HANOI, Vietnam — Senator Loren Legarda urged Vietnam, which is as vulnerable as the Philippines to the ill-effects of climate change, to increase its investments in disaster risk reduction and establish effective mechanisms against the impacts of climate change.
Speaking before the 2nd National Forum on Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change Adaptation in Hanoi Vietnam last March 4, Legarda said the effects of climate change have become more evident in Vietnam and the Philippines.
“Extreme weather events, stronger typhoons, heavier rains, more severe floods, and devastating droughts have become recurring events, a common concern for both our countries,” she said.
Citing a recent United Nations report, the Senator pointed out that Asia is the world’s most disaster-prone region, while its people are four times more likely to be affected by disasters caused by natural hazards than those in Africa, and 25 times more likely than those in Europe or North America.
“If there is one development issue then that cuts across all these concerns, it is the twin issue of disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation. And resolving this development issue is today’s most daunting task for all sectors,” Legarda explained.
“The fact is a disaster can be prevented if we consider risk reduction not as a cost but a wise investment. Your country’s investment in mangrove development, reforestation, and community-based disaster risk management attests to your appreciation of this fact,” she added.
In addition, Legarda pointed out the crucial role of political leaders in stopping the rising trend of disaster risk through their commitment, responsibility, and accountability to bring about a safer and more resilient society.
“No conscientious leader would want to see the poor and most vulnerable constantly drawn back by disasters into abject poverty for lack of government action. No responsible politician would want the government to waste millions on public infrastructure that can be instantly destroyed by earthquakes and floods,” she said.
The Senator cited the importance of multi-stakeholder consultative processes such as the recent forum in Vietnam to create an enabling law and the much needed policy environment for more sustainable disaster risk reduction and climate adaptation programs that are supportive of the national development agenda.
Citing the measures engaged in by the Philippine government, landmark legislations were made through the passage of the Climate Change Act in 2009 and Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Act in 2010, she said.