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CDIA to Gear Up Philippine Cities for Local Devolution of Disaster Risk Reduction and Management

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CDIA has started this month a project preparation study (PPS) to strengthen the capacity of local government units (LGUs) in the Philippines to enable them to assume greater responsibilities related to disaster risk reduction and management (DRRM) and climate change adaptation (CCA).

The Philippines is set to transfer more government functions to LGUs in 2022; and CDIA’s PPS will help them prepare for the devolution process to ensure that DRRM and CCA are fully integrated in local planning and investment development.

The PPS will be carried out in partnership with the Philippines’ Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) and Agence Française de Développement (AFD). It is funded by the European Union and AFD.

Vulnerability to Natural Disasters and the Devolution of DRRM

The Philippines is vulnerable to a range of disasters, including typhoons, earthquakes and volcanic eruptions. About 74% of the population is vulnerable to natural disasters and 60% of the country’s total land area is exposed to multiple hazards (Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery, 2017).

DRRM and CCA are key priority programs of the government. The Climate Change Act in 2009 and the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Act in 2010 – together with the ratification of international accords – have mainstreamed DRRM and reinforced the role of LGUs as frontline responders.

Meanwhile, the Local Government Code of 1991 champions decentralization of government functions to LGUs.

In 2018, the Supreme Court of the Philippines made the landmark Mandanas Ruling, which entitles LGUs with a greater share of the national government tax revenue. In effect, their internal revenue allotments are programmed to increase by 55% in the 2022 national budget, reaching 4.8% of the  gross domestic product (GDP) from 3.55% in 2021 (World Bank, 2021).

With the Mandanas Ruling, LGUs are set to assume additional devolved functions and services, including DRRM. Building their capacities is therefore critical to fully prepare them to take up these responsibilities.

CDIA Support to the Devolution of DRRM Functions and Services

 In the context of the upcoming devolution process, DILG will pursue a long-term institutional program for LGUs on DRRM. AFD and DILG have identified an opportunity to formulate a specific policy and institutional support program under the proposed Devolution and DRRM Policy-based loan, pending AFD’s due diligence and official request from the Philippine government.

