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UN Forum Focuses on Climate Resilience

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During the recent 70th session of the UN General Assembly, ECC’s Vice President for Policy and Government Affairs Felipe Floresca joined heads of state, UN delegates and leaders of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) for a high-level session on Humanitarian Action: A Forward-Looking Agenda. They heard opening remarks highlighting the importance of global climate resilience from UN General Secretary Ban Ki-Moon and Under-Secretary General Stephan O’Brien.

Rene “Butch” Meily and Felipe Floresca at the UN headquartersAmong the panelists speaking at the event was Rene “Butch” Meily, executive director of the Philippine Disaster Recovery Foundation (PDRF). His remarks focused on the importance of building community resilience and ensuring sustainability for those displaced by climate disasters and war-related conflicts. “Fostering sustainability is a core humanitarian intervention that must be designed equitably to protect everyone from climate disasters,” Meily stated.

According to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, “each and every day, an average of 42,500 people become forcibly displaced. In the Philippines, thousands upon thousands become climate refugees in the wake of typhoons and related storms; and in 2013, Typhoon Haiyan was responsible for the deaths and displacement of thousands in the town of Tacloban.

Eco-Resilient Village

Reflecting on the UN session in light of his trip to Tacloban in the Philippines in May of this year, Floresca observed, “The United Nations event underscored the importance of building resilience in vulnerable communities, whether in New Orleans or Tacloban. The idea of an eco-resilient village is a viable way to address climate adaptation and mitigation.” While at the UN last month, Floresca talked to several delegates and NGO leaders about the eco-resilient village concept.

That concept is coming alive in Tacloban, thanks to support from a United States Agency for International Development grant. The funds are enabling ECC to work with the PDRF to build community resilience and develop a prototype eco-resilient village in the post-Typhoon Haiyan Tacloban community, whose residents are being taught to become community environmentalists.

The environmentally-friendly pilot village will feature solar energy, rainwater harvesting, waste recycling and eco-friendly butterfly-shaped engineered housing made from recycled materials.  

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