BACKGROUND AND RATIONALE:
The climate change problem is now everybody’s concern. The Government, as the main enabler of climate change response actions, needs to lay out the guidance and actual national actions for all the stakeholders. To this end, it is important for the national government agencies to work in concert with the players (local government units, private sector, civil society, academe, and the youth sector, among them) as an integrated whole to achieve the common outcome(s) of adaptation and resilience, on the one hand, and greenhouse gas (GHG) mitigation towards sustainable development, on the other.
As such, the Government, through the national government agencies (NGAs), needs to have the critical mass of people to catalyze the process of integrated and coherent climate change response. This task requires the appropriate competencies in the lead agencies which, in turn, are expected to issue operational guidance to mainstream climate change responses in the sectors where they operate and their thematic areas of concern. Additionally, they should be able to facilitate the capacity building on climate change of their sectoral constituencies. All citizens are expected to have some level of understanding and knowledge and competencies to be able to respond to the challenges of climate change. This is also true for NGAs, including the DENR.
In view of the intensifying impacts of climate change, the rapid developments in climate change science and state of the art responses needed, it is important for the DENR and the whole bureaucracy, to update their institutional knowledge and competencies, to be able to discharge climate change- related tasks given the current and emerging realities and challenges. For this updated task, at the heart of which is the mainstreaming of climate change in DENR- related mandates, i.e. environment and natural resources management (ENR), operational competencies are required. To develop this institutional capacity would require a deliberate strategy to achieve outcomes within a reasonable timeframe.
PROPOSED CAPACITY BUILDING PROGRAMME
In response to the above context, the DENR will need to implement a structured competency development programme for its staff (notably its Climate Change Service, and the Climate Change Focal Persons at the Central and Regional Offices), systematically executed over a period of three (3) years. It will utilize a set of core modules which can be adjusted in a “fit for purpose” delivery strategy, taking cognizance of the specific knowledge and competency development needs of officials and staff within the DENR bureaucracy. Beyond that, the DENR is also expected to include in this capacity development, its stakeholders with whom they will interact directly and are expected not only to be passive recipients of DENR’s services but active partners in delivering on DENR’s mandate. However, the main challenge in the meantime, is the strengthening of the competencies of officials and staff directly, at the Central and Regional Offices, for a stronger and climate-responsive DENR.
Scope of the Programme
The Programme is expected to cover all aspects of climate change, from the science to the policy responses and state of the art implementation strategies, both globally and domestically. Thematically, it will develop knowledge and competencies for the target trainees on greenhouse gas mitigation and climate change adaptation, and their linkages to disaster risk reduction, resilience building, and sustainable development over time. In terms of functional competencies, the Programme should develop skills for climate related policy development, planning, programming and implementation, in the context of DENR’s mandate and additional tasks, e.g. as Chair of the Cabinet Cluster on Climate Change Adaptation, Mitigation, and Disaster Risk Reduction (CCAM- DRR)
Climate change management being a relatively new field, would need to be understood and operationalized by everyone in the DENR bureaucracy, from its Officials to Middle Managers and Staff, including those in the regional offices and those implementing DENR devolved functions i.e. PENROs, CENROs. As stated above, this capacity building programme should be extended to DENR’s constituencies in the context of climate proofing ENR interventions on the ground. However, this programme does not, as yet cover that target group.
DENR Climate Change Focals, Planning Officers Discuss EbA Mainstreaming
DENR Climate Change Focal Persons and Planning Officers nationwide participated in the Ecosystem-based Adaptation (EbA) Workshop on August 23-24, 2018 at Fersal Hotel, Quezon City. This was assisted by GIZ Philippines.
In line with the goal of capacitating DENR key staff to reinforce EbA mainstreaming, the workshop aimed to ensure that climate change concerns, through EbA, is incorporated into policy, planning and monitoring at the institutional level, and determine the extent of climate responsiveness of the Philippine Master Plan for Climate Resilient Forestry Development Plan 2016-2028.
The two-day workshop consisted of discussions and group activities on topics such as EbA concepts, approaches, principles and the EbA mainstreaming cycle. The group works included EbA Action Learning, exercises on the methodological process and further analysis of the aforesaid Philippine Forestry Master Plan.
The event also highlighted the benefits and importance of using nature-based solutions in adapting to the worsening effects of climate change instead of implementing the usual adaptation options being done such as the construction of grey infrastructures alone without considering other viable options which can be less harmful to the environment.
The programs and plans of action discussed in the workshop will help further increase the resiliency and adaptive capacity of vulnerable communities.
Capacity-building Conducted on Multilateral Processes on Climate Change for DENR Climate Change Focal Persons
Climate change focal persons of central offices of DENR agencies convened at the Capacity- building on Multilateral Processes on Climate Change at Hive Hotel, Quezon City on October 25-26, 2018. This was assisted by the Forest Foundation Philippines, and Parabukas Foundation.
The two-day training was designed to enhance the knowledge and capacity of the central office- based DENR climate change focals, and people assigned in participating and engaging in multilateral processes related to climate change and to be able to relate to their respective mandates and current activities.
The workshop highlighted the provisions of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, Paris Agreement and tasks and commitments of the Philippines under these agreements. It also tackled DENR policies, programs and activities related to climate change adaptation and mitigation, REDD+ and forests, as well as concepts of Loss and Damage and Climate Finance.
The active involvement of the attendees in multilateral processes shall serve as key for proper implementation of climate change adaptation and mitigation programs and/or activities at the national level, which is highly crucial for their role as climate change focal persons.
With the DENR serving as a lead agency on CCAM-DRR, DENR bureaus and other offices, at the central and regional levels, have designated permanent and alternate Climate Change (CC) Focal Persons. The DENR-CCS performs the secretariat functions for the capacity-building program for the DENR CC focal persons, with the DENR HRDS, as guided by DENR Special Order 2017-636. The capability building program aims to guide the CC focal persons in assessing plans and programs in terms of CC and DRR concerns consonance with PDP 2017-2022 and EO 24 (2017), which is the enabling policy for the Cabinet Cluster on CCAM-DRR.
The scope of the capability-building program included:
• Orientation on the concepts, principles and legislative framework for CCAM-DRR; • Training on the mainstreaming/integration of CC and DRR concerns in DENR policies, programs, and projects. The entry points for mainstreaming include planning, policy development, budget and finance, implementation, and monitoring and evaluation; • Training on mainstreaming the Ecosystems-based Adaptation (EbA) approach in development plans; • Training on the use of different CC strategies and approaches in the development of local action plans; • Orientation on the People’s Survival Fund; • Assistance in the formulation of the Plan of Action of CC Focal Persons.
The capacity-building program for 2017 has garnered support from the World Food Programme.
 For DENR, this would be ecosystems and natural resources management and pollution management.
 Including climate science