The Philippines remains among the world’s most vulnerable to climate change. German Watch’s recent Climate Risk Index 2016, for instance, ranks the Philippines fourth in the world’s top 10 countries most affected by climate change in the past 20 years.
According to the study’s authors, “tropical storms and heavy precipitation and flooding” were among the primary reasons the Philippines often lands on the index’s top 10. This ranking, however, does not even take into account other factors that make the country even more vulnerable to climate change. Sea-level rise in the Philippines is among the fastest in the world. And land degradation is an unabated problem the Philippines has been battling for decades.
The Philippines encompasses roughly 30 million hectares of land area, 41 percent of which (around 9.516 million hectares) were considered agricultural in 2014 by the World Bank. According to the latest estimates of the Bureau of Soils and Water Management, up to 45 percent of the country’s arable lands are either moderately or severely eroded due to massive deforestation and use of unsustainable land management practices, such as excessive use of urea for farming.