The University of the Philippines is proactively pursuing Goal 13.
UP launches Resilience Institute
On June 20, 2017, the University of the Philippines launched the revitalized UP Resilience Institute (UPRI) to provide Filipinos with innovative information vital to lifesaving climate change actions and disaster risk reduction efforts.
UPRI is a proactive hub of benchmark innovative information vital to the nation’s efforts in climate change mitigation and adaptation. To accomplish its mission is to empower local communities through multidisciplinary actions toward resilience, UPRI is comprised of multi-disciplinary fellows from science, technology, arts and humanities collaborating in climate action and disaster risk reduction and management. UPRI has received multiple national and international awards and recognitions for its initiatives in helping the vulnerable.
During times of calamities, UPRI’s experts have been deployed to all parts of the Philippines to assist in geological surveys, structural damage assessments, and psychosocial services among other forms of support. It provides reliable, understandable, and timely data that are open and free to the public. These include 127 publications from 2017 to 2021, 48 of which were textbooks published in 2019. It also produces capacity-building programs that are essential in forming sustainable development plans that will benefit all Filipinos, especially the local government units (See next subtopic, “Enabling communities”).
At UPRI’s core are the Nationwide Operational Assessment of Hazards (NOAH) Center and the Institute’s other public service programs: Research and Creative Work, Knowledge Sharing, Education, and Institution Building. The NOAH project has helped local government units since 2012 avert more than 15 potentially fatal calamities through NOAH’s probabilistic multi-scenario-based multi-hazard maps, which may be accessed freely in the UPRI website. The media and the general public have come to depend on its assessments for guidance in disaster situations.
In terms of policy making, one of UPRI’s high-impact public service accomplishments was its critical role in formulating a bill (HB 8165) which justifies the establishment of a Department of Disaster Resilience.
UPRI/NOAH, with the Local Climate Change Adaptation for Development (LCCAD) Inc. and the office Albay Congressman Jose Ma. Clemente Salceda, collaborated in building the capacities of local government units, academia, and community stakeholders to deal with climate vulnerabilities and risks. This collaboration in 2019 resulted in the development of a one-stop hub, called Climate Vulnerability to Disaster Resilient Albay (CVDRAL) Hub, to transform the province of Albay from climate vulnerable to climate-disaster resilient province. The Hub employed advanced science and technology tools developed by UPRI/NOAH.
In other parts of the country (i.e., Batangas and Nueva Ecija), more than 75 local government executives at the village, provincial, and regional levels together with over 20 civil society organizations were trained, in the years 2018-2019, by the UPRI on how to formulate their Local Climate Change Action Plans (LCCAPs), Climate and Disaster Risk Assessments (CDRAs), and Comprehensive Land Use Plans (CLUPs).
Similarly, various constituent units of UP have been assisting local government units in developing their climate action plans and activities.
For one, in 2019, UP Los Baños worked with the local executives of Aurora province in assessing their climate and disaster risks towards developing the provincial climate change action plan (LCCAP). UP Los Baños School of Environmental Science and Management conducted a six-day online course in 2020 on Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) and Climate Change Vulnerability Assessment (CCVA) for various local governments, academic institutions, non-government and private organizations. The course discussed the technical aspects and administrative procedures of the Philippine Environmental Impact Statement system.
Meanwhile in 2019, UP Mindanao — working with local governments surrounding the Davao Gulf — handed over the vulnerability maps and other research outputs related to the climate-related hazards of coastal areas of the gulf. Among the 76 maps provided to the 17 local governments in the area were Natural Disaster Vulnerability Assessment Maps, Coastal Resource Vulnerability Assessment Maps, Aquaculture Vulnerability Assessment Maps, Fishing Livelihood Maps, Bathymetry (depth) Maps, and Coastal Resource Maps. Representing the beneficiary local executives, Franco Calida (mayor of Hagonoy, Davao del Sur) said, “Through these assessments, we can protect our mangroves, our coral reefs, the economic situation in fisheries and agriculture or aquaculture, and the livelihood of our fisherfolks.”
To benefit the provincial governments and residents of the island of Panay where UP Visayas (UPV) is located, faculty and researchers of UPV conducted the “Biodiversity, Climate Change, and Sustainable Development Training” in June 2022. Free lectures were given on topics such as the status of the Boracay wetlands, climate change risks to ecosystems and biodiversity, and sustainable development in a time of climate change.
