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Manulife and Nat Geo Society partners to protect Banaue Rice Terraces

5 Min Read
  • Project to address climate change threats to natural and cultural heritage sites around the world 
  • New global effort aligns with Manulife’s recently announced Impact Agenda, including an ambition to accelerate a sustainable future 

Manulife announced a new partnership with the National Geographic Society to deliver on an ambitious global project to safeguard several historical and culturally significant heritage sites from the impact of climate change and protect the physical and financial well-being of the communities that depend on those sites for their livelihood. The Philippines’ Banaue Rice Terraces is among the 10 natural and cultural sites providing tourism and economic resilience to surrounding communities from Asia, North and South America, and Europe that will be protected under the newly launched project Preserving Legacies: A Future for Our Past.

To safeguard these cultural heritage sites, Preserving Legacies will build community capacity to visualize climate impacts on a local scale and make the science of climate change relevant and applicable to the conservation of specific sites. Led by National Geographic Explorer Victoria Herrmann and connected to Manulife’s Impact Agenda, this project will focus on network building between sites, where knowledge sharing will be key to developing climate change adaptation plans.  

“By partnering with Manulife and the National Geographic Society, our ambitious approach to addressing this critical issue will not only lead to tangible protection of cultural heritage sites; it will be the game-changers needed to increase access to heritage adaption and transform conservation as a field to meet the challenges of a climate-changed world,” said Herrmann. 

“As a health and wealth company with a 130-year history serving customers, colleagues, and communities across the globe – it’s important we work to protect our environment and drive inclusive economic opportunities to create a more even playing field for all,” said Sarah Chapman, Global Chief Sustainability Officer, Manulife. “Through our partnership with National Geographic, we have an opportunity to equip communities throughout the world with the tools to better anticipate worsening climate impacts and safeguard them for the future.” 

“The Philippines is considered one of the countries most vulnerable to climate change. With this partnership, Manulife Philippines aims to contribute to efforts to mitigate its risks to people’s lives and livelihoods, expanding our initiatives to advocate for the well-being of people, communities, and the environment while driving sustainability and creating long-term value,” said Rahul Hora, President and Chief Executive Officer, Manulife Philippines.

Manulife and National Geographic will support local communities throughout the world to turn scientific knowledge into actionable management plans that will safeguard these sites cohesively with community priorities and values. Additionally, they will support continued community adaptation through peer mentoring programs and educational materials to inspire and activate future generations.   

Using local weather data, localized climate models give every historic site a way to visualize how much flooding, heat, sea level rise, and changing seasonality will threaten their site in different warming scenarios. This allows community leaders and site managers to answer critical questions about which climate impacts they should plan for and when they are likely to experience them. 

The ten sites included in the project:  

  • Banaue Rice Terraces of the Philippine Cordilleras 
  • Petra, Jordan 
  • Angkor Archeological Park, Cambodia 
  • Border Fields, USA and Mexico 
  • Historical Mosque City of Bagerhat, Bangladesh 
  • Nan Madol, Micronesia 
  • Levuka, Fiji 
  • Koutammakou, the Land of the Batammariba, Togo and Benin 
  • Sceilg Mhichil, Ireland 
  • Port, Fortress, and Group of Monuments at Cartagena, Columbia 

This effort supports Manulife’s recently announced Impact Agenda, which aims to build a better business to better the world by making decisions about the future of the firm’s business, rooted in the belief that collective actions drive meaningful change. 

Earlier this year, Manulife launched Impact Agenda in the Philippines by partnering with respected non-government organizations Gawad Kalinga, Corazon Sanchez Atayde Memorial Foundation (CSAMF), and Haribon Foundation, whose groundbreaking work interconnects with the program’s three pillars: empowering sustained health and well-being, driving inclusive economic opportunities, and accelerating a sustainable future. The NatGeo partnership aims to further drive Manulife’s efforts globally, strengthening its Impact Agenda by working with more like-minded organizations that can help Manulife build a better business to better the world. 

To learn more about the commitments made by Manulife through its Impact Agenda, and to track progress against our goals, visit Manulife.com/Impact.

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