The Shell Powering Progress Together forum that was held for the first time in Asia last February 6, 2014 in Manila, Philippines, analyzed the country’s situation in the context of the food-water-energy stress nexus and reflected on the destruction brought by Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan), the strongest recorded typhoon to hit land, that brought into perspective the Philippines’ vulnerability to the impact of climate change.

With over 300 thought leaders from business, government and civil society across Asia Pacific in attendance, the forum emphasized the need for innovative methods and exploring new technology that would help build more resilient cities, especially the Philippines’ capital city Manila which is —according to a collaborative study, “Climate Risks and Adaptation in Asian Coastal Megacities” by the Asian Development Bank, Japan International Cooperation Agency, and the World Bank—is one of Asia’s megacities to face massive flooding incidents affecting millions of people if climate change trends continue without appropriate risk mitigation programs. 

Aside from giving a clearer picture of where the Philippines stands in the context of resiliency, the Shell Powering Progress Together forum offered ideas on building the country’s resiliency against climate change through innovative solutions and collaborative action.

Building partnership for resilience

Shell joined hands with Manila Observatory for a partnership project that will expand the latter’s existing network of Automated Weather Stations (AWS) and strengthen it as part of the Shell Powering Progress Together advocacy under the theme of climate change resilience.

"Cities are the major engines of national development. When urbanization leads to the loss of land cover and rapid and unregulated land use changes, the disturbances in our ecosystem can influence climate systems and make extreme weather hazards more likely. Since nine of our twelve major cities are located on the coast, vulnerable people and food, water and energy resources are also constantly exposed to weather and climate systems which can challenge their resilience."

Manila Observatory Executive Director Antonia Yulo Loyzaga

"The partnership between Shell and the Manila Observatory aims to provide coastal cities with access to local weather data and climate analysis as inputs to their local decision-support systems. The partnership hopes to triangulate its capacities with local universities, city governments and other civic groups in order to prepare, adapt and not just bounce back from a disaster, but also to bounce forward."

Manila Observatory Executive Director Antonia Yulo Loyzaga

With Shell facilities located strategically around the Philippines, the weather stations by Shell and the Manila Observatory will help local governments and communities surrounding Shell retail stations and depots to better prepare and mitigate the risks of severe weather conditions such as typhoons and heavy flooding, and will provide publicly available, free and near real-time weather data automatically transmitted to the Manila Observatory for monitoring.

The first AWS by Shell and Manila Observatory was successfully installed in the Shell Pandacan depot last August and the rest are set to be installed within the year. There will be a total of 50 AWS strategically installed in Shell installations nationwide, with special concentration in coastal cities such as Davao, Cagayan de Oro and Iloilo which are more exposed to risks such as rising sea level, flooding and storm surges.

Technology and innovation for new development

The development of programs under the Shell Powering Progress Together advocacy gain increased significance for Shell as it marks one hundred years of operation in the Philippines.

As Shell moves toward its next hundred years of doing business in the country, the company aims to continue contributing to the future of energy and sustainable development that strengthen the Filipino nation.  Shell hopes to inspire the youth and leaders of today to arrive at innovative and smart solutions, working together with other stakeholders to address present and future stress nexus challenges.

As a global leader in power, energy and gas technology, Shell seeks to continuously address energy challenges while mitigating environmental impact and helping in nation-building, through endeavours that spark proactive discussion, partnership and collaboration such as the Shell Powering Progress Together forum that offers an opportunity for leaders to engage in a fruitful discussion about resilience and building smarter cities. Shell also focuses on delivering smarter products and cleaner energy, smarter infrastructure, promoting sustainable mobility, and developing new energy sources such as cleaner-burning natural gas.

Shell and Manila Observatory engage in innovative partnership to help build resilience in Philippine cities. In photo are [from left to right] Shell Upstream Communications Manager Paulo Gavino, Shell Depot Support Lead Walter Raagas, Shell Vice President for Communications Bobby Kanapi, Shell Downstream Social Performance Advisor Janot Barretto, Shell Upstream Social Performance Manager and PPT Asia Project Lead Sankie Simbulan, Manila Observatory Executive Director Antonia Yulo Loyzaga, Manila Observatory Chairman Fr. Jose Ramon Villarin and Shell Country Chairman Edgar Chua.