How this Philippine city became a role model for resilient cities

The Philippine's financial hub, Makati, has joined Cities Race to Resilience. The city's Mayor, Abigail Binay, explains why joining the campaign has helped the city remain on track with its climate actions in spite of the global pandemic. By Jarita Kassen, Communications Officer: Energy & Climate Change, ICLEI Africa | February 28, 2022

Makati, known as the country’s financial hub, is located in the Philippines’ Metro Manila region. This local government is paving the way by bringing constituents into the sustainability agenda and empowering communities to contribute towards a more sustainable, energy-efficient and resilient city.

One of the key challenges facing the City of Makati is extreme weather conditions; it is either very wet or very dry. Mayor of Makati, Abigail Binay says the city regularly experiences typhoons and heavy rainfall; sometimes a month’s worth of rain will fall over just a few days. When the dry season comes in, temperatures soar and there are often water shortages. The government is investing heavily in infrastructural interventions and actively promotes behavioural change by encouraging communities to conserve water.

A recent risk assessment showed that the city’s major risk areas have changed over the past five years and Makati is now more prone to rockslides. The government has rescue operations, warning systems and disaster kits in place for extreme weather events. The city has modernized its disaster response equipment by setting up a mobile command center in the event that it is not possible to access a command centre when a disaster hits. Even though these systems are in place, the government continues to encourage citizens to take actions to protect themselves.

Where budget allows, the Makati city government incorporates climate adaptation and mitigation actions across departments. The city is currently updating its local climate change adaptation plan, greenhouse gas framework plan as well as its environmental management plan to integrate its net zero by 2050 target. In a further effort to bring constituents into the move towards a more sustainable city, the government has created a Makati Green Building Code to incentivize the construction of more energy-efficient infrastructure and reduce carbon emissions.

The biggest project for the city, to date, is the Makati Subway which will be the country’s first intercity mass transport system. During the construction of the subway a key consideration will be reducing emissions. Though the COVID-19 pandemic brought additional challenges, the City of Makati has not strayed from its climate commitments and it is on track to be adaptive and resilient for any climate change impacts in the city.

Mayor Binay says she joining the Cities Race to Resilience has helped the city remain on track, “the nice thing about the Cities Race to Resilience is that is keeps you focused, because it has a platform available to signatories where resilience experts assess and review your city’s initiatives to ensure you are staying on target. It is a very meaningful global collaboration between partners and fellow leaders.”

By joining the Cities Race to Resilience, the City of Makati has committed to numerous resilience based actions across prioritized sectors, including:

  • Investing in and planning for resilience of the energy grid and renewable energy assets to ensure continuity of services to the community, including the most vulnerable, all critical urban infrastructure and public assets.
  • Expanding access for all citizens to affordable, nutritious plant-based food by 2025.
  • Establishing new and inclusive approaches to governance that embrace a balance between economic and wellbeing values, co-designing the vision and the choices for a comprehensive strategy that integrates climate, social and health objectives.
  • Increasing investment in nature-based solutions and smart low carbon technologies to address water risks i.e. pollution, flooding, drought, leakage etc.

Mayor Binay says the fight against climate change requires global cooperation: “This year there is a call to declare climate change as an emergency. But I think climate change has been an emergency for the past five to ten years. Regardless of whether you are rich or poor, young or old, this is a global issue that needs global collaboration. Even small efforts are better than nothing, because if you put all those together, it amounts to one big effort towards fighting climate change.”

 

 

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