Housing and Land Use Regulatory Board (HLURB) Chairman VP Jejomar Binay approved on Monday, 24 February, the guidelines for action in incorporating measures to reduce disaster and climate change risks into sector-specific policy of land use planning. Present during this historic opportunity were the members of the board of HLURB as well as the Climate Change Commission (CCC). The commission is the implementing agency of Project Climate Twin Phoenix, under which project the said guidelines have been produced while the HLURB provides technical assistance in the preparation of the Comprehensive Land Use Plans.
The supplemental guidelines are intended to provide guidance in updating existing policies on land use planning or in formulating one by factoring in the impacts of disasters and climate change. It will serve as a resource to help local governments formulate comprehensive land use plans and zoning ordinances that regulate allocation and use of land so that exposure and vulnerability to natural hazards of its population, infrastructure, economic activities and the environment can be minimized or even prevented.
“I am glad that the support of our partners does not end with these Guidelines, but will be extended to capacitating HLURB land use planners. Knowledge on risks will provide better options for managing the adverse impacts of disasters which are expected to be more severe with climate change”, HLURB Chairman VP Binay said.
Land use planning is a cost-effective and proactive approach in managing risks brought about by a changing climate. By rationalizing the allocation and use of land, the exposure and vulnerability to natural hazards and disasters of people, assets, and economic activities are systematically reduced.
According to HLURB commissioner Linda Hornilla, “We need to factor in climate change when planning for our cities because we want to ensure that future decisions will be based on the best information available, such as, when we identify future settlement areas where it is safe for our people to live.”
Aside from analysing land suitability and providing recommendations for urban expansion, the supplemental guidelines also provides relevant inputs, approaches, and policy recommendations in the formulation of a risk-sensitive comprehensive land use plan in the context of sustainable development.
Recognizing that there is no one blue-print for the successful integration of disaster risk reduction- climate change adaptation (DRR-CCA) measures into the broader development process, continuous collaboration and consultation with local and development partners shall be conducted to ensure that every comprehensive land use plan formulated is tailor-fitted to the specific needs of the locality involved.
The Supplemental Guidelines on Mainstreaming Climate and Disaster Risks in the Comprehensive Land Use Plan is a product of collaboration, a series of consultations, and lessons-sharing among partners—Housing and Land Use Regulatory Board and other external agencies (i.e. NEDA, DILG and CSCAND agencies), Climate Change Commission, United Nations Development Program (UNDP), and the Australian government, and pilot testing in Opol, Misamis Oriental. It is a major output of the project, “Enabling the Cities of Cagayan de Oro and Iligan and the Provinces of Compostela Valley and Davao Oriental to Cope with Climate Change” or Project Climate Twin Phoenix.