|Pasig City Flood During Typhoon Ondoy / Ketsana|
Photo from post-ondoy.blogspot.com
A fragile state may be characterized by weak state institutions, unstable political arrangement and internal armed conflict. In these times of climate change where risk hazard for citizens are increasing, fragile states may find their problems intensify. A fragile state has minimal or no mitigation and adaptation policies for the effects of climate change, and in the event of a calamity, will most likely fail to deliver basic services to those who need it.
The Philippines is an example of a fragile state. State institutions are inefficient, laws are not taken seriously by its citizens and more than 4 decades of armed conflict that challenges the legitimacy of the state itself.
|Metro Manila flooding brought by Typhoon Ondoy / Ketsana|
Photo from news.nfo.ph
In itself, the state is already weak regardless of climate change. The potential of climate change to deliver devastating effects will aggravate the cracks in the already fragile state and may end up in the breakdown of social order.
Good governance is the simple answer to the problem. However, good governance is a complex web of activities and actors that makes it a challenge.
A comprehensive and long term policy on both climate change and economy are necessary tools for the strengthening of the state. Government must go beyond the thinking that economic development comes first before the environment. Our natural and human resources are our nation’s wealth, and a comprehensive policy is mandatory for the management of both. A comprehensive policy takes time to implement and its effects may also take time to be seen so continuity is equally important.
There must be an emphasis on the equitability characteristic of a policy. That we have the majority of our people at high risk due to poverty must be recognized and the policy properly targets this sector. The comprehensive policy must be designed sensitive to the marginalized sectors.
With a new administration and renewed call for peace talks with armed groups such as the Moro Islamic Liberation Front and the National Democratic Front, all parties must consider the climate change issue and its socio-economic effect as an agenda in the talks.
Policy making, and its implementation need sufficient funding. The Philippines must invest in scientific research on the direct and indirect effects of climate change in the country. Data are invaluable in the design of a long-term comprehensive policy for climate change mitigation and adaptation.
The Philippines is at risk in the aspects of economy and politics making it a fragile state. Poverty is the huge crack that makes us fragile and climate change may deliver the last blow before we fall into pieces. It is necessary to find that glue, a long term comprehensive policy with good governance, to mend the pieces.
1. Manila Observatory (2010), A Technical Primer on Climate Change in the Philippines
2. Smith D. and Vivenakanda, J. (2009), Climate Change, Conflict and Fragility: Understanding the Linkages, Shaping Effectiveness Response. International Alert. London.