Archive for resilience

Disaster Recovery Lessons: Top Topic at the WTTC Japan Global Summit

Posted in Conventions & Exhibitions, Environment, Events, News, Lifestyle, Good Governance, Responsible Travel, Sustainable Tourism, Travel with tags , , , , , , , , , on April 3, 2012 by Sustainability Guru

Sustainability Guru Asia Pacific was honored to attend The Japan Recovery and Asia Outlook Forum Sendai (in association with PATA).

 

Sendai City. Photo courtesy of Sendai Tourism & Convention Bureau

Sendai City. Photo courtesy of Sendai Tourism & Convention Bureau

 

A year after the Tohoku region was devastated by the earthquake and tsunami of 11 March 2011, the World Travel and Tourism Council Global Summit opens with the Japan Recovery and Asia Outlook Forum (in association with PATA) in Sendai City, the provincial capital of the Miyagi Prefecture and a focal point of last year’s disaster recovery efforts. The World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) fully supports Japan in this recovery process, and as a mark of the commitment to this expressed by its Members, has decided to open its 2012 Global Summit in Sendai, followed by a plenary Global Summit session in Tokyo.

Given the events of the last decade from America on September 11 2001 to Japan on March 11 2011, dealing with the unusual is increasingly becoming business as usual in the Travel & Tourism industry.

According to the Annual Global Climate and Catastrophe Report published by Impact Forecasting, 2011 was one of the most active years on record in terms of instances of natural catastrophes.

So, what are the best ways to manage a crisis? This session will look at how the Tohoku region, other countries, and the Travel & Tourism industry have handled crisis management. Reflecting on the earthquake and tsunami of 11 March 2011:

What is the progress update for Tohoku?

What has been achieved in terms of infrastructure redevelopment and what lessons have been learned?

How has the nuclear situation in Tohoku been managed?

How have other countries responded to and recovered from crises?

How have members of the Travel & Tourism industry dealt with crises such as terrorism, pandemics, the Icelandic ash cloud, natural disasters, and political uprisings?

How do news anchors cover a crisis and what is the importance of communications in marketing your way out of disaster?

Sendai Airport_3/11

Sendai Airport_ 3/11.Photo courtesy of Telegraph UK.

These questions and more will be answered by speakers including news anchors and representatives from Japan Association of Travel Agencies, the Pacific Asia Travel Association, major airlines, hotels and cruises.

Highlighting Hiraizumi, Matsushima and Sendai, after the disaster on the road to recovery.

Ninety minutes’ drive from Sendai brings visitors to the UNESCO World Heritage sites at  Hiraizumi – home to the Chusonji temple precinct , and the fabulous  Konjiki-do (Golden Hall) of Chusonji Temple, the first National Treasure Building in Japan, built in 1124. Before leaving  Hiraizumi, guests will appreciate the sight of the unparalleled Jodo Gardens and visit the Arahama area affected by the earthquake in Sendai.

Sendai before & after tsunami by NY Times.

Sendai before & after tsunami by NY Times.

An alternate tour, Matshushima. After visiting the Arahama area affected by the earthquake in Sendai, guests can visit Matsushima –  a small bay dotted with more than 260 pine-clad islands beautifully, and one of Japan’s celebrated “Three Views”.

Visit Japan campaign.  Today Japan is taking a united stand against the challenge of the tremendous damage caused by the 2011 Tohoku-Pacific Ocean Earthquake followed by the massive tsunami on 11 March 2011, and by the nuclear power plant accident triggered by the tsunami.

Sendai Cherry Blossom Viewing.

Sendai Cherry Blossom Viewing.

Following the earthquake and tsunami in March 2011, WTTC commissioned its research partner Oxford Economics to develop scenarios for the recovery of Japan’s Travel & Tourism. These scenarios are updated on a quarterly basis.

The scenarios, based on research into the recovery times of previous crises, now show that recovery has been in line with the lowest impact scenario and that domestic and international tourism is returning to normal quicker than expected.

Sendai City itself, although in parts affected by flooding following the tsunami, is now wholly prepared to host the Global Summit.

For more information visit the websites of:

Japan’s Tourism Information Websites

Japan National Tourism Organization

Tokyo Convention & Visitors Bureau

Tokyo Metropolitan Government

Miyagi Prefecture Tourism Division

Sendai Tourism & Convention Bureau

Source: World Travel & Tourism Council.

Watch the awesome video of Sendai Road to Recovery – click here.

Sustainability Guru Asia Pacific supports the World Travel & Tourism Council’s Environment Initiative, with its Sustainable Tourism programs and projects in the Philippines: The Coron Initiative , The Boracay Initiative & The Negros Initiative . Environmental, Social,  Good Governance & Resilience Capacity building programs  & training include Disaster Preparedness & Management for both public and private local stakeholders/proponents. Sustainability Guru Asia Pacific is working towards green economy for the grass roots, in cooperation with Zero Carbon Resorts, Green Hotels and The Clean Blue Asia Pacific. 

