While synergies among climate change adaptation and mitigation (CCA&M) policies exist, little common understanding has been established on how to introduce CCA&M policies in an integrated manner. A holistic approach to land-use planning and management at the local level can help meet this challenge. To test this idea, with support from the Ministry of the Environment, Japan, the Institute for Global Environmental Strategies and the University of the Philippines at Los Baños launched a pilot project with local governments in the Philippines in 2014. This project aims to examine the necessary conditions for integrating climate change measures – adaptation and mitigation – by improving land-use planning at the river basin level. The project spans several cities in one watershed in the Philippines and engages municipalities and government agencies.
This video below addresses weather-related disasters caused by intensive land development and is likely to be exacerbated by climate change.
Because of rapid urbanisation and industrialisation, a vast area of land in the subwatershed, especially the cities of Santa Rosa and Biñan, have been converted for industrial use in the past two decades. Population growth, land-use change, and climate change have altered the water resources in the river basin in ways that have negatively impacted the availability of drinking water, public health, and food security, associated with large weather-related natural disasters such as floods and landslides.
1. Scenario Analysis
The first step, scenario analysis, aimed at understanding the problems that the local governments faced in addressing natural disasters and other impacts of climate change, and also the future development and land-use that the local governments plan.
Participatory rapid appraisal activities, specifically the key informant and focus group discussions and the participatory mapping, were conducted with representatives from the four local governments. About 30 officials participated in the discussions, who were in charge of urban planning, agriculture, environment, and disaster risk reduction and management. The officials were asked to draw a future land-use map as of 2025 on tracing papers overlaid on the current land-use map as of 2014.
2. Risk Assessment
The second step, risk assessment, aimed to quantify the damage arising from floods due to typhoons and long periods of rain by identifying the areas, population, and structures such as infrastructure, buildings, and facilities, exposed to flood risks. Geographical information system (GIS) and remote sensing techniques were applied, and to estimate the population vulnerable to flooding in the subwatershed, a Landsat satellite image, national census population data, and a flood susceptibility map were used. The future land-use, obtained from Step one, was processed as GIS data.
3. Climate Change Adaptation and Mitigation (CCA&M)
Step three, CCA&M measure development, aimed to devise possible climate actions for both adaptation and mitigation in consultation with the local governments and prioritise these actions according to their feasibility and urgency. Another focus group discussion session where a set of possible countermeasures were presented requested the officials to identify measures based on the needs of each local government.
Land-use Plan Improvement
Further consultation then led to the identification of priority measures. Step four, land-use plan improvement, aimed to support local governments to strengthen their land-use and related development plans through dialogue on the recommendations generated from the previous three steps.