The Department of Environmental and Natural Resources (DENR) on Friday said it would work with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) to implement a P836.5-million climate resilience project for Batangas, Borongan, Cotabato, Iloilo, Legazpi, and Zamboanga.

The five-year Climate Resilient Cities project seeks to help the six cities establish their own capacity for climate data and analysis, and subsequently, their targeted action plans, the DENR said in an e-mailed statement.

“As cities increase in number and size, it underscores the need to enhance resilience capacities to withstand climate-related shocks and stresses,” Maria Antonia Y. Loyzaga, DENR secretary, said on establishing an anticipatory action system per city.

For the government, support for communities is crucial as only a small portion, or 36%, of Filipino households are fully prepared for natural disasters, according to a 2017 study by the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative.

The Asian Development Bank’s climate risk profile of the Philippines noted how climate change impacts agricultural productivity and slows down poverty alleviation.

“Both increased flooding and the increased likelihood of droughts could impact agricultural land,” it said.

“Without effective adaptation and disaster risk reduction, climate change is likely to exacerbate high existing levels of income and wealth inequality; poverty alleviation progress will be slowed,” it added.

Ryan Washburn, USAID mission director, noted the need for local governments and other stakeholders to improve understanding, use, and dissemination of climate information to their communities.

The DENR and USAID will work toward capacity-building and development programs for conferences, policy reforms, nature-based solutions, and information dissemination in partner cities, the department said.

The Philippines will launch its Climate Adaptation Plan at the 2023 United Nations Climate Change Conference in the United Arab Emirates on Nov. 30 to Dec. 12. — Miguel Hanz L. Antivola