LEYTE, August 31, 2022 – Students, teachers, and officials of the Visayas State University (VSU) in Baybay City, Leyte, along with representatives from Eastern Visayas civil society and local governments, joined a two-day learning event held at the school last August 25-26, 2022. Their aim: build climate change resilience in the region through science and the arts.
“Climate change is already happening in different regions around the world and on multiple levels. We are all affected, whether we come from rich or from developing countries. Everyone has to participate and do their part,” said Filipina climate scientist and Institute for Climate and Sustainable Cities (ICSC) climate science advisor Lourdes Tibig, one of the main speakers in the event.
The knowledge exchange session, entitled “Klima Eskwela: Climate Science, Adaptation, and the Arts,” was organized by ICSC, The Climate Reality Project Philippines (Climate Reality Philippines), and the VSU Regional Climate Change Research and Development Center (RCCRDC).
“In the Philippines, there is still a disconnect in government systems in terms of adapting to and mitigating climate change. Local communities sometimes lack access to the needed resources. There is no going back regarding the changes happening in the climate system, which is why we have to do whatever we can to contribute to the efforts to address climate change,” Tibig added.
For years, the Eastern Visayas region has been at the forefront of climate impacts, both slow onset impacts – such as sea level rise, increasing sea surface temperatures, and ocean acidification – and extreme weather events. The region was the first to be hit by super typhoon Haiyan (locally known as ‘Yolanda’) back in 2013.
Dr. Eduardo Mangaoang, director of the VSU RCCRDC and member of the National Panel of Technical Experts of the Climate Change Commission, presented their study that aims to bring Climate and Disaster Risk Finance and Insurance (CDRFI)  to Haiyan-affected communities. He pointed out the importance of building on local resources and opportunities, and the need for proper coordination among stakeholders with local governments at the helm, to ensure the effective and sustainable implementation of CDRFI in Eastern Visayas.
“While the idea of insurance for disaster-related purposes is locally appreciated, there is a certain degree of skepticism among locals on its reliability and assurance of claim if ever receivables are due. If CDRFI is to be implemented in the region, we need a simple, doable, and localized process to make it more accessible to all,” added Mangaoang.
Local government, civil society, academia, and youth representatives from Eastern Visayas signed an agreement to put people first and at the center of climate financing, especially those most at risk. “We affirm the primacy of the humanitarian imperative: that action should be taken to prevent or alleviate human suffering arising out of disaster or conflict, and that nothing should override this principle,” they said.
Arts and humanities also play an important role in climate action. In this sphere, the youth have been stepping up, according to Climate Reality Philippines branch manager Nazrin Camille Castro. On the second day of Klima Eskwela, young artists and youth leaders of Baybay City brainstormed ideas for a mural as part of the Poets for Climate project  of the branches of Climate Reality in the Philippines, Africa, and Canada. These leaders will create the mural in the coming weeks.
“We trust that the artists will incorporate what they have learned in the first day of the learning session – including their insights on the latest climate science findings, and the experiences of the most vulnerable sectors in Baybay City – into the mural they will develop and its call to action,” Castro said.
“We could use the recent extreme weather events to put a spotlight on climate change impacts plaguing vulnerable countries, like the Philippines, for many years now. And there is no better way to showcase the similarities, diversity, and connectedness of these lived experiences than through the arts. When we act collectively, we will definitely have a bigger impact,” added Castro.
NOTES TO THE EDITOR
 The research study led by the VSU RCCRDC was done under the global Multi-Actor Partnership (MAP) project, which aims to provide spaces for discussion and discourse around CDRFI. Recently, ICSC organized a workshop for MAP in Asia, where representatives from the Philippines, Lao People’s Democratic Republic (PDR), Vietnam, Indonesia, and Sri Lanka agreed to make climate finance in the region more pro-poor, equitable, and people-centered. For more information, visit bit.ly/AsiaMAP2022.
 Poets for Climate supports the global poetry and arts campaign “When Is Now,” organized by the Climate Vulnerable Forum, ICSC, and The Agam Agenda. To date, it has generated more than 60 poems from around 40 climate advocates across the globe and unveiled murals in the cities of Johannesburg in South Africa, Montreal in Canada, and Iloilo and Isabela in the Philippines to demand for urgent action among global leaders in the upcoming 27th Conference of Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP27). Read more: https://climatereality.ph/2022/07/15/road-to-cop27-murals-in-iloilo-city-and-isabela-city-unveiled-to-demand-urgent-climate-actions-from-world-leaders/.
AC Dimatatac, ICSC: email@example.com, +63 998 546 9788, +63 917 149 5649