Land tenure systems as a challenge for disaster recovery: adapting to extreme weather events after Typhoon Haiyan

Daniel Fitzpatrick, Caroline Compton

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With anthropogenic climate change, there is a high probability that intensification of extreme weather events will combine with disaster vulnerability to increase the impacts of natural disasters in the Asia-Pacific region. As a result, adaptation to climate change includes proposals to “build back better” after natural disasters. Yet building back better is not a one-off or sui generis technical response to natural hazards as it involves adjustments to human systems that have evolved over long periods of political conflict and environmental stress. This paper argues that there is a link between human systems for managing land and adaptation to extreme weather events in the Philippines. In the Philippines, the government plans to relocate as many as 200,000 people away from the foreshore in the aftermath of Typhoon Haiyan. However, the Philippines government has provided little guidance on security of land tenure as an element of relocation planning, or as part of recovery efforts for people wishing to remain in their pre-disaster locations. While the current relocation program offers the Philippines the opportunity to provide secure land tenure rights to large numbers of vulnerable coastal dwellers, a failure to provide secure rights will almost inevitably result in households returning to hazardous areas, or continuing to reside in unsafe zones because they have been excluded from the relocation program. Moreover, outside relocation areas, there are risks that farmers and farm workers will miss out on a historic opportunity to obtain secure land tenure through agrarian reform due to the loss of land records as a result of Typhoon Haiyan.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAdaptation to Climate Change
Subtitle of host publicationASEAN and Comparative Experiences
EditorsKheng-Lian Koh, Ilan Kelman, Robert Kibugi, Rose-Liza Eisma Osorio
Place of PublicationSingapore Singapore
PublisherWorld Scientific Publishing
Number of pages22
ISBN (Electronic)9789814689748
ISBN (Print)9789814689731
Publication statusPublished - 2016
Externally publishedYes

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