in partnership with the Embassy of Canada. 

This program seeks to enhance the climate resilience of communities, empower people and ensure that it will promote benefits to natural resources and healthy ecosystems. 

The Nature-based Solutions (NbS) are cost-effective actions that take care of the ecosystems while responding to the cries of the community that needs help. This is a 4-year program that aims to use these solutions by joining forces with communities, civil society, government agencies, private sectors, and other stakeholders. 

“PCP4NbS offers a chance to recommit ourselves to science, community involvement, and inclusivity in decision-making. Protecting individuals, communities, and biodiversity is at the heart of NbS,” said Edwina Garchitorena, Chairperson of the Board of Trustees of Forest Foundation Philippines. 

“This partnership, in championing solutions designed by and for local communities, will make a lasting contribution to the health of ecosystems and livelihoods in areas of high biodiversity in the Philippines,” emphasized David Hartman, Ambassador of Canada to the Philippines. 

With this optimism, the Government of Canada has committed PhP 332 million (CA$8 million) for this program to be implemented which will be managed by Forest Foundation Philippines that will support local organizations in implementing holistic, community-based and gender-responsive initiatives based on NbS principles. 

The pilot projects will be done in Batanes, Camarines Sur, Davao Oriental, Davao de Oro, Negros Occidental, Negros Oriental, and the Calamianes group of Islands in Palawan. 

“Our ecosystem from ridge to reef should be conserved and protected as they are our life support system. Through this program, we expect to craft better policies that will institutionalize the use of nature-based solutions to help build resilience while nurturing our ecosystems and creating sustainable livelihoods,” Environment Secretary Maria Antonia Yulo-Loyzaga said. 

Furthermore, this partnership aims to also focus on the marginalized groups to actively participate in climate adaptation initiatives and foster inclusive development by providing training and capacity-building. 

“With our overarching goal to sustain ecosystem services and enhance forest-related climate action, this program is a reflection of our commitment to the continued protection, restoration, and conservation of our forests and coastal areas, for water, land productivity, and biodiversity,” concluded Atty. Jose Andres Canivel, Executive Director of Forest Foundation Philippines. 

We experience the challenge of climate change first-hand. Therefore, we cannot just sit around and hope for the suspension but we must take a move to make permanent solutions to problems that affect the community – such as programs like PCP4NbS is one of the big contributions to help the community while helping the environment. 

Remember, aircons can’t save you from the heat – it’s the trees that you should yearn for. How about you? What can you do to help in this global impact?