DROUGHT is a multi-faceted problem. Everything related to climate change is complex not only in the past but up to now. Every society and economy, whatever its stage of development, whether rural or urban, can be affected by drought.
Understanding drought brings us back to the risk equation where risk is a function of hazard, exposure and vulnerability. The complexity of the impacts of drought must be seen in the context of how human society has influenced climate change.
Droughts are recurring events that affect large parts of the world every year, according to the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction 2021 Special Report on Drought. It is associated with scarcity of water, changes in atmospheric conditions such as El Niño, and lack of rainfall. The way humans influence climate change gives rise to the relationship between drought and human activities. Such a relationship indicates how the socio-economic and ecological impacts will manifest.
The effects of drought on people, economies and ecosystems are unimaginable. It is therefore imperative that we understand drought as a risk, the factors that cause it and the mechanisms in which people, economies and ecosystems are exposed and vulnerable. Experts say no two droughts are the same, therefore no single formula for dealing with drought is enough.
As the world continues to warm with the current trajectory beyond 2 degrees Celsius and, if not aggressively mitigated, drought will lead to land degradation and desertification, increasing the fragility of our ecosystems and creating social instability in the process. This will be evident, especially in rural communities.
The Global Assessment Report on Disaster Risk Reduction found that “evidence and strengthened actions are needed in key areas, including risk identification; mapping of vertical and horizontal decision-making modalities, main stakeholders and entry points; financial instruments; and opportunities for financial mobilization. “
The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa) defines drought as “three consecutive months of well below normal precipitation (60% reduction from average) or five consecutive months of below normal precipitation. normal (21-60% reduction from average). “A period of drought means” three consecutive months of below normal precipitation or two consecutive months of well below normal precipitation “, while a dry condition means” have two consecutive months of below normal precipitation “.
According to Pagasa, the annual average temperature in the country has risen 0.65 C since 1951, increasing at an average rate of 0.12 C per decade. It is expected to drop from 1.7 to 3.0 ° C by 2050. Warmer temperatures are expected in all parts of the country by 2050, with rates doubling from 2020 levels. Warming will be worse at Mindanao.
This is causing drastic changes in weather patterns, not only through an increase in the frequency, intensity and duration of floods, but also by an increase in the frequency and intensity of droughts in the face of climate change. Without a doubt, the country has consistently been at the top of the rankings that have suffered the most from global warming. The latest Global Climate Risk Index ranked the Philippines as the fourth most affected country by weather events from 2000 to 2019.
One of the observed impacts of climate change in the Philippines is the change in average annual precipitation. While average annual precipitation over most parts of Luzon and the Visayas is expected to increase by 2050, Mindanao will experience a general reduction in regional annual average precipitation.
Applying the resilience framework
The system-based resilience framework covers four key aspects, namely: physical resilience; ecological resilience; social and institutional resilience; and economic and financial resilience. Physical resilience includes taking disaster risk and climate change into account in the planning, design and construction of infrastructure projects. Measures may include the promotion of policies and guidelines for disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation and mitigation are integrated into local development plans (regional, provincial,), as mandated by law Republic (RA) 9729, also known as the “Climate Change Act 2009”; and the full implementation of RA 6716, also known as the “Rainwater Harvesters and Springs Development Act 1989”, which requires the construction of a rainwater harvesting system. in each barangay (village) to prevent flooding and ensure the continuous supply of clean water during dry periods. season. Ecological resilience includes biodiversity and ecosystem services as part of the overall strategy to help people adapt to climate change and manage disaster risk. harvest, migration of livestock. This will help farmers understand what agricultural activity takes place at what time of year and when certain hazards are likely to occur. Another is that drought tolerant seeds should be distributed so that the threat and impact on farmers’ livelihoods is not high. There would be a good level of confidence to deal with a potential problem of food insecurity. Social and institutional resilience focuses on the human and social dimensions of climate and disaster resilience, and highlights the disproportionate impact on the poor and other vulnerable sectors. Possible interventions include: promoting resilient livelihoods and protecting financial and non-financial assets; improve access to credit and financial protection, for example, extend social protection through 4Ps, also known as conditional cash transfer, which will include areas at high risk due to floods, drought, among others; temporary employment programs, catastrophe and resilience bonds, and microinsurance and loans; and institutionalize an Early Action Fund similar to the pilot project provided by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations during the drought that occurred in 2019. Economic and financial resilience must ensure that financial management residual risk must be robust and effective. Possible actions include: encouraging the agricultural sector to adopt best agricultural practices to reclaim degraded land in an environmental and scientific manner. This includes training farmers on production protocols, ie crop rotation, inputs, technology and management practices; substantial investments in fertilizers, machines and digital agricultural tools. It is essential to identify financial partners capable of providing competitive loans to support farmers under conditions adapted to their economic realities; and insurance of crops, livestock and farm assets to protect and protect farmers.
In all aspects, there should be an increase in knowledge and capacity on disaster preparedness which will lead to how behaviors can be changed to cope with the impacts of climate change; and promoting collaborative leadership to enable stakeholders to work together, share responsibility and build the confidence necessary to tackle the problem.
The author is the Executive Director of the Young Environmental Forum and a non-resident member of the Stratbase ADR Institute. He completed his course on Climate Change and Development at the University of East Anglia (UK) and an Executive Program on Leadership in Sustainable Development at Yale University (USA). You can send him an e-mail at [email protected]