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We focus too much on episodic disasters, what about the long term impacts of climate change that are equally, if not more devastating?



There are two major classifications of climate change impacts—extreme weather conditions and slow onset impacts. Understanding both is equally important if climate change is to be addressed holistically. Unfortunately for the Philippines, a fixation on episodic or short-term impacts has been observed throughout the years of developing climate change initiatives[1]. Without question, addressing extreme weather conditions and its impacts on lives and livelihoods is important but slow onset impacts should not be set aside simply because they are almost unfelt and difficult to measure. Slow onset impacts of climate change when given enough time and without interventions would result to damages especially on human security and food security to the extent of being irreparable. This hard truth on our changing climate compels action on different thematic areas, an approach on slow onset impacts is ripe as it is critical.

We at the Institute for Climate and Sustainable Cities (iCSC) see and believe that a compelling research will pave the way for a policy recommendation on slow onset impacts. Conducting this research is a good way to jumpstart the discussions between government agencies, civil society organizations, academe, and stakeholders (including but not limited to farmers, fisherfolks, and urban poor) on how Philippines should best approach this issue.  

iCSC works closely with local governments, academic institutions, businesses, and civil society organizations to promote policy innovation and sustainable social enterprise. We are a respected voice in the international climate finance arena, with over four decades of combined experience in the UN climate negotiations.


[1] According to Alexander Müller, FAO Assistant Director General for Natural resources, "Currently the world is focused on dealing with shorter-term climate impacts caused mainly by extreme weather events."

Category of the action


What actions do you propose?

Leading a team of researchers of multi-disciplinary individuals from media outfits, academe, civil society organizations, research institutions, and government policy think tanks to approach the research requirements of slow onset impacts in the Philippines will be critical in the phases of the project.

Phase I- Research phase:  A research team will be created that will be tasked to survey and utilize existing data relevant to slow onset impacts, conduct case studies on selected local government units, and to craft a policy recommendation that will be sent out and shared to line agencies, civil society organizations, and stakeholders.  

The projected shift of the intertropical convergence zone (ITCZ) in 2020 is a potential overarching context during the early stages of the research.  

The report will be comprehensive enough to be used by policymakers, local government units in different parts of the Philippines, and even by fellow climate advocates. In the same manner, it will be a tool to precisely pinpoint the details of slow onset impacts discussions in the Philippines.

Modes of visual and graphical materials that can represent the research's key findings will be considered as well.

The research findings will be tested by collaborating with different academic institutions in the three basic island groups of the Philippines- Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao. The selection of these institutions will be done by surveying institutions with existing climate endeavors.

The research findings will be validated through a round table discussion between the research team, line agency representatives, academe, local government representative, civil society representatives, and stakeholders.

Phase II- Research Publication and distribution: The results of the discussion will be integrated to the report; final adjustments to the working report will be considered and integrated before publishing. Policymakers and line agency working on climate-related and climate-sensitive endeavors will be the prioritized parties during the distribution of the published reports. Several media releases will be made to increase the profile of the discussion, including an online infographic campaign on slow onset impacts.


Phase III- Integration to Existing Policies: Discussions with critical line agencies such as the Philippine Climate Change Commission, Department of Agriculture, and Department of Finance will be framed according to the report’s findings and recommendations. It is hoped that this research will be a central reference in the operationalization of the People’s Survival Fund. 

Who will take these actions?

The Institute for Climate and Sustainable Cities will identify the members of the research team. The team will then decide on the best approaches to fulfill the research objectives. 

The desk of the iCSC's policy coordinator will take the lead in identifying partners, research sites, among other network-related work in the project.

Administrative aspects of the project will be taken care of by iCSC's administrative and finance team. 

Where will these actions be taken?

Majority of the research will be conducted in Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao (Philippines' three major islands) to ensure that the research will capture a holistic view of the problems as well as the solutions. Academe partners will also be chosen according to its presence in these islands. Existing research and captured correspondence from international events and circumstances will also be used in the research.

The location of the round table discussion will be identified according to the most logistically-sound option. 

What are other key benefits?

What are other key benefits?

The key benefits of this research is that it can serve as major reference in framing the Philippine government's approach on adaptation such as in the operationalization of the People’s Survival Fund.


Philippine delegation's position during international climate discussions will also be supplemented by this research. The popularization of the concept of "loss and damage" in CoP can be further developed through this research. 

Ultimately, this research is meant to be shared to other countries and groups. Synergy on tackling slow onset impacts can start from the action points to be identified by this research. 

What are the proposal’s costs?

The major costs of the project will fall on research costs, which include field work and tedious research. An estimate of the costs is listed below (please note that this is according to the contest’s current prize):

Research expenses

(travel, meeting, and communication expenses)------------------------ US$6,000

(US$1,500/ researcher X 4)


RTD expenses------------------------------------------------------------------ US$ 2,000                                                                                                                 (US$1,000/ RTD X 2)


Publication expenses------------------------------------------------------- US$2,000

                                                            (US$1,000 per 200 copies of a 30-40 page report)                                                                                      

                                                                                                Total: US$10,000


The 10,000 USD will be complemented with other sourced funds if ever funded. 

Time line

Time Period

Phase of the Research

December (2012)- June (2013)

Phase I

June (2013)- September (2013)

Phase II

September (2013)- December (2013)

Phase III


Beyond December (2013), this report is expected to become a central component of policymaking on climate-related issues and as a benchmark for complementary researches on slow onset impacts. 

Time line

Time Period

Phase of the Research

Phase I:  December (2012)- June (2013)

Phase II:  June (2013)- September (2013)

Phase III:  September (2013)- December (2013)


Beyond December (2013), this report is expected to become a central component of policymaking on climate-related issues and as a benchmark for complementary researches on slow onset impacts. 

Related proposals

A similar proposal is submitted to one European funding agency. Funds from this project, if ever granted will be blended with that one; therefore creating more resources available for the research. Upscaling the research will be a top priority in that case. 


Harmeling, S., & Eckstein, D. (2012). Global Climate Risk Index 2013: Who Suffers Most from Extreme Weather Events? Weather-related loss events in 2011 and 1992 to 2011. Bonn: Germanwatch.

Siegele, L. (2012). Loss & Damage: The Theme of Slow Onset Impact. Climate Development and Knowledge Network.

UN-Food and Agriculture Organization. (2011, March 31). Potentially catastrophic climate impacts on food production over the long-term. Retrieved June 06, 2013, from FAO :