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Information is the Key

By Danica Marie Supnet

Rational choice theory asserts that decision making is based on coherent calculation of interests and bounded by cognition and accurate information. Rational decision making leads to effective planning and deliver efficient policy mechanisms. Hence, information is the key to effective planning. This is an important aspect in policy decision making that we’ve discussed during our Public Policy class. This is also a relevant analysis that I can relate to the outcomes of the leveling off workshop on mainstreaming climate change adaptation initiatives in local planning convened by the Climate Change Commission (CCC).

I am fortunate to represent iCSC along with Mr. Sly Barrameda of the Department of Interior and Local Government-Local Government Academy (DILG-LGA) as the members of the board who attended the workshop. Representatives from the different local government Leagues in the Philippines, National Government Agencies (NGA), Civil Society Organizations (CSO) were present. Also in attendance are the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) and Global Green Growth Institute (GGGI), international organizations supporting the CCC in this project. The workshop was designed to provide a venue for relevant local and national agencies to share initiatives and guidance in mainstreaming climate change adaptation in local planning and project development, which are essential in accessing the People’s Survival Fund (PSF).

A pressing issue raised during the workshop is the lack of information about the PSF in terms of knowledge on procedures and on project development mechanisms guided by science-based information, such as slow-onset climate change impact scenarios and risk/vulnerability index, which are basic requirements for the PSF. I’ve managed to suggest possible partnership opportunities among local academe, CSOs, and Local Government Units (LGU) to come up with an integrated and programmatic climate change adaptation initiatives. The local academe is in the most strategic position to produce research on climate science data needed by the LGUs to specify a climate-smart project. Furthermore, CSOs can initiate the capacity building component and help in ensuring the accountability of the project.

Without basic information that the localities and communities need, planning a project or program for PSF access is difficult, at the very least—which brings me back to rational choice theory. The absence of accurate information may lead to inefficient planning or even fragmented decision making. With this, the readiness of the localities to access the fund and implement programs will be questionable and may defeat the purpose of the law—to increase resiliency through local climate change adaptation initiatives. Hence, machinery to disseminate the information is highly needed.

The message of the workshop is clear: to identify areas of support, cooperation and synergies in promoting and accessing PSF. Participants suggested the roll-out of information may be coursed through the leagues and NGA programs, and the presence of a board member to speak for the PSF is highly appreciated. PSF outreach is in fact one of the initiatives of iCSC. Our organization has been active lead resource speakers for several PSF writeshops for civil society organizations, local government units, and local academic institutions in different localities in the Philippines. With this, as one action point strategy of the workshop, iCSC was designated to lead together with the PSF secretariat the information dissemination of PSF.

However, a crucial event that we have to watch for is the law’s transition to a new political landscape after the elections. Hopefully, changes will be for the better.