PRA, One Architecture facilitate global-resilience grant for Tacloban

TACLOBAN CITY—The Philippine Reclamation Authority (PRA) and award-winning One Architecture and Urbanism joined efforts to firm up a coastal-protection strategy that won a grant for Tacloban City in the highly competitive Global Resilience Water Window Challenge organized by the Global Resilience Partnership (GRP).

The $150,000 prize, which now becomes the seed grant, will be used to construct three pilot projects involving shoreline pond and mangrove restoration in selected sites here.

PRA General Manager Janilo Rubiato said GRP received over 400 proposals from different parts of the world in the Global Resilience Water Window Challenge, where the one it crafted with One Architecture, entitled “One Resilient Team: Tacloban”, was among the 12 chosen for funding.

Edilberto de Jesus, PRA board director, said the proposal followed the Dutch “building with nature approach”.

“It is a way of providing coastal defense, not only by building hard structures like dikes or embankment, but also by using new trends in coastal resilience, which is following the build with nature strategy,” de Jesus said. “So you get environmentally sound projects that will help coastal protection, such as mangrove growth or beach forests”.

“This is the strategy that countries that have experienced this kind of weather disturbances are using,” de Jesus said of the project’s capability to defend populated areas from storm surges similar to that brought by Supertyphoon Yolanda.

Immediately after Yolanda struck and devastated this part of the country, PRA requested the Netherlands government for access to its Dutch Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) facility. The Dutch government responded by sending the DRR team to conduct a scoping mission in July 2014.

The Dutch government then sent a consortium of engineering and water experts to develop a comprehensive master plan for coastal-protection strategy of Tacloban City and Palo. After months of study, stakeholder consultation and transfer of knowledge, the master plan, which followed the Dutch “building with nature” approach, was finalized in May 2016.

Considering the social and economic welfare of the stakeholders, the master plan recommended a multilevel safety approach—the first level is prevention by minimizing probability of flooding by hard and soft engineering interventions; the second level is spatial planning to minimize damage and casualties; and last, emergency management involving public awareness and early warning systems.

The second- and third-level components were adopted in the Tacloban City’s Comprehensive Land Use Plan and are now being implemented.

For the first level, among the strategies recommended in the master plan is mangrove restoration. To implement this, PRA collaborated with One Architecture and Urbanism, an award-winning Amsterdam- and New York-based design and planning firm. PRA and One Architecture crafted” a proposal entitled “One Resilient Team: Tacloban” to implement a nonstructural component of the Coastal Defense Strategy.

“In crafting the proposal, we conducted conversations with local government units so they could advise us on the potential areas of the project,” de Jesus told the BusinessMirror.

One Resilient Team: Tacloban joined the Global Resilience Water Window Challenge, a competitive process aiming to promote water resilience by developing and testing novel solutions in local setting. The Water Window Challenge is a central component of  GRP, a new model that seeks to solve today’s complex and interrelated resilience challenges by better aligning humanitarian and development planning.

Out of the more than 400 proposals received by the Water Window Challenge, One Resilient Team: Tacloban was among the 12 challenge winners that received a seed grant of $150,000 for the construction of three pilot projects.

Rubiato said the program is being developed in consideration of ecological success, and social and economic impact. He said the seed grant will be used to construct three pilot projects involving shoreline pond and mangrove restoration on selected sites in Tacloban City.

Mangrove reforesting will restore sections of natural coastline. The implementation of the program will involve series of trainings and will be executed by local participants in coordination with local organizations and the city government of Tacloban.

The program will leverage on the community’s on-the-ground knowledge and will focus efforts where impacts will be greatest.




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