The Philippines is urging its Association of Southeast Asian Nations peers to build a region-wide database on disaster-risk reduction management (DRRM) to facilitate the sharing of information on mitigating the effects of climate change, and ensure timely cooperation among them in the face of calamities.
Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III said that, despite “existing capacity constraints,” the Philippines is now spearheading this initiative by sharing information with its private-sector counterparts to enable better coordination in times of disasters and other emergencies.
The finance chief issued the call to action after he and his fellow finance ministers and the central bank governors in the Asean underscored the importance of strengthening their respective countries’ resilience against natural disasters during their recent joint meeting in Singapore.
In a joint statement issued after their meeting, the participants stated that the resilience of the Asean member-states against natural disasters “is important for sustaining growth, as well as protecting our people’s well-being.”
Dominguez added that, as stated in the Joint Statement of the Fourth Asean Finance Ministers’ and Central Bank Governors’ Meeting, the regional bloc has launched a program to coordinate the sharing of disaster-risk financing, with its first phase completed in June last year.
This region-wide disaster-risk insurance facility, with funding support from the German development institutions GIZ and KfW, is “a pioneering Asean project that could be adopted in other parts of the world,” Dominguez said.
He added that the Philippine government is carrying out its disaster-risk management measures with a sense of urgency to best safeguard the country’s vulnerable communities against climate change.
“Within the existing capacity constraints, we are building databases and constantly improving on the quality and amount of data available to identify vulnerabilities and manage risks, Dominguez said.
He added: “This is a continuing effort. Down the road, we are encouraging our partners in the Asean to participate in building a region-wide database for disaster-risk management and possibly institutional structures that will enable timely cooperation in the face of calamities.”
Aside from setting up a disaster-risk management database that involves digitizing government assets and infrastructure, the Philippines is also pushing legislation that will institutionalize disaster-risk financing strategies, such as reinsurance and government-sponsored risk pools to enable communities to swiftly get back on their feet in the event of calamities, Dominguez said.
According to the Department of Finance, pilot studies for a parametric insurance scheme covering the country’s most vulnerable local government units are now being undertaken, among others.