Disaster Preparedness: Before a calamity occurs

Posted in Coron, Environment, Events, News, Lifestyle, Good Governance, Sustainable Living, Western Visayas with tags , , , , , , on March 4, 2012 by Sustainability Guru
Philippine Disaster Hazards and corresponding agency-in-charge

Philippine Disaster Hazards and corresponding agency-in-charge

“Do we have to wait until a disaster overwhelms us before we make the radical changes necessary to protect our world for future generations? If we act now there is much that can be saved which will otherwise disappear forever.” ~ John Gummer

In these times of global warming and climate change, one is never prepared enough for the mighty forces of nature or in some cases, man-made disasters, such as the Fukushima Nuclear Plant or in Southern Philippines’ Cagayan de Oro flash flood tragedy caused by illegal logging. For those especially in vulnerable and hazard zones like Japan & Philippines, every one must be aware and be prepared.

Here are the six basic disaster preparedness at home that you must ensure:

1. Check safety around your house

  • Organize flowerpots and propane tanks to prevent toppling, and check the intensity of block walls and roof tiles.Before disaster occurs: Check your house for safety measures!

Before a disaster occurs: Check your house for safety measures!

The DOST- PHIVOLCS call for compliance to building code after the earthquakes in the Philippines. Read article here. 

2. Discuss with your family and household member about disaster measures:

Discuss disaster preparedness with your family. Seriously.

Discuss disaster preparedness with your family. Seriously.

Prepare a pinch, saw, scoop, jack, flashlight, etc. (These may be  expensive to purchase all on you own, but you can discuss and share with your neighbors to prepare these. At least you have a set of equipments ready!)

3. Prevent injuries caused by broken glasses.

Prepare slippers and sneakers close at hand

Prepare slippers and sneakers close at hand. For a blackout at night, keep them in place.

Be ready with rescue equipments

4. Prepare rescue equipments. Prepare a pinch, saw, scoop, jack, flashlight, etc. These might be expensive, so share with your neighbors the cost and the use.

5. Prepare an emergency packAfter a disaster, supply of essentials may stop for a few days. Plan for quantity of stockpiles and storage for essentials to be taken out in case of emergency.

Essential emergency supplies list

  • Food and water (roughly 3 days of food for entire family and 3 liters
    Each family MUST HAVE: Survival Pack.

    Each family MUST HAVE: Survival Pack.

    of water per person a day)

  • First-aid kit, medicine, etc.
  • Portable radio, flashlight, batteries
  • Cash and valuables
  • Clothes

6.  Join Disaster Prevention drills

Ain't done the drill yet? Just DO IT.

Ain’t done the drill yet? Just DO IT.

In preparation for an emergency, create a cooperative structure with neighborhoods on a routine basis.

  1. Discussion
  2. Join disaster prevention resident groups
  3. Join disaster prevention drills

If you don’t have, organize one with your neighborhood or community pronto!

“We are now running out of time, and the question now is not what is happening to the climate, but how bad will it be before the world starts doing enough?”  ~ Jonathon Porritt

Source: Tokyo Metropolitan Government Disater Prevention Information.

“First, climate change is the greatest long-term threat faced by humanity… All countries will be affected, but the poorest countries will be hit hardest. Secondly, the costs of inaction far outweigh the costs of action.” ~ David Miliband

The Philippines is situated along two major tectonic plates of the world – the EURASIAN and PACIFIC Plates. Aside from this, it has 300 volcanoes – 22 as active, an average of 20 quakes per day, 20 typhoons a year, five (5) of these destructive and 36,289 kilometers of coastline vulnerable to tsunami.  The responsibility for leadership rests on the provincial governor, city and town mayors and Barangay chairmen in their respective areas.

Know more about the Philippine National Disaster Risk Reduction & Management Center and how it should work for you and your community!

Philippine disaster profile. Learn the lessons

Philippine disaster profile. Learn the lessons.

Learn the lessons of past disasters. The Philippines is not short of earlier numerous grants, programs and initiatives in disaster education and management. Share the National Disaster Risk Reduction & Management Framework and how it should serve your community better. Be mindful and demand from your public officials on the information and skills. Seek the mass media support and use social media in raising awareness, care and vigilance.

The Coron Initiative , The Boracay Initiative & The Negros Initiative  are Sustainable Tourism, Conservation and Social Responsibility frameworks being implemented in Coron, Calamianes Islands & Western Visayas with institutional partners Zero Carbon Resorts, Green Hotels & Clean Blue. Sustainability Capacity Building and Training programs for cities, communities and destinations  include Good Governance and Disaster Prevention and Management. For more info, visit our Society for Sustainable Tourism & Development Inc. website or contact SSTDI on how we can help.

