Partnering with the private sector in the Philippines
Dr Rodel D. Lasco, coordinator of the Centre’s Philippine program, explains the partnership with the Oscar M. Lopez Center for Climate Change Adaptation and Disaster Risk Management Foundation Inc.
‘Filipinos have little choice but to adapt to the effects of climatic change and natural disasters’, said Dr Rodel Lasco during an International Rice Research Institute Thursday Seminar in Los Baños, Philippines.
His presentation, ‘Engaging with the Private Sector in the Philippines: ICRAF and OML Center Collaboration on Climate Research’, explained the nature of the partnership between the World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF) Philippines and the Oscar M. Lopez Center for Climate Change Adaptation and Disaster Risk Management Foundation Inc (OML Center), which benefited climate research in the country.
The Philippines is highly vulnerable to climate change. Climate-related risks and disasters threaten the nation’s aspiration to develop sustainably, however, science and technology can enhance the resilience and coping capacity of the country. This means science-based information is needed to develop solutions for adaptation to, and mitigation of, climate change. To achieve maximum efficiency and impact, it makes sense for scientists to join forces with other sectors of society. Not surprisingly, people from other sectors, such as business, sometimes feel the same way and take steps to make it a reality.
For example, the First Philippine Holdings Corporation, which is a member of the Lopez Group of Companies, established the OML Center in 2012 to honour its chairman emeritus, Oscar M. Lopez, illustrating how the private sector is beginning to show more interest in climate research and in working with others.
This bodes well for this critical field of research because the private sector represents a potentially large source of funding. In but one example, the OML Center awards grants to research proposals that focus on how to practically help the most vulnerable communities deal with the impacts of climate change. Since 2013, 17 grants have been awarded, three of which were thesis grants for MS and PHD students while 14 were research grants.
Building networks and partnerships is also a core activity of the OML Center, recognising that to develop useful solutions for mitigation and adaptation, local and international networks need to be of high quality and wide reach, a prime example of which is the partnership with ICRAF Philippines. This is manifested in the first instance through Dr Lasco, the ICRAF Philippines program coordinator, who also acts as the scientific director of the OML Center. This arrangement allows for synergy of research, ensuring they complement, rather than duplicate, one another.
The partnership also enhances ‘buy in’ from national policymakers, not only for research on climate but also on trees and agroforestry, through facilitating links.
The OML Center is only one organization in the private sector. More likely there are many others that could help forward not only climate, but also agroforestry, research. Although they could encounter challenges, research institutions could still learn a lot from their colleagues in business.
A story on the importance of collaborating with the private sector describes how agroforestry research benefited from working with business.
This work is linked to the CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry