Verde Islands Vulnerability Workshop Day 1

Vibrant coral reef with red fan coral and anthius, Verde Island Passage.  © CI/Sterling Zumbrunn

It’s a hot, dry day in Batangas City, finally after two weeks of torrential rain. Everyone is excited about the solar eclipse, which is supposed to happen at 8:30. Government officials are flowing in and the speakers are ready to roll. The Philippines National Anthem opens the scene. After the opening remarks, a short movie is shown on the wonders of the underwater habitats of the Verde Island Passage (VIP) and the potential threats. It is a powerful movie – produced by CI – that highlights the dependency of the local communities of the Verde Islands Passage (VIP) to the marine resources.

A Nudibranch or sea slug from Milne Bay, Papua New Guinea. © Roger SteeneThe rest of the morning passed through a number of technical presentations on the climate scenarios for the VIP, the potential effects (sea level rise, ocean acidification, increase in ocean temperature) and how these impacts might interact with existing human impacts (i.e. overfishing) to damage the place with the highest number of marine species in the world. Just an example is the number of nudibranchs (sea slugs) species, over 900!

The day went fast as climate, marine and socio-economic scientists informed stakeholders what we should expect for the VIP and how important it is that we act now to make sure that we can secure food and livelihoods for the future generations of the VIP. Tomorrow there is great expectation for the arrival of the Philippines Presidential Adviser on Global Warming and Climate Change.

Dr. Giuseppe Di Carlo is the manager for the Marine Climate Change Program at Conservation International.

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