Sustainable beaches, green economy in a blue world

Posted in Boracay, Clean Blue Asia, Coron, Good Governance, Green Hotels, Sustainable Development, Sustainable Tourism, Western Visayas, Zero Carbon Resorts with tags , , , , , , on February 11, 2012 by Sustainability Guru

Boracay's White Beach circa 80s and in 2009

I have been working for “beaches”, most of my tourism career for almost three decades in various resorts in the Philippines. I pioneered in Boracay Island managing a small resort when there was only a handful then. Then, rapid, unsustainable development and environmental degradation just burgeoned. It was fate that brought me back full circle to the eco-depleted island after twenty years and I decided to do my part to form The Boracay Initiative, if only to enlighten public and private stakeholders to preserve their invaluable source of tourism livelihood!

The Coron Initiative, towards Sustainable Coron & Calamianes in the next millenium

The Coron Initiative, towards Sustainable Coron & Calamianes in the next millenium

I also had a chance to visit Coron, Palawan an emerging tourist destination, and I foresaw that without a Sustainable Tourism, Conservation and Social Responsibility framework, it will suffer the same destruction as Boracay. Thus, we also organized The Coron Initiative with Lead Advocate-NGO, Calamianes Cultural Conservation Network. Next, I was invited to home-province Negros Occidental, and visited marine conservation sites in Sagay’s Carbin Reef as well as Danjugan Island, where illegal fishing is rampant aside from mining threat. From then, I proposed The Negros Initiative, to set up a similar greening guideline for the province.

Museo Sang Bata Negros- Children's Museum on Marine Conservation in Sagay, Negros Occidental

Museo Sang Bata Negros- Children’s Museum on Marine Conservation in Sagay, Negros Occidental

With my hands-on knowledge and experience at Inkaterra, Peru’s Eco pioneer, Carbon Negative and Conservation Leader, I shared the best practices in Sustainability and protection of our ecosystems and heritage, while sharing it with the world.

At a recent UNEP conference (January 2012), 65 countries adopted the “Manila Declaration – Global Protection Agreement (GPA)” – to strengthen the protection of global marine environment from land-based activities, emphasizing coastal eco resources as a key factor in the shift to a green economy.  This GPA made in the Philippines is very relevant as its 7,107 islands are rapidly losing rich natural resources due to marine-related commercial activities, such as fisheries, inter-island transport, tourism, mining, etc. These massive businesses leave destruction and escalate environmental degradation, loss of vital coastal habitats, marine biodiversity and shore water quality as it did to Boracay Island, the proverbial goose that lays the golden eggs for Philippine Tourism. If not sustainably planned, Coron, Palawan, the next vulnerable tourism hot-spot will follow suit.

Coastal and Mangroves Destruction, Coron, Palawan, Philippines

Coastal and Mangroves Destruction, Coron, Palawan, Philippines

The Philippine Department of Environment and Natural Resources has implemented an Integrated Coastal Resource Management Program (ICRMP) and the Coral Triangle Initiative  (CTI) to “promote the sustainable development and ensure the long term productivity of coastal resources while providing social services, lessening poverty in coastal communities as well as delivering basic infrastructure.”

Our Sustainable Tourism frameworks are being implemented in Coron and West Visayas with institutional partners Zero Carbon Resorts, Green Hotels and Clean Blue Asia Sustainable Beach Management. These “Triple Bottom Line” initiatives are crucial for destination planning and development strategies towards the greening of tourism.  With the Manila Declaration’s commitment to develop policies to reduce and control wastewater, marine litter and pollution, the ICMP and CTI as guidelines, we will work towards a green economy for the Philippines, seeking green investments in tourism that can contribute to economically viable and robust growth, provide decent jobs, poverty alleviation and reduced environmental impacts. Our Capacity Building programs for cities and communities include Good Governance for LGUs, Waste Management, Resilience, and Disaster Prevention & Management among others. With our partner experts, we will work on SMEs in the tourism industry to reduce carbon footprint by switching to renewable energy sources and develop a network of most reliable eco responsible hotels and lodgings.

Coron Environmental Forum by The Coron Initiative, a public-private sector cooperation

Coron Environmental Forum by The Coron Initiative, a public-private sector cooperation

Our Sustainable Tourism initiatives in the Philippines require multi-sector cooperation and action. Indeed these include all of us to work towards a green economy!

Sustainable beaches: All resorts and islands should be managed this way.

