Panel Discussion during the 4th International Conference on Environment and Forest Conservation

Embark on a journey of insights and expertise, the participants of the 4th International Conference on Environment and Forest Conservation (ICEFC) delved into the critical discourse on climate change and mitigation. This panel discussion was organized on the second day of the ICEFC. It featured discussants who shared their expertise on climate change and mitigation: Engr. Khalid S. Dumagay, CESE, a representative from the Ministry of Interior Local Government, BARMM; Atty. Rhehan Diwas, representative of Mayor Magalong of Baguio City, and Mr. Rey Guarin the Philippines’s Country Representative, Gutter Consulting. The discussion was moderated by Dr. Ramjie Y. Odin.

The panel discussed various topics, including strategies for grassroots engagement in climate resilience, engagement of academia for resilience, and plans to mitigate the potential barriers to climate change. On strategies for grassroots engagement in climate resilience, Atty. Renan suggested initiatives like the Urban Management Plan, Digital Twin in Barangays-plot the most vulnerable communities, Information Education Campaign, practical approaches such as Tree Planting Festival. Engr. Khalid expounded their engagement with local government units in the climate action plan through the Bangsamoro Transition Plan focusing on sustainable development and mobilization for greener practices. Sir Guarin stressed the importance of locally owned, inclusive plans based on community consultation to promote equal access within the community.

On the topic engaging the academe in the pursuit of resiliency, Engr. Khalid highlighted their crucial role in collaboration with them. More so, Atty. Diwas emphasized ways the academic sector can contribute, including involvement in science-driven programs and research, establishing a Local Academic Council on the discussion of Climate Change, and proposing Climate Change frameworks. Sir Guarin further emphasized academia’s significance in adaptation projects, proposing the need to establish Climate Change Council and ecosystem partnership while advocating funding for university research. He emphasized the need to translate academic theories into actionable projects, presenting study results to LGUs tangible implementation.

In discussing plans to mitigate potential barriers to climate change, the panelists addressed challenges they have encountered. These included issues with local climate action plans, partnerships with foreign agencies, standard infrastructure projects, climate change adaptation and mitigation projects in the LGUs, awareness campaigns, access to resources such as climate finance. They emphasized the importance of establishing sustainable finance, innovative in project creation, and relying on science-based, data-driven approaches from both private and government sectors.

In conclusion, the speakers highlighted the significance of appreciating and mitigating environmental issues. Engr. Khalid stressed the importance of local government units in intensifying ecosystem protection. Atty. Diwas emphasized community engagement, the establishment of a clear platform for environmental conservation, and proactive problem-solving. Sir Guarin underscored key takeaways, including operationalizing climate change into local government units, conducting relevant studies, harmonizing policies, building capacity, and fostering partnerships—all crucial steps towards conserving our ecosystem.