‘Climate Resilience Needs Collaboration, Communication,’ Panelists Said at the First KomunidadXchange Fireside Chat

Building climate resilient communities and industries is a collective responsibility, from everyday citizens to government officials.

This is what speakers at the recently held KomunidadXchange Fireside Chat series on “Empowering Resilient Communities with Early Warnings” highlighted during their panel talk.

Komunidad Impact Director Kaye Sangalang noted that building resilience always starts at the grassroots.

“Capacitating the communities with the right tools, skills, and resources will empower them to take decisive action and lead disaster preparedness and response in their locality,” Sangalang said. “Collaboration between the government, private sector, and the public is key to achieving inclusive community resilience.”

Komunidad can help foster collaboration among like-minded sectors. Sangalang said that they can facilitate and convene communities of practice, “bridging the gap between scientists/technical experts and communities and providing platforms for collaboration and communication.”

Involving the community in initiatives to build climate resilient localities has been crucial to Marikina City’s development, its Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office chief Dave David said. “All the great programs the government is investing in are nothing if the communities are not involved,” he shared during the panel talk held in Makati City on March 29.

He recalled a time when he was asked what the Marikina local government unit had been doing to build the city’s resilience. “We define Marikina as a partnership between the government and the community. Everybody should be involved,” he said.

Myles Delfin from The Bike Scouts Project has seen first-hand the significance of networking and collaboration, as this serves as the backbone of their cycling community’s initiative to help people and the planet.

But Delfin pointed out that the willingness of the community to help will falter if there is no sufficient support. “Every year, whenever there is a disaster, the volunteers and responders are called. It’s saddening since they have to find allowance and support for gas, food, equipment, etc. despite being on the frontlines,” he said.

“We know that since every time there is a disaster, Bike Scouts is the one who broadcasts real-time information using Facebook and other means,” Delfin added.

Marielle Anne Alemania, associate vice president for the Meteorological Sciences Division of the youth organization Earth Shaker, emphasized the significance of volunteer-given information and participation in preventing natural hazards from turning into disasters.

By broadening the dissemination of information on weather reports and class suspensions, Alemania believes that the group’s efforts can raise awareness and promote resilience. 

However, she also recognized the limitations of their campaigns and said that their initiatives require complementing response efforts from government agencies that have greater capacity to respond on the ground.

Fred Dalumpines, League of Corporate Foundations Committee on Disaster Resilience, said that public-private partnerships can be instrumental in cascading technology and resources to the communities.

“Resilience is already an investment now. Risk and resilience are investments and no longer just projects anymore,” he said. “Without an investment in technology, can we really mitigate and reduce risks?”

Adding to this, Marikina City’s DRRMO chief David also stressed the importance of understanding the technology being provided to communities, such as rainfall gauges and alert levels indicating the water level of the Marikina River during storms. 

He added: “The government cannot do it alone. There’s no monopoly in disaster management. Everybody should do their share. We should be all hand-in-hand, working towards disaster resiliency.”

Komunidad’s main objective in organizing the Fireside Chat series was to provide a platform for continuing discussions on climate innovation and foster collaboration among different sectors to build climate-resilient communities.

The second installment of the series will focus on education and will be held on June 28. Eco-tourism-centered forums will be the highlight of the third event, set for September 27, while agriculture will be the theme of the fourth and final installment this year, slated for December 20.

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