Climate Change Adaptation (CCA) Programme
Strong Climate Change Adaptation (CCA) plans were developed by the municipalities of Sibutu and Sitangkai in Tawi-Tawi. WWF provided technical assistance to two municipal governments by mapping out hazard areas, conducting an inventory of natural and manmade assets, plus providing possible projections for areas, assets and people which might be affected by increased or intensified incidences of climate-induced phenomena. The climate change parameters considered for all areas are sea level rise and increases in sea surface temperatures as well as droughts due to the residents' high dependence on rainwater for their freshwater supplies.
As a result of WWF's presentations, stakeholders identified specific adaptation measures which include structural and engineering adjustments for their stilt communities. Although the two municipalities are highly vulnerable to climate change, the residents of Sitangkai are particularly at risk due to demography and geography as the municipality is composed of small, low lying islands where almost all residents live in stilt houses, half of which are adjacent to islands and the other half being in shallow areas out at sea.
Climate change can have enormous impacts on people's livelihoods for both municipalities, since their economies are based on marine and coastal resources via coastal fisheries and seaweed farming. Having prepared their adaptation plans is but the first step, as there are still many unknowns. The municipal stakeholders must update plans as new information becomes available and as risks are constantly redefined. The measures which must be taken should always be based on the risk by which stakeholders are exposed and their respective capabilities to handle them. Smarter planning will maximize precious resources and focus stakeholder efforts on the protection of assets which are critical for survival and progress.