Local government units told to climate-proof land plans

Posted on December 16, 2011

LOCAL GOVERNMENT units (LGUs) are urged to include climate proofing in their land use plans to better prepare for climate change risks, a German development agency said yesterday.

Speaking at a round-table discussion held in Makati City yesterday, Walter Salzer, director and principal adviser for the Environment and Rural Development Program of the Deutsche Gesellschaft fur Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) said LGUs need to climate-proof or consider different scenarios related to climate change in land use plans to see if they are ready to respond to such events.

“It is necessary to include climate risks and scenarios in LGUs’ land use plans since the Philippines is vulnerable to climate change,” Mr. Salzer said.

He added that LGUs need to consider different scenarios such as drought or floods to see whether existing land use plans contain measures that can deal with such risks.

LGUs also have to look at the impact of different climate-related scenarios to economic activities in their area of responsibility to have a better plan.

Mr. Salzer said that to date, only a few LGUs have climate-proof land use plans despite the country’s exposure to climate change risks.

The GIZ, he said, has implemented a project providing technical assistance to the municipal government of Silago in Southern Leyte in coming up with a climate-proof land use plan.

The GIZ is planning to implement a similar project in other areas by next year.

“The plan is to do it [climate-proof land use plans] in other areas like in Regions IV-B (Occidental Mindoro-Oriental Mindoro-Marinduque-Romblon-Palawan), VI (Western Visayas) and VIII (Eastern Visayas) and provinces of Cagayan de Oro and Bukidnon,” Mr. Salzer said.

The GIZ will be providing technical assistance while the costs of the project would be shouldered by the LGUs.

Mr. Salzer said that the GIZ is optimistic that the National Land Use Act would be enacted soon since it is among the priority measures of the government.

“We support the passage of the National Land Use Act. We think there is a good chance it will be passed since President [Benigno S.C.] Aquino [III] mentioned this in his State of the Nation Address,” he said.

Mr. Salzer said the National Land Use Act which will ensure equitable access to resources and sustainable development would be able to provide a policy for the management of all lands in the country and resolve conflicting laws.

Bills for a National Land Use Act filed at the House of Representatives and the Senate are pending second reading approval. -- Louella D. Desiderio