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JICA USA October/December 2010

At World Bank, JICA Researcher Highlights Climate Change Threats to Manila

By Stace Nicholson, Program Officer

During an event held at the World Bank on October 7, JICA’s Ms. Megumi Muto outlined the potential long-term socio-economic and infrastructure impacts of climate change on metropolitan Manila.

PhotoIn her presentation, Ms. Megumi Muto, JICA RI research fellow, described the potential economic and social effects of climate change on Metro Manila.

On October 7, the World Bank hosted an event on the likely impacts of climate change and appropriate adaptation measures for four Asian coastal mega-cities - Manila, Ho Chi Minh City, Bangkok, and Kolkata. The event served as an opportunity to share and discuss the results of a recently released study jointly produced by JICA, the World Bank, and the Asian Development Bank entitled, "Climate Change Impact and Adaptation in Asian Coastal Cities."

As JICA was responsible for conducting the study on Manila, Ms. Megumi Muto, research fellow at the JICA Research Institute (JICA-RI), made a presentation on the outcomes of JICA's research. She explained to officials from the World Bank and interested members of the development community just how vulnerable Metro Manila is to flooding caused by higher surface temperatures and changes in precipitation.

To provide some context for her presentation, Ms. Muto first noted that Metro Manila, the political and commercial capital of the Philippines, is among the most densely populated metropolitan areas in the world with a population of over 11.5 million people. Situated just east of Manila bay, northwest of Laguna de Bay, and dissected by the Pasig and Marikina Rivers, Metro Manila is perilously situated on land that is mostly low and flat.

After detailing the intricate science behind regional climate projections and hydrologic modeling, Ms. Muto then described in stark terms how Metro Manila could suffer as much as a 24 percent decline in its economic output if the area is hit with a 100-year flood and if recommended flood control infrastructure improvements are not implemented.

Ms. Muto also asserted that the social effects of future flooding, although mostly intangible, are just as important to consider. For instance, she suggested that likely increases in sea levels, rainfall, and temperatures could lead to disease outbreaks caused by water borne illnesses.

With the likelihood of widespread damage due to climate change looming, Ms. Muto cited the urgent need to develop adequate flood control infrastructure in and around the 17 individual cities and municipalities that comprise Metro Manila. By doing so, Ms. Muto pointed out that the economic loss emanating from the same 100-year flood could be drastically reduced to just a 9 percent decline in economic output.

In her comments after the presentations, Ms. Inger Andersen, World Bank Vice President for Sustainable Development, applauded the study for being among the first reports to systematically quantify the costs of climate change to urban areas. Mr. Jim Adams, World Bank Vice President for East Asia, also commended the high degree of institutional collaboration promoted by the project, which he believes improved the quality of the research.

To wrap up the event, Mr. Hiroto Arakawa, JICA Senior Advisor, stressed that now is the time for JICA, the World Bank, and the Asian Development Bank to build on this institutional cooperation and undertake joint actions to help these cities mitigate and adapt to the effects of climate change.

The complete study prepared by JICA-RI which assesses the impacts of climate change on Metro Manila is available online at: https://www.jica.go.jp/jica-ri/publication/other/jrft3q0000002aif-att/Impacts_of_Climate_Change_to_Asian_Coastal_Areas_The_Case_of_Metro_Manila.pdf

The full joint report, including the studies on Ho Chi Minh City and Bangkok and an overview on Kolkata, is also available online at: http://go.worldbank.org/P8IU2IW370

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