Recognizing the need to take immediate and concerted action to address the impacts of climate change, local and international biodiversity experts underscored the importance of nature-based solutions in building better climate change resilience for countries in the ASEAN region.

The Summer Capital’s Burnham lake boating will be among the attractions in Baguio City which is expected to again see life as the tourism industry opens on September 22. The Ridge and Reef tourism bubble with the provinces of La Union, Pangasinan, Ilocos Sur and Ilocos Norte will allow exchange of tourists between and among said places following a guideline that incorporate, safe, slow and sure rules. Photo By Zaldy Comanda
(Photo By Zaldy Comanda / FILE PHOTO / MANILA BULLETIN)

“There is no denying that climate change and its severe impacts on the environment and our lives and well-being are already here. We can no longer keep this to our back burner as this issue cuts across the present challenges that hound us today. The far-reaching consequences of climate change disrupt our daily lives and stunt our development,” ASEAN Center for Biodiversity (ACB) Executive Director Theresa Mundita Lim said at a virtual event titled “Biodiversity and Building Resilience to Impacts of Climate Change in ASEAN” that was held on Wednesday.

“ASEAN countries, especially in the past few months, have experienced stronger and more disruptive typhoons that came one after the other, leaving people dead and destroying millions worth of properties. Indeed, this climate crisis is one of the main culprits that drive the loss of nature,” she added.

Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Assistant Secretary and concurrent Biodiversity Management Bureau Director Ricardo Calderon observed that the five strong cyclones that hit the country have caused massive flooding and river swelling “despite the well-managed protected areas with the average forest cover of 75 percent.”

“It simply means that our natural ecosystems cannot anymore absorb this kind of extreme rainfall-type events. And the impact, as far as the community is concerned, to the natural resources including the wildlife is very severe and very difficult to recover,” Calderon pointed out.

Filipino climate scientists of the Climate Change Commission (CCC) in an earlier statement confirmed that 2020 tropical cyclones, such as super typhoon Rolly and typhoon Ulysses, had certain characteristics that may have imprints of a changing climate.

The CCC National Panel of Technical Experts highlighted the need to conduct further studies on the changing behavior of tropical cyclones, translation of scientific data on climate change and its impacts on actionable information that will be useful on the ground, and enhanced cooperation among the national government agencies, local government units, and the scientific community on the implementation of climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction measures, which are now more timely and relevant.

Also during the webinar last Wednesday, Dr. Isabelle de Lovinfosse, head of Southeast Asia 26th Conference of Parties (COP26) Strategy, British High Commission, discussed the United Kingdom’s planned key campaigns for COP26.

She talked about the country’s plans on closing the ambition gap to address the Paris Agreement’s three pillars–to increase the level of ambition by governments and non-government actors; to mobilize international climate finance from donor countries and the private sector to support other countries; and to increase efforts that are devoted to domestic and international acceleration in support of ASEAN economies and communities.  

“Climate and biodiversity are forever closely interdependent. Climate change is already impacting biodiversity losses and ecosystem damage. And the same human activities are the drivers of both issues, like unsustainable land use, deforestation, intensive agriculture, and natural resource destruction. Nature-based solutions are not the only solutions to climate change problems, but they have a large role to play,” De Lovinfosse said.

Dr. Nagulendran Kangyatkarasu, Deputy Secretary-General of Malaysia’s Ministry of Environment and Water said they are choosing to use this time as an opportunity to come up with more robust solutions to address the impacts of climate change in relation to biodiversity.

Source: Manila Bulletin (