Success in implementing climate change adaptation depends to a large extent on the participation of local government officials. In many cases, climate change discussion is confined at the national level to little action in the field. One of the main challenges in promoting climate change adaptation at the local level is the lack of appreciation by local leaders on the need to adapt to climate change. This is because climate change is seen as a long-term problem and thus of less importance than more pressing needs.
One exception to this is Albay province in the Philippines. Recently, Albay has been recognized as having sound practices on climate-related risk management by having developed a locally rooted climate change adaptation strategy. The provincial government has recognized the need for appropriate policies and programs to be in place for environmental concerns, including climate change, and that these can be effectively addressed in a timely and sustainable manner.
Albay shows the key role of local governments in promoting climate change adaptation. A preliminary assessment showed that provinces which experience frequent and severe climate hazards are more likely to be aware and responsive to the need for climate change adaptation. Local government units at the provincial scale do have resources to commit to climate change adaptation. And, there is opportunity to integrate climate change adaptation on existing disaster risk management and natural resource management institutions and programs.
In 2008, the government of Albay established the "Center for Initiatives and Research on Climate Adaptation" or CIRCA in collaboration with the Environment Management Bureau (EMB), World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF)-Philippines and Bicol University (BU). Its goal is to strengthen capacity for research and project and program implementation in sustainable agriculture, forestry, fisheries, energy and eco-cultural tourism in the light of climate change.
Alongside their information, education and communication campaigns on climate change adaptation and disaster management, the government has launched various activities like clean-up of rivers and creeks, agricultural rehabilitation program, and tree planting and mangrove rehabilitation along its coastal lines.
Current activities include the rehabilitation of 225 ha. of mangrove in two major islands (Cagraray and San Miguel) in partnership with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR); 90 ha mangrove plantation in Poliqui Bay, Manito in partnership with the Philippine National Oil Co. - Energy Development Corp; and a 135 ha of mangrove plantation in various municipalities and barangays.
The case study will be presented in Poznán, Poland at the influential Conference of the Parties (COP 14) Forest Day 2 Side event sponsored by the Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI) and Tropical Forest & Climate Change Adaptation (TroFCCA) - CIFOR wherein an international panel of speakers will share their experiences on the co-benefits of forest management and biodiversity conservation and the relevant lessons for climate adaptation.
The World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF) Philippines is the technical adviser and one of the partners of the Albay province in all its climate change adaptation activities.
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