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Climate group boosts LGUs’ resilience and disaster preparedness

Manila Observatory partners with Shell for AWS
Manila Observatory partners with Shell for automated weather stations in coastal cities

The Manila Observatory has forged an agreement with Shell companies in the Philippines, together with Smart Communications, in boosting climate resilience and disaster preparedness of local government units (LGUs) across the country.

This will be achieved with the expansion of Manila Observatory’s network of Automated Weather Stations (AWS), an established system of stand-alone devices that can accurately record temperature and humidity, solar radiation, wind speed and direction, as well as rainfall.

The Manila Observatory is the Philippines’ oldest earth system science research institute. On its 150th year, the non-profit institution is advocating a new model of evidence-based, public-private partnership to advance resilience in exposed and vulnerable coastal cites.

In Metro Manila, the Manila Observatory currently has an AWS network that covers an approximate area of 625 kilometers. With the installation of additional AWS points in coastal cities, the information gathered will enhance Manila Observatory’s urban risk and resilience analysis, as well as its regional and local climate system research.

Shell is supporting the installation of a total of 50 weather stations concentrated across Iloilo City in the Visayas, and in Davao City and Cagayan de Oro City in Mindanao, utilizing its gas stations and oil depots as sites in order to achieve strategic reach for the AWS network. Smart, as telecommunications partner, will provide the technology in data transmission in each coastal city.

Near real-time weather data will provide situational awareness to local partners and to the analysts at the observatory. To further enhance the use of local data, a technical support and research partnership has been formed with the University of the Philippines–Visayas. The AWS network will directly benefit the respective LGUs in their climate and disaster resilience planning.

“We are extremely excited by this partnership with Shell,” stated Antonia Yulo-Loyzaga, executive director of the Manila Observatory. “Shell’s support is very critical because it provides access for weather station sites that allow us to collect the data most needed in analyzing hazards and risk. Shell’s leadership in supporting evidence-based public-private partnership enables the team to provide a public service by sharing accurate weather data with communities surrounding the sites. Moreover, it provides opportunities to generate new knowledge through scientific research on climate, and risk and resilience in coastal cities.”

“These coastal cities are vital to socio-economic and ecological resilience,” she added. “They are sites of investment in infrastructure that link them to the national economy, through the services they provide, as well as employment and livelihood for local and migrant populations. All these, however, make them both exposed and vulnerable to extreme events.”

In Iloilo, 10 Shell sites have already been identified for AWS installation, which include nine Shell gas stations and Shell’s oil depot at Lapus Terminal. The climate resilience seminar will likewise be brought to Davao and Cagayan de Oro when the next batch of AWS units are installed. The remaining AWS units will be placed in strategic sites of Shell across the country. The complete Shell AWS network is set to become operational within the year.

For its part, Shell is privileged to participate in an initiative that contributes to capacity-building of LGUs under the framework of a multi-sectoral collaboration. “These projects are very much in line with our advocacy on sustainability, particularly urban and environmental resilience,” explained Sankie Simbulan, Shell Social Performance Manager and Lead for Shell’s Powering Progress Together (PPT) projects.

The PPT is a global dialogue on sustainable development fostered by Shell that engages thought leaders and action-makers from the public, private and civil society sectors. The PPT is a venue that primarily discusses the studies and findings of the Shell Scenarios group, which spearheads the company’s practice of exploring plausible alternative visions of the future to help test and strengthen its current business decisions.

With experience in scenario-building for more than 40 years, Shell’s current focus is on building smarter cities of the future, one method of which is by ensuring climate resilience. “Shell being a leader in power, energy and gas technology, continuously advocates to make best use of our world resources and to enable sustainable development of the communities and nations we live in,” concluded Simbulan. “With projects such as the AWS with Manila Observatory, we hope to illustrate that collaboration and partnership is possible in powering sustainable progress.”

Image Source: Jed Patrick E. Mabilog (Facebook)

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