The Philippines is one of the most disaster prone countries in the region and the world. In 2012, the country recorded the highest number of fatality from natural disasters – predominantly from Typhoon Bopha – with 1,500 deaths, which account for 47% of all deaths in the region, and displaced nearly 1 million people. The 2009 Typhoon Ketsana caused $4.3 billion in damage with 90% of the losses was borne by poor households. These natural disasters exemplify how they disproportionately affect the poor and reverse the development gains achieved over a long period of time. With a projection of increasing intensity and/or frequency of such hydro-meteorological disasters and increasing weather variability, Climate change will impose additional strains on the lives and livelihoods of the country’s 25.6 million people who live below the national poverty line.

Future projection of climate change also points to an increasing variability and uncertainty in the amount, patterns, and timing of rainfall. This puts livelihoods of millions of farmers at risk and ultimately poses a significant risk in attaining food security of the country.

The project was designed to address two types of climate risks: Increasing variability in climate and climate change-induced natural disasters. In particular, weather index-based insurance (WIBI) which has been pilot tested on a small scale in the last 4 years will be expanded to at least 2,000 households. At the same time, the concept of Disaster Risk Management will be introduced, disseminated and strengthened at community level in the same locations where WIBI will be delivered in at least 30 barangays (covering approximately 85,000 individuals living in the barangays). It is believed that the provision of climate change adaptation options for two types of climate risks – increasing variability and intensifying/increasing extreme events – in a synchronized manner will increase the adaptive value of such options and reduces vulnerability of small-holder farmers.

The island of Mindanao has been chosen as the target sites for this project because of several considerations. First, Mindanao is considered the food basket of the Philippines and thus increasing vulnerability of farmers in Mindanao has a direct bearing on food security of the country. Second, the food production in Mindanao is characterized by small-scale operations and poverty is more prevalent than many other parts of the country, which make this region and region’s agriculture exceptionally vulnerable to future changes in climate. Lastly, working in Region 10 and 11 in Mindanao offers the opportunity to align closely with an ongoing UNDP baseline project.