Climate change is making itself felt all over the world and waking up people and communities to the reality that a new normal has emerged. This new normal has brought upon us extreme weather disturbances in areas where there were once better climate conditions.
In the Philippines, Mindanao—once considered a typhoon-free zone—is now experiencing unusual weather patterns that have caused the destruction of local communities leading to death and heavy damages.
On February 6, around 300 thought leaders from the government, business and civil society sectors, as well as young leaders, will be gathering at the Manila Hotel to discuss the challenges on the future of energy, water and food resources in Asia, climate change as an impact, and societal resilience as a collective aspiration, in a forum called “Powering Progress Together,” organized by Shell. This multi-sectoral conference is currently being held in Rotterdam in Europe and in Houston in the Americas. The first Asian Powering Progress Together is strategically being held in Manila, a timely event in celebration of Shell companies in the Philippines 100th anniversary this year.
“We support this initiative of Shell to promote collaborative action among various sectors to address present and future challenges on our energy, water and food resources,” said Gerry Constantino, vice president for Operations of the European Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines, an advocacy partner for Powering Progress Together.
The forum is also relevant in the wake of Super Typhoon Yolanda, highlighting the importance of various sectors coming together to plan ahead and making the country better prepared and more resilient toward such extreme weather conditions, which are now becoming a usual phenomenon.
“Powering Progress Together does not just talk about impacts and challenges, but also serves as a venue for showcasing inspiring solutions and real examples of collaboration and action,” said Sankie Simbulan, Shell Social Performance manager and organizer of the event.
Among the experts who will share their views in the forum are: Brian Walker (Resilience Alliance and CSIRO, Australia) who will discuss the energy-water-food stress nexus; Energy Secretary Jericho Petilla (DOE) who will talk about sustainable energy sources in the Philippines; Water expert Prof. Brahma Chellaney (Center for Policy Research, India); and Vinod Thomas (Asian Development Bank) who will tackle the impacts of climate change on the food and agriculture sectors. A panel that takes a closer look into the Philippines will be composed of climate scientist Fr. Jose Ramon Villarin (Ateneo), Dr. Gemma Narisma (Manila Observatory), Architect Paulo Alcazaren and Metro Manila Development Authority Chairman Francis Tolentino. The event will be capped by inspiring stories on solutions from Julian Goh (Center for Liveable Cities, Singapore), Willie Smits (Masarang Foundation, Indonesia) and Tony Meloto (GawadKalinga).
Top executives from Shell headquarters, Simon Henry (chief financial officer) and Jeremy Bentham (vice president of Global Business Environment) will be talking about future energy scenarios and natural gas as a cleaner and abundant energy resource.
The Shell Powering Progress Together conference will be moderated by broadcast journalist Ces Drilon and streamed live via Rappler.com.