Posted in Boracay, Clean Blue Asia, Coron, Good Governance, Sustainable Development, Sustainable Living with tags , , , , , , , on June 8, 2011 by Sustainability Guru

Since I worked for Boracay Island, Philippines in the early 90s I already started my personal crusade on “saving our seas”, if only to pick up the trash daily along the famed White Beach. This was twenty years ago when there were only a handful of resorts on the island. Since then, rapid, unsustainable development and environmental degradation in and around the island just burgeoned before our eyes. After 10 years since I left, I was brought back full circle to the environmentally deteriorated island, and I had to do my part, with The Boracay Initiative, if only to enlighten stakeholders about conservation of their invaluable source of tourism livelihood!

Banol Beach Photo by Al Linsangan III

I was also given an opportunity to visit Coron, which is still a developing island tourist destination, however, I can foresee, that without a Sustainable Tourism development framework in place, it will go the way of Boracay too. Thus, we also organized The Coron Initiative with our Lead Advocate and partner NGOs in the Coron & Calamianes islands. I was also invited to visit home-province Negros Occidental, and experienced firsthand their marine conservation efforts in Sagay’s Carbin Reef as well as Danjugan Island in Cauayan town. From then, I have proposed The Negros Initiative, mainly to organize the framework on Conservation, Social Responsibility and Sustainable Tourism for the province.

Inkaterra, Peru’s Eco pioneer, Carbon Neutral & Conservation Leader since 1975

With my work experience at Inkaterra, Peru’s Eco pioneer, Carbon Negative and Conservation Leader, I had hands-on knowledge and experience to share the best practices in Sustainability and protection of our ecosystems and heritage, while sharing it with the world.

Experience and enlightenment found along the Philippine learning curve are:

1.  Each Filipino citizen is a stakeholder in this archipelago of 7,107 islands. Each one lives in one of these islands, therefore, is accountable for its marine and coastal resources, one of our richest natural heritage.

You as a stakeholder, are accountable…

2. All businesses and local government units (LGUs) in these respective islands must be accountable as well – they, along with the local community are the so-called private and public stakeholders.

3. In the conservation, protection and safeguarding of our environmental and natural resources, the following multi- stakeholders are responsible:

Local Government Units (LGUs), to which the place and jurisdiction of the natural resources are located and entrusted

Department of Environment & Natural Resources (DENR) the government agency and its operations arm, Environmental Management Bureau (EMB) with its Integrated Coastal Management Project & Coral Triangle Initiative! 

Businesses or enterprises which are directly or indirectly engaged in the trade of environmental resources, such as resorts/ lodgings /restaurants, manufacturing, aqua culture & fisheries, production of coastal and marine products, etc.  are responsible for the triple bottom line for their business: community, environment and profit.

NGOs – non-government organizations are the civil society leaders whose vision and mission are to ensure that Environmental laws and mandates to conserve the environment, protect all indigenous inhabitants and the future generations.

Local communities
–   Awareness and participation of the local community in conservation efforts are keys to saving our seas. Getstarted at home to be eco-friendly, be pro-active and report delinquents. Not only we at the present, are the direct beneficiaries, it is also for the future generations too! As the African saying goes, “we did not inherit the earth; it is just loaned to us by our grandchildren”.

Be pro-active, report delinquents

Going beyond the key stakeholders mentioned, cooperation and collaborative work  are critically needed from other government agencies to implement and enforce Environmental Laws and Acts:

Department of Education – to teach and show school children how to conserve and protect. A good example is from Negros Occidental, where an environmental-award winning Iliranan Elementary School involved its community in embracing Sustainability & Eco-friendly practices.

Department of Justice – in most areas, the DENR & the EMB are ill-equipped and powerless to go after corrupt pundits, poachers and environmental law violators. This is where the DOJ should step in and assist. Together with the LGU, Police and  community, they should apprehend and punish these criminals immediately.

Mangroves destructed caused flooding in Coron coasts

We ALL have to do our part.  “No man is an island”, no pun intended. Together, we can protect our coral reefs and seas, which provide basic livelihood from tourism,  elemental compounds for crucial medicines, health products, save lives and ensure the future generations’ opportunities from our precious Philippine marine ecosystems and resources!

Photos above courtesy of BayanMoPatrolMo & Al Linsangan III of The Coron Initiative.

Sustainable Beach Management by Clean Blue Asia towards green economy

Sustainable Beach Management by CLEAN BLUE Asia towards green economy

The Coron Initiative with Clean Blue Asia will be working on Sustainable Beach Management as well as the UNEP’s Manila declaration to protect the world’s oceans from land-based activities, educating public and private stakeholders on the conservation of marine environment towards a GREEN ECONOMY. For more info visit our Society for Sustainable Tourism & Development Inc. website or contact SSTDI on how we can help.