The Philippines is an archipelago comprised of 7,107 islands (1,000 of which are inhabitable), with a total area of 299,404 sq km. Located between 5° and 20° N of the equator, it has a humid climate and a topography characterized by mountainous terrain bordered by narrow coastal plains. The country’s topography is steep, with the highest peaks reaching nearly 3,000 m above sea level, located at a distance of less than 30 km from the sea.The Philippines are also endowed with interior lowland plains, of which the central plain and Cagayan Valley on the island of Luzon, and the Agusan and Cotabato valleys of Mindanao are the most extensive. Considered one of the most biologically rich and diverse countries in the world, the Philippines also has one of the world’s longest coastlines, and its marine and coastal resources yield US$ 3.5 billion annually in goods and services. The country’s mineral, oil, gas, and geothermal potential are also significant. The Philippines’ main economic sectors are agriculture and industry, with agriculture contributing 14% of GDP and employing over a third of the population. A combination of in-migration and natural population growth has established the Philippines as the fastest urbanizing country in East Asia, with over 65%of its 91 million residents living in urban areas. In 2009, per capita GDP stood at US$ 1,752. The Philippines is also considered to be among the world’s most disaster-prone countries. Commonly occurring hazards include floods, droughts, typhoons, landslides and mudslides, earthquakes, and volcanoes. Recent decades have witnessed an increase in damaging extreme events, such as heavy rainfall and tropical cyclone activity, and this trend is likely to continue under a future climate.
Selected Indicators for Impacts and Vulnerabilities