Int'l, local scientists battle Yolanda-like disasters

Posted at 01/20/14 3:08 PM

MANILA - Leading foreign and Filipino scientists will come together to come up with resolutions to combat Yolanda-like disasters as well as help in the rebuilding of communities and ecosystems affected by the super typhoon.

The experts will come together in a forum sponsored by the Presidential Assistant for Rehabilitation and Reconstruction (PARR) and the Oscar M. Lopez Center for Climate Change Adaptation and Disaster Risk Management Foundation, Inc. (OML Center) on January 23.

Among those expected to attend are: Dr. B.K. van Wesenbeek and Mr. Joseph D’Cruz.

Dr. Wesenbeek is an expert on ecosystem assessment and ecological data analysis with a focus on coastal and wetland ecosystems. She is currently affiliated with Deltares, an independent applied research institute in the field of water, soil and infrastructure based in Netherlands.

D’Cruz, meanwhile, is the regional environment advisor at the UNDP Asia-Pacific Regional Centre providing policy and technical advisory support to Asia-Pacific countries on environmental resilience, economics and governance, natural resource management, climate adaptation and mitigation, urbanization and sustainable energy access.

The forum will concentrate on three themes: a) resilient structural designs for residential, buildings, and infrastructures; b) ecosystem rehabilitation and adaptation; and c) land use planning and management.

The experts are expected to develop recommendations on designs and standards for residential, buildings, and infrastructures; identify ecosystem-based adaptation measures responsive; prescribe recommendations to mainstream climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction in revising the comprehensive land use plan (CLUP); form a team of advisors and network of experts to develop and implement an evidence-based rehabilitation of the Yolanda-affected communities; and identify research and knowledge gaps and opportunities.

“The OML Center is working closely with PARR to provide the evidence-based prescriptions that will guide the rehabilitation work on the ground and develop the framework which both the government and private sector can translate into action projects. There is a need for rehabilitation efforts to be anchored on solid scientific foundation for cost efficient use of resources and to optimize the role of natural ecosystems in protecting people from the impacts of disasters and climate change,” Dr. Rodel Lasco, Scientific Director of the OML Center, explained.

The OML Center is a non-profit foundation working to generate science-based solutions in the area of climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction. It aims to be a leading catalyst for generating science-based solutions to climate-related risks and disasters in the developing world by supporting applied research with practical outcomes to help the most vulnerable deal with the impacts of climate change and natural disasters. Its key partners include the Climate Change Commission, PAGASA, NAST, USAID, PTFCF, UP, Ateneo, La Salle, among others.