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Using the Philippines as a case study, Erin’s research explored how climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction could be integrated within existing institutional and policy frameworks.
The research identified that policies focused on reducing vulnerability to climate change and natural disasters were not being integrated into policy in practice.
“The Philippines is particularly vulnerable to hazards such as typhoons, storm surges, droughts, and tsunamis,” she said
“Although they’ve recently introduced national legislation demanding policy integration, there is currently an implementation gap. For example, the designated first responders, local government, just don’t have the financial, institutional and technical resources to implement needed reforms effectively.
“Another major issue is that most current policy instruments focus on post-disaster impacts rather than reducing vulnerability. This failure to adapt to climate change only increases disaster risk.”
Associate Professor Jamie Pittock, who supervised the research said the research makes some recommendations on how to address the problem.
“It’s really important to develop an environment that facilitates institutional change and supports locally led actions, rather than simply taking a top-down approach,” he said.
“First and foremost, the system must be focused on addressing underlying vulnerability to climate change. Secondly, it must be able to combine informal responses and local knowledge with what the science is telling us. Thirdly, it must have the flexibility to deal with uncertainty over future climate conditions.”