Ecotown project launched in Guiuan
GUIUAN, Eastern Samar — As a means to localize the implementation of the national climate change framework strategy, the Climate Change Commission (CCC) has launched its “eco-town framework” in this municipality, the first in the entire Visayas.
CCC Commissioner Naderev M. Saño said the setting up of eco-towns is a local implementation mechanism in the National Climate Change Action Plan (NCCAP) which provides direction for sustainable economic growth for 2011 to 2028.
“At the local level, implementation of the NCCAP will be packaged using the concept of ecologically stable and economically resilient towns or eco-towns,” Saño said.
An eco-town is a planning unit composed of municipalities or a group of municipalities located within and in the boundaries of critical key biodiversity areas, highly vulnerable to climate change risks due to its geography, geographic location, and poverty situation.
Saño said the province of Eastern Samar is one of the 10 poorest provinces and is susceptible to strong typhoons and rises in sea level, the intensity and frequency of which might increase due to climate change.
“We need to ensure that this threat will not result to loss of lives and economic slowdown,” Saño added.
Other local government units that were chosen as eco-towns include Siargao Island in Surigao del Norte; the entire province of Batanes; San Vicente town in Palawan; and Marikina City. The provinces of Bohol and Romblon will follow within the year.
“We are providing technical assistance to local government units for them to craft their local climate change adaptation plans. We will also incorporate all the best practices that need scaling up. Our goal is to build climate change resilient communities and local economy through poverty reduction and ecosystem protection,” Saño added.
Under the memorandum of agreement, CCC will prepare a work plan to be accompanied by technical and financial assistance to help the local government unit enhance existing plans to make it climate change resilient.
The local government unit of Guiuan, on the other hand, will provide assistance together with necessary data, services and facilities to the CCC in the implementation of the framework.
Mayor Annaliza G. Kwan said the project will greatly benefit the municipality as it aims to increase the resiliency and adaptive capacity against the adverse effects of climate change.
Mayor Kwan added that being on the eastern seaboard, Guiuan is very prone to natural calamities but is a protected landscape and seascape because of its rich fisheries and aquatic resources.
“Through this project, we will be able to manage, conserve and utilize these resources and help our residents cushion the effects of climate change,” Kwan said.
The municipality of Guiuan is a second class municipality composed of 60 barangays. Clustered around the municipality are numerous islands and islets such as Homonhon, Manicani, Calicoan, Tubabao, Sulangan, Suluan and Victory.
After Guiuan town, CCC will also declare more environmentally friendly towns in Eastern Samar such as Borongan City, Can-avid and Dolores. Saño said each eco-town will receive P2.5 million.
“After we establish our five pilot areas, more eco-towns will be established in the countryside in the coming years,” Saño said.
“Within two years of time frame indicated in the agreement, the project will review the bio-physical attributes of the municipality in preparation for an ecosystem assessment on any of its watershed, agriculture, coasal resources, and land uses,” Saño added.
“Local economies and rural population are generally natural resource dependent and ecosystems provide goods and services need for economic resilience. Maintaining a healthy and stable ecosystem and natural resource base sustains livelihoods and the local economy,” Saño stressed.
By REYAN ARINTO
(With a report from ROEL AMAZONA)
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