THE Australian Government will be financing a P630-million worth project called Strengthening Institutions and Empowering Localities against Disasters and Climate Change (Shield), which seeks to improve disaster and climate resilience of targeted local governments in the Philippines.
In a statement, the Australian government and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in the Philippines signed an agreement for the initiative set to be implemented in the next six years.
The Shield program will be implemented with UN-Habitat, Philippine Business for Social Progress, National Resilience Council and the Consortium of Bangsamoro Civil Society, according to the UNDP.
“Enhancing resilience remains a high priority for Australia, particularly in the Philippines, which is extremely vulnerable to disasters and the impacts of climate change,” Australian Ambassador to the Philippines Steven J. Robinson was quoted in the statement as saying. “Through Shield, we will work with governments, private sector, civil society and academic institutions to enhance and sustain community resilience.”
The UNDP said the initiative will work with local governments, as the first responders to emergencies, by building their institutional and community resilience capacities against natural hazards and climate change.
The program will be implemented in ten of the country’s most vulnerable provinces to disaster and climate change impacts, including Metro Manila due to its vulnerability to earthquakes and its economic significance.
The Shield program will also be implemented in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (Barmm) with the increasing disaster and climate vulnerability of conflict-affected areas.
“Through Shield, our ultimate aim is for our target communities to be safer and more resilient to the impacts of natural hazards and climate change, taking also into account the lessons brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic,” UNDP Philippines Resident Representative Selva Ramachandran was quoted in the statement as saying. “It bears noting that the program also puts importance on gender equality, disability, and social inclusion in the context of resilience-building.”
The Shield program aims to accelerate resilience-building efforts in the Philippines by collaborating with multiple stakeholders to unlock financing and implement risk-informed and inclusive resilience actions at the local level.
The initiative will also support the national government by supporting Philippine scientific agencies to produce tailored and accessible information that will inform local resilience actions.