Farmers and government partners forge new pathways paved by the success of NAP-Ag in the Philippines
28 February 2020, Manila, Philippines – As the NAP-Ag programme came to a close in the Philippines in December 2019, government partners were brought together to share insights with key stakeholders, and reflect on the outcomes achieved over the past four years. During the two-day event, representatives from the Department of Agriculture (DA), the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Admininstration (PAGASA), Department of Environment and Natural Resources, National Economic Development Authority, the Climate Change Commission, together with FAO and UNDP, took part in an outcome harvesting workshop, followed by a closing workshop for the NAP-Ag programme.
In the outcome harvesting workshop facilitated by the FAO Office of Evaluation, participants identified the major milestones and outcomes during the implementation of the NAP-Ag programme. They found the methodology stimulating especially for its potential use for adaptive learning and to improve implementation strategies. The group highlighted that contextual factors, such as the El Niño event of 2017 and the restructuring of government agencies, played major roles in either accelerating or delaying implementation. The workshop also prompted stakeholders to evaluate the place of various stakeholders within different spheres of influence of the programme, giving insights for future programme development, as well as monitoring.
The closing workshop on the second day used the opportunity to further bridge the gap between farmers and planners. Thirty farmers and members of civil society organisations were invited to Manila to join in on the half-day roundtable session to discuss how they can be better supported to adapt to climate change. Farmers described an increase of extreme weather events (such as prolonged drought, flooding or high winds) that have led to increasing soil salinity, need for better irrigation, the unpredictability of the planting season, and decreases in yields across the country. They called for improved climate information, as well as improved capacities for pest management, use of alternative varieties, more consultation, as well as better regulation around climate-resilient organic farming.
To close the four-year programme, the different agencies presented how they were moving forward with the process of adaptation planning and coordination for resilience of the agriculture sectors. Some of the major achievements include:
- Enhancement of climate products to support feasibility and development of national climate information system for agriculture and fisheries: The PAGASA built the capacity of its technical staff to improve methodologies, data manipulation, visualization, and prediction skills.
- Incorporated climate change adaptation priorities into key sectoral policies and strategies: Climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction management were integrated into the Agriculture and Fisheries Modernization Plan, which directly responded to the Philippines Development Plan and Vision 2040, and its international commitments, such as the Sustainable Development Goals.
- Strengthened integration of climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction management (DRRM): The programme supported the establishment of a Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Operations Center in the Department of Agriculture Central Office that now serves as an operating arm for technical and operational support in the planning, implementation, and monitoring of DRRM activities in agriculture and fisheries.
- Enhancement of government capacities in gender-mainstreaming in planning and programming for the agriculture sector: Selected partner local government units participated in an intensive coaching session on gender mainstreaming, which they applied to their planning and programming processes.
It was acknowledged that the programme has begun important work and spawned new initiatives within the Department of Agriculture. A roadmap for adaptation planning in agriculture is expected to conclude the NAP-Ag contributions in the Philippines, presenting a clear way forward for all stakeholders to build on this wealth of work.