Experts raise need for more environment, poverty-focused policies

By Joann Santiago

MANILA, Sept 9 (PNA) — Development challenges continue to rise worldwide and the Philippines is not immune to this.

For one, calamities are caused by nature but humans have participations in disasters just like what happened when Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) hit Eastern Visayas in November 2013, an international climate change expert said.

Ateneo de Manila University (AdMU) President Jose Ramon Villarin, in a briefing for the two-day Innovation and Learning in a Changing Asia forum being hosted by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) from September 9-10, 2014, said there is a need to adopt an integrated systems approach.

He also cited the need “to strengthen governance and leadership” and the necessity to have an entity like the government “to transfer the risks.”

Good governance is the Aquino administration’s banner program and Villarin said the government’s programs to pursue transparency and address corruption are laudable.

”There has been happenings in transparency and corruption but we need to do more on environment,” he said.

Villarin explained that disasters are “episodic” and “abstract”, thus, the need to “monetize some times to these efforts to get the people to listen.”

“We still have a long way to go. It’s there, there’s consciousness but environment should not just be an appendage, an extension,” he added.

During the same briefing, international climate change expert Mohan Munasinghe said economic development definitely has impact on environment and vice versa.

He cited that “even without climate change we are already doing bad things to the environment.”

“We are facing climate fatigue but if you integrate it into policies it will be more palatable,” the recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize 2007 as Vice Chair Intergovernmental Panel of Climate Change said.

Relatively, Cornell University professor Ravi Kanbur, during the same briefing, said poverty is expected to significantly increase in the next 20-25 years as economies develop.

Thus, the need to address this through investments in education and health of the population.

”(These investments are needed) to make sure that innovations will not benefit only a few but the majority,” the international poverty expert said.

The need for more investments in education was further stressed by international anti-corruption specialist Tony Kwok during the same briefing.

He explained that “there’s no single approach to fight corruption” but equipping people the right education would be a deterrent. (PNA)