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Mainstreaming climate change in the Philippines

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R. D. Lasco
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The Philippines, as an archipelagic and developing country, is highly vulnerable to climate change, with the poorest of the poor likely to bear the brunt. Noting that the most effective way to address climate change impacts on the poor is by incorporating adaptation measures into sustainable development and poverty reduction strategies, this paper assesses to what extent climate change has been mainstreamed into key development plans and programmes in the Philippines. Firstly, the authors review several key national development documents, namely the Medium Term Development Plan for 2004-2010, the Philippines Millennium Development Goals, and the Philippine Agenda 21, to assess the extent to which climate change has been considered. The paper then presents the results from several key informant interviews held with individuals considered most active in the Philippine climate change discussion. The authors assert that the results of this study demonstrate that climate change has not been mainstreamed in the Philippines, as the major development plans and policies reviewed did not contain any reference to climate change adaptation. The results of interviews with key stakeholders show a similar trend. The paper argues that two main reasons hinder climate change mainstreaming. These are:

national priorities are biased towards more pressing concerns
a pervasive lack of awareness regarding the impacts of climate change on sustainable development.

However, the authors assert, there have been significant infrastructure investments in projects designed to adapt to climate-related hazards. These projects could provide an entry point to integrating climate change adaptation into national programmes and policies.