Previously in December 2020, UPV also gave public webinars on “Understanding Flooding in Iloilo,” with resource speakers coming from the UP Resilience Institute, the UP Marine Science Institute, and UPV. Iloilo City Mayor Jerry Treñas welcomed the UP initiative in organizing these webinars for the local government.
Moreover, the UPV Center for West Visayan Studies (CWVS) has been regularly implementing the Disaster Risk Reduction Training, Education, and Advocacy for Children’s Protection and Resilience (TEACH DRR) Project at the school and municipal levels of two island communities in Panay.
Resource materials for DRRM
The University of the Philippines Padayon Public Service Office and the UP Resilience Institute (RI), together with the College of Social Work and Community Development (CSWCD), launched the first Disaster Risk Reduction and Management (DRRM) handbook for academic institutions on October 24, 2018. Titled Sakunang Darating, Saklolo’y Tayo Rin (The Solution to Future Disasters is in Our Hands), the book was written and edited by UP’s DRRM experts from various academic disciplines, departments, and campuses. The multidisciplinary, interdisciplinary, and evidence-based book presents valuable information and lessons enhances communities’ preparedness, resiliency, and capabilities during an emergency or disaster.
The book, which draws from both the social and scientific research on natural disasters (and their impact on society and the environment) and the practical engagement of UP’s DRRM experts in disaster sites over the years, provide lessons on disaster preparedness which can be transmitted not only to academic communities but also to other publics across the country.
UP Cebu published in 2021 in the Philippine Journal of Science a study of its greenhouse gas emissions–the first national university in the Philippines to measure the carbon emissions of its constituents using the Climate Change Commission guidelines. It thus publicized a practice that could be replicated by other organizations, enabling them to closely monitor their environmental impacts and make plans for their stakeholders to reduce carbon emissions.
UPRI also provided technical support for the writing and publication of 48 K-12 textbooks on Climate Change Adaptation and Disaster Risk Reduction. Authors of the book were specially trained teachers by the the Local Climate Change Academy (LCCAD) of the 2nd District of Albay.
Climate knowledge for the world
UP has been busy in producing and disseminating knowledge that significantly address the recognized issues of climate change.
The UP Manila-National Institutes of Health (NIH) conducted its 22nd-anniversary conference with the theme, “Health Amidst Climate Change, Disasters, and Outbreaks,” on March 2 and 3, 2020. An integral activity in UP Manila’s public service, the conference sought to enlighten the participants and the general public about the intersections of climate change and health. It discussed the present healthcare challenges and opportunities amidst future climate change scenarios, disasters, and disease outbreaks and network-building among various and diverse stakeholders toward future healthcare systems.
“The theme aptly captures the broader societal role of NIH. The clarion call for us is to go into more impactful research and for collaboration and networking with more institutions and sectors on health as affected by climate change, disasters, and outbreaks,” stated UP Manila Chancellor Carmencita Padilla.
The conference tackled increased heat-related morbidities and mortalities. These morbidities and mortalities include higher risks of exposure to vector-borne diseases and pathogens, reduced food availability and quality for daily nutritional needs, increased chances of physical and mental health issues associated with demoralized and displaced populations resulting from climate-induced dislocation, environmental decline, and conflict situations, greater frequency of infectious disease epidemics and physical injuries following storm-induced floods, landslides and droughts, and other climate change related consequences to health.
Understanding and staying abreast of the new strategies for the early detection of emerging disease risks and outbreaks that will likely be driven by a changing climate, will help health and public health professionals be prepared and respond.
Discussions on urban planning and health infrastructure were held in response to climate scenarios. Workshops were also conducted on Disaster Preparedness by the Institute of Health Policies and Developmental Studies (IHPDS).
Meanwhile, at UP Los Baños, the School of Environmental Science and Management served as an academic partner to the 6th International Conference on Climate Change 2022 with the theme “Meeting Climate Challenges Amidst the COVID-19 Pandemic”. The conference, which was open to environmentalists and professionals in disciplines with interest in global climate change issues and solutions, discussed climate change mitigation and effective adaptation, climate change impacts, education, and social responsibility, and climate change and carbon management.
More on UP and the SDGs
UP and the Sustainable Development Goals
Message from the President
Green UP: A UP System Action Plan for Environmental Sustainability
UP at a Glance
UP on Good Health and Well-Being
UP on Quality Education
UP on Gender Equality
UP on Sustainable Cities and Communities
UP on Partnerships to Achieve the Goals