TACLOBAN CITY, May 17, 2024 – Officials and representatives from national government agencies and local government units, policymakers, civil society, academia, and the private sector have committed to working together in advancing climate-resilient development in Eastern Visayas.

Organized by the Institute for Climate and Sustainable Cities (ICSC), the Eastern Visayas Summit on Climate-Resilient Development, held from May 14-15 in Tacloban City, brought together stakeholders from across the region to develop community-responsive strategies and implementation plans for inclusive, sustainable, and climate-resilient solutions. 

“Eastern Visayas has long been at the frontline of climate impacts, from devastating tropical cyclones to rising sea levels and unpredictable weather patterns. The region is living proof of the urgent need for action. But your resilience, innovation, and community spirit have driven remarkable progress in the face of these challenges,” said Secretary Robert E.A. Borje, Vice Chairperson and Executive Director of the Philippines’ Climate Change Commission in his keynote address. 

Eastern Visayas is already taking the lead in climate action, with its local governments, communities, and citizens recognizing the importance of integrating adaptation and mitigation into their local development strategies. The Regional Development Plan for 2023-2028, formulated by the Region 8 National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) office, already integrates specific chapters and target outcomes for climate change and energy. In addition, Ormoc City Mayor and Regional Development Council (RDC) 8 Chairperson Lucy Torres-Gomez pointed out that the RDC has “yielded resolutions and action steps that elevate the region’s climate resiliency, such as flood control, renewable energy, and the formulation of a sustainable energy transition roadmap.”

“We, the Filipinos of Eastern Visayas, know all too well that we are more vulnerable to climate change than most areas in the country. Let us make the most of this regional summit, to formulate practical and impactful climate-resilient solutions that we can implement at the soonest time possible. The time to prepare for the effects of climate change is now,” Mayor Torres-Gomez added.

Five out of six provinces in Eastern Visayas are included in the list of most at-risk provinces in the Philippines, namely Samar, Eastern Samar, Northern Samar, Southern Leyte, and Leyte, according to the 2023 Gross Domestic Climate Risk Ranking. The region is particularly vulnerable to extreme weather events like typhoons – notably Super Typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda), which struck in 2013 – as well as slow-onset events such as sea level rise, increasing sea surface temperature, and ocean acidification

Attended by around 200 participants, the multi-stakeholder Summit served as a platform for knowledge exchange, collaboration, and collective action among stakeholders in the region, to establish partnerships, mobilize resources, and develop climate-resilient strategies to support Eastern Visayas communities to survive and thrive. 

Participants in the Summit also signed a declaration, pledging to do their part and work together for a more sustainable, resilient, and prosperous future for the region.

The declaration states, “We affirm our belief that effective climate-resilient development requires the active involvement and collaboration of diverse stakeholders, including government, private sector, civil society, and academia. We commit to further advancing climate-resilient development in the region, and we acknowledge that adaptation and mitigation measures are not trade-offs to economic development but are rather essential components for achieving sustainable and inclusive growth.”

The United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) defines climate-resilient development as the process of building the capacity of communities for climate action, empowering them to integrate adaptation and mitigation in development strategies to enhance their social, economic, and ecological resilience to climate change impacts.

ICSC’s partner communities in the region have also been pioneering and leading in climate action through local development planning, biodiversity and conservation initiatives, research and education, and community-driven renewable energy and low-carbon solutions. 

“Eastern Visayas is a region of opportunities, with its proud people still needing help in many areas of development, and ICSC is in a position to help. People needing help and heeding their calls from a position of capability and privilege is a moral commitment that ICSC will try to take on as long as we can,” said ICSC Executive Director Angelo Kairos dela Cruz.

“What we have witnessed in Eastern Visayas, working with everyone here, is truly incredible and inspiring. Yet, the horizon for our work is much wider than we can imagine – with so much to be done, and so much more that can be done together,” added dela Cruz.

Learn more about ICSC and its partner communities’ work in Eastern Visayas: https://icsc.ngo/portfolio-items/climate-resilient-development-in-eastern-visayas/ 

The Institute for Climate and Sustainable Cities is a Philippine-based non-governmental organization that advances climate, energy, and low-carbon solutions to enable fair and climate-resilient development at the national and international levels.

Sanaf Marcelo, ICSC: media@icsc.ngo, +63 968 886 3466, +63 917 149 5649


Photos (c) ICSC