Climate Change Impacts and Adaptation on Philippine Coasts

The Philippine archipelago, which has one of the longest coastlines in the world, will not be spared of the adverse impacts of sea-level rise and extreme climate events that are expected to happen in a warmer world. This study aims to review climate change impacts on Philippine coastal communities and to set directions for possible adaptation measures on both local and national levels. The erratic changes in the climate system have affected various coastal ecosystem and communities. Among which coral bleaching, changes in
productivity, changes in plankton dynamics, alterations in seagrass and sea weed reproduction patterns, shoreline erosion and retreat, changes in trophic dynamics as well as aggravation of marine diseases are just a few. Apparently, the most significant impact is on coastal fisheries yield and community welfare. Existing climate change initiatives in the country include Integrated Coastal Zone Management System (ICZM), coastal policies and regulations (e.g. Fisheries Code), disaster management strategies among others. However, there is lack of integration for these initiatives in the context of climate change. Several points were raised as suggestions and solutions. An improved network of strategies should be created and a multi-sectoral approach should be adapted. Macro and micro-level adaptation measures should be defined and evaluated to ensure effective dissemination and implementation. The national government embodies the authority for governance and policies. On the other hand, local government should focus on implementation in collaboration with the academe (technical support), non-government organizations (advocacy, information, education and communication), private, and financial institutions (financial assistance). Recent observations on climate change impacts are sufficient evidence to raise this issue as a national concern. Recognizing and accepting that climate is indeed altering the planet is crucial and a change of mindset should begin within us.