posted by Prime Sarmiento

Mexico City – Albay Governor Jose Salceda is urging local officials to work with civil society to help their respective communities to cope with the impact of climate change.

In a speech delivered Sunday at the World Mayors’ Summit on Climate, Salceda stressed that it’s local government officials like the mayors who should lead in implementing climate adaptation measures as they are the “closest and most direct unit of the state to the people.”

The fight against climate change and its impacts is the primordial duty of the state to its people especially to the poor. But it can not do so without the people,” he said, adding, “and the closest and most direct unit of the state to the people is the local government.”

Local officials should also linked up with civil society as they best articulate the people’s interests.

We must put people at the center of any climate action,” Salceda stressed.

Salceda said that the provincial government of Albay has successfully employed this strategy. This allowed the residents of this province, which is known for being disaster-prone, to cope with the adverse impacts of a warmer planets.

Despite the challenge of climate change, Albay has achieved zero casualty in disasters in the past 16 years except 2006 and has attained most of the MDGs (malnutrition, maternal mortality, infant mortality, under 5 child mortality) in 2009 ahead of schedule,” he said.

Apart from close coordination between local officials and civil society organizations, Salceda said integrating climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction in the province’s development agenda helped them in achieving their zero-casualty goal and meet most of the province’s MDG targets. He noted that every year, 9 percent of the province’s annual budget goes to climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction.

The fight remains challenging. But the way forward is promising in local action and local partnerships with civil society organizations,” Salceda concluded.

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