By Ann Maureen Malaki
Over 100 students, professors, scientists, researchers, local government officials, and non-government organization representatives attended the CCARPH International Conference at Ateneo de Manila University on March 7, 2020. Entitled “Bridging Science-Policy-Practice Nexus through Transdisciplinary Research and Resilience Innovations”, the conference focused on two tracks. The first one was on the presentations by CCARPH research teams and partner-cities on how to deliver multi-stakeholder and transdisciplinary work to inform policy reform, and to strengthen public-private partnerships for resilience. The second track focused on the presentations by Master of Disaster Risk Reduction (MDRR) students’ Capstone Projects on developing risk and resilience.
In his welcome remarks, Fr. Jose Ramon T. Villarin, S.J., PhD, CCARPH Project Holder and Ateneo de Manila University President, highlighted the significance of transdisciplinary groups and going beyond the disciplinal walls to look at the complex reality. He compared science and policy trying to come together to an image of a boat headed towards a waterfall. Science tells people how far they are from the waterfall and how to jump, while policy decides when to jump.
Similarly, Dr. Evangeline Bautista, Dean of the Ateneo de Manila University School of Science and Engineering, reiterated that while science, policy, and practice can each stand alone, bridging these together creates the power to make things happen.
Professor Emeritus Dr. Fabian Antonio M. Dayrit, CCARPH Advisor and Vice President at the National Academy of Science and Technology, discussed the challenges of disaster mitigation in managing the predictable and unpredictable.
CCARPH Project Leader Dr. Emma Porio delivered the keynote speech “Resilience Thinking to Action” of Dr. Hassan Virji, Executive Director of the Global Change System for Analysis, Research and Training (START). Dr. Virji recognized that CCARPH has “created the basis for enhancing resilience at community levels to manage disasters”. He suggested that moving forward, resilience clinics be established in the implementation of Urban Living Laboratories.
Ms. Antonia Yulo Loyzaga, NRC President and CCARPH Co-Principal Investigator also gave a keynote speech on “Public-Private Partnerships for Resilience: Challenges & Opportunities”. According to her, time is an important factor and anticipatory action is necessary for disaster resilience. She added that it is a must to “embrace the wickedness or multidimensionality of problems that require multiple solutions”, and that everyone has a role to play.
The conference subsequently held two parallel sessions. In one session, CCARPH research teams and partner local government units presented the updated findings of their studies and followed by actionable responses from the NRC and Local Government Resilience Councils. The panels were composed of the following thematic transdisciplinary groups: “Interrogating Climate Change and Socio-economic and Health Impacts”, “Mainstreaming Climate Disaster Risk Assessment towards a Resilient Local Government System”, “Air Pollution and Resilience in Katipunan – Killing us Softly?”, and “Tools and Technologies for Climate and Disaster Resilience”.
In the other session, Master of Disaster Risk and Resilience (MDRR) students presented their Capstone Projects. The presentations of the 10 projects were divided into three panels: 1) Disaster Resilience: Frameworks, Indicators and Protocols; 2) Bridging the Gap: Policy, Private Sector, Development, and 3) Alternatives and Solutions for Resilience.
At the conference venue, posters of the CCARPH research teams and capstone projects as well as disaster resiliency technologies of the Ateneo Innovation Center were displayed. CCARPH’s Facebook page and YouTube channel also livestreamed the event.