Australian Embassy
The Philippines

SP140228 - East Asia Summit Climate Change Adaptation Workshop: Climate Change, Rural-Urban Interactions and livelihoods

East Asia Summit Climate Change Adaptation Workshop: Climate Change, Rural-Urban Interactions and livelihoods
Manila, Philippines
28 February 2014

Senator Loren Legarda
Undersecretary Romeo Fajardo of the Philippines Office of Civil Defense
Dr Rex Cruz, Chancellor of the University of the Philippines Los Baños
Dr Rafael Lasco, Scientific Director of the Oscar M Lopez Foundation
My fellow Australians, Dr Xiaoming Wang and Dr Mark Howden of CSIRO Australia
Ladies and gentlemen, good afternoon.

The Australian Government welcomes the opportunity to support this workshop on climate change adaptation. We recognise it is a key issue for Asian countries as it is for Australia.

Reflecting on the first two days of the workshop, I’m informed there have been interesting presentations and discussions from both the Philippines and the broader East Asian Summit region:
– the impact and devastation that extreme weather can have on our communities is clear;
– adapting to climate change is really about better managing these climate risks; current and future.

I would like to thank the Philippines for hosting this workshop and for the participation of so many East Asian nations – your insights will be valuable.

I would also like to thank Australia’s Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation and the Oscar M Lopez Center for Climate Change Adaptation and Disaster Risk Management Foundation who made this workshop possible.

This is the second of two workshops hosted by Australia to support the objectives of the Singapore Declaration on Climate Change, Energy and Environment under the East Asia Summit.
– The Singapore Declaration in particular sought action on understanding the region's vulnerability to climate change and on implementing adaptation measures, including learning through each other’s experiences, both across the region and internationally.

The first workshop was held in New Delhi, India from 6-8 November 2013 and focused on climate change and rural issues
– This workshop builds on the outcomes of that workshop.

This second workshop is focused on the rural-urban areas where many communities live and work.
– There are many existing challenges with rural-urban migration, particularly around sustainable livelihoods, land use and limited infrastructure and services.
– Climate change will exacerbate many of these issues that are currently challenging policy makers in managing rural-urban interactions.

This afternoon’s session is looking at common approaches to disaster risk reduction across East Asian countries and the role of sustainable urban planning.

Australia has been asked to report back on what we’ve learnt from the workshops, so I look forward to receiving your advice on what needs to be done to better manage future climate risks.

To support that discussion, it’s my pleasure and honour to introduce Senator Loren Legarda, who is the current Chair of the Senate Committee on Climate Change; and was a co-author of the Climate Change Act 2009.
– The Philippines Climate Change Act provides for the creation of the People’s Survival Fund which is used specifically to reduce the negative impacts of climate change, especially among the poor.
– I don’t think there are many countries that have provided such a firm commitment to managing future climate risks.

Senator Legarda is recognized both here and abroad, as a leader and advocate for environmental protection, climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction. She received several awards such as Global Leaders for Tomorrow by the World Economic Forum (2000), a United Nations Environmental Program Laureate (2001), Global 500 Roll of Honor, and Awardee for the Environment by the Priyadarshni Academy, India (2004).

The Senator has partnered with Australia before. In 2012, we jointly hosted the Regional Forum on Effective Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change Adaptation in the Greater Metro Manila Area, which called for increased local action among local governments on the rising threats of natural disasters and climate change, especially in an urban environment.

On a personal note, I have known Senator Legarda since early in my posting to the Philippines, and I value her highly as a straight-shooter and woman of her word.

Please join me in welcoming Senator Loren Legarda to the stage.