By Laura Cramer and Lili Szilagyi
Farmers transplanting rice in the Philippines. The country is highly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change which makes farming challenging. Photo: IRRI
The Philippines is highly vulnerable to climate change and natural disasters. The country ranked fourth in a list of nations hardest hit by two decades of extreme weather events (heavy rains, flooding and landslides) according to the Global Climate Risk Index 2016. The agricultural sector and food systems will not be spared. With its high vulnerability to climate change and natural disasters, experts have said that the country needs to take significant steps to adapt.
To aid in adaptation in the agriculture arena, the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) is working with the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) to establish a decision-support mechanism on agricultural, climate change and food security policies. The tool uses newly generated data, modelling outputs and innovative scenario assessment to help understand possible adaptive measures that can be taken. This collaboration is funded by the CGIAR Research Programs on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS) and the Policies, Institutions and Markets (PIM).
As part of the collaboration, IFPRI and NEDA published a book on the future of the Philippine agriculture under climate change, focusing on policies, investments and scenarios.
At the book launch event, Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto M. Pernia said:
The policy recommendations in this book are timely. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Special Report on Global Warming warns that a host of climate-related risks—from sea level rise to food and water supplies, security and health issues—will be worse if global temperatures rise to 2 degrees Celsius.”
In the preface of the book, the editors explain that there is a growing consensus that climate change increases the frequency and severity of extreme climatic events such as floods, drought and typhoons. Poor and vulnerable communities are the most severely affected by these extreme events based on their reliance on subsistence farming. Besides, they have limited capacity to undertake measures to adapt to climate change, which is critical to sustaining agricultural production growth in the pursuit of food security and poverty reduction.
Failure to adapt to climate change would make the Philippines even more susceptible to extreme events and to the long-term impacts of climate change. The country must prepare for these impacts and enhance its capacity to deal with them.
The book has been produced as a response to this need. It focuses on enhancing the adaptive capacity of the Philippine agriculture. The sector is the most vulnerable and severely affected by climate change; it is highly dependent on natural resources, and it has the highest incidence of poverty and lagging growth compared with the rest of the economy.
The book is designed to provide a much-needed base of knowledge and a menu of policy options in support of decision- and policymaking on agriculture, climate change, and food security. The volume uses IFPRI- and CCAFS-generated science to provide a basis for a variety of adaptation measures under different sets of climate change scenarios to guide decision-makers in strategic planning and policy formulation.
Other countries in the Asia and Pacific regions share many characteristics related to agriculture and climate change with the Philippines. Given the similarity of the challenges, the analysis and analytical tools presented in the book to support policymakers, scientists and others are relevant not only for the Philippines, but also for other Asian and Pacific countries.
This work is intended to facilitate analysis of the effects of climate change and the identification of appropriate adaptation interventions to mitigate the impact on agriculture and food production.
Laura Cramer is the Science Officer for the CCAFS Flagship on Priorities and Policies for CSA. Lili Szilagyi is the Communications Consultant for the CCAFS Flagship on Priorities and Policies for CSA. This post first appeared on the CCAFS blog.