Coastal Cities at Risk Project held successful seminar workshop in Manila

The Coastal Cities at Risk (CCaR) Project, organized a seminar-workshop entitled, “Coastal Cities at Risk Research Project: Building Strategic Alliances for Resilience with Local Government Units in Metro Manila” on 12 September 2014. Hosted by the Manila Observatory (MO) and the Livable Cities, Sustainable Communities Research Program of the Ateneo de Manila University (AdMU), this was the third of a series of consultation and validation workshops conducted by the Manila Research Team of the International Research Initiative on Adaptation to Climate Change – Coastal Cities at Risk (IRIACC-CCaR) Project.


The main goals of the consultation workshops are 1) to update and validate the team’s current resilience research findings with Metro Manila Local Government Units (LGUs), 2) further understand the decision-making climate in LGUs in the aspect of climate change adaptation-disaster risk reduction and management (CCA-DRRM), and 3) provide learning opportunities for the research team and the LGU partners.

Prof. Mark Pelling and Ms. Sophie Blackburn provided the initial workshop input. Ms. Blackburn discussed the challenges and opportunities for transformative urban governance based on other work in Jamaica and with UNISDR while Prof. Pelling presented his work on human vulnerability and adaptation to natural disasters and climate change. Prof. Pelling and Ms. Blackburn came to Manila as part of the King’s College (London) – AdMU – MO research partnership. Mark Pelling is also a member of the IRDR Science Committee and the chair of IRDR’s Risk Interpretation and Action (RIA) project focusing on how people — both decision-makers and ordinary citizens — make decisions, individually and collectively, in the face of risk.

“This is an NSERC funded exchange, which lasts another 12 months between King’s College London’s Dept. of Geography and AdMU, as well as the MO, with a focus on disaster risk governance in coastal cities. We heard from excellent speakers including Undersecretary Austere Panadero who shared a presentation on The Local Disaster Preparedness Plan and Building Resilience,” Pelling said.  Undersecretary Austere Panadero of the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) highlighted the importance of building a culture of local disaster preparedness through special emphasis on the policies, tools, and programs available to the LGU for disaster risk mitigation and management.


MO Executive Director and IRIACC-CCaR Manila Team Leader, Antonia Yulo-Loyzaga presented the over-all framework and updates of the study while Dr. Emma Porio, professor of sociology and IRIACC-CCaR Co-Team Leader, highlighted the role of social capital and trust networks in building a culture of safety, local preparedness and post-disaster recovery initiatives.

Mr. Randy Tuaño of the Economics sector illustrated how to model the economic impacts of disasters on local governments and cities. Dr. Gemma Narisma, a climate scientist of the MO and team leader for CCaR’s physical sector, described how urbanization and infrastructure development influence local weather patterns while, Ms. Jessica Dator-Bercilla of the team’s organizational sector facilitated the discussion workshop with the LGU officials on the implementation of local DRRM plans and its inclusion in the LGU’s annual investment plans. The workshop also included a status survey of how many LGU’s have accomplished the tasks required by the Philippines’ DRRM law and the challenges in completing them.

The active participation of 12 members of the CCaR research team, 19 LGU officials representing six cities (Makati, Malabon, Marikina, Navotas, Pasig, and Quezon City) of Metro Manila and Undersecretary Austere Panadero of the DILG made the collaborative workshop a highly successful event.

IRIACC-CCaR is a 5-year project of interdisciplinary and integrated studies on the coastal megacities of Vancouver, Bangkok, Lagos, and Manila. Its main objective is ‘to develop the knowledge base and enhance the capacity of mega-cities to successfully adapt to and cope with risks posed by the effects of climate change, including sea level rise, in the context of urban growth and development.’ This work is being carried out with the aid of and a grant from the International Development Research Centre (IDRC), the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC), and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC), Ottawa, Canada.

In February 2014, a research media publication, International Innovation, published an article featuring Canadian CCaR Principal Investigator Gordon McBean as he talked about the CCaR project and how resilience can be forged for vulnerable townships. McBean is also the President of the International Council for Science. See Gordon McBean’s interview here:

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