UNDP and DILG strengthen LOCAL, community-level disasters, climate resilience

THE United Nations Development Program (UNDP) in the Philippines and the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) have marked an important milestone in their partnership with an initiative to build resilience to disasters and climate change targeted local communities over the next six years.

Former DILG Chief Eduardo Año and UNDP Philippines Officer-in-Charge Edwine Carrié signed a Memorandum of Understanding in June for the Institutional Strengthening and Local Empowerment Program against Disasters and Climate Change (SHIELD), designed to accelerate resilience. strengthen efforts at the local level by partnering with multiple stakeholders to unlock funding and implement inclusive and risk-informed resilience actions.

The program is implemented in partnership with DILG, UNDP-Philippines and partners consisting of Bangsamoro Civil Society Consortium, National Resilience Council, Philippine Business for Social Progress and UN-Habitat.

Through SHIELD, the Australian government has invested A$18 million to help its Philippine counterpart build institutional and community resilience to natural hazards and climate change. It enables local governments to pursue and invest in resilient development.

Welcoming the initiative, Año noted, “There is [local government units having] difficulties in accessing funds due to program viability and project management readiness. SHIELD seeks to address these issues by providing alternative disaster funding options to our LGUs, allowing them to implement more risk-informed measures.

As the lead government partner, DILG will provide oversight and strategic direction to facilitate the achievement of SHIELD results.

The initiative will also work with Philippine science agencies to produce tailored and accessible information to contribute to disaster risk reduction (DRR) and resilience building.

Although the country has made significant progress in DRR and climate action, there is still work to be done to build resilience. The cost of disasters to the country is dramatically high, with LGUs and communities bearing the brunt.

“SHIELD recognizes the vital role of local governments not only in responding to [emergencies], but also in driving transformative resilience actions that would ultimately benefit communities,” Carrié said during the signing of the MOU. “[The program] aims to build capacity at the LMU and community level, as they are usually the first responders in times of crisis.

Located along the typhoon belt, the Philippines experiences an average of 20 typhoons a year. Last December, Typhoon Odette (international name Rai) hit the country, affecting nine provinces in seven provinces and affecting more than 8 million Filipinos. According to the national archives, the agricultural sector suffered damages worth nearly 16 billion pesos, while those to infrastructure exceeded 17 billion pesos.

The six-year program will be implemented in 11 of the country’s most vulnerable provinces to help them counter the effects of disasters and climate change. Among the targeted provinces are Albay, Agusan del Norte, Agusan del Sur, Cagayan, Cebu, Davao Oriental, Eastern Samar, Northern Samar, Pampanga, Pangasinan and Quezon. It will also cover Metro Manila, given its vulnerability to earthquakes and economic importance, as well as the Bangsamoro region, with the increasing disaster and climate vulnerability of conflict-affected areas.

Besides DILG, the Office of Civil Defense and the Department of Science and Technology will also jointly lead the components of SHIELD. The Bangsamoro Ministry of Interior and Local Government will be the main focal point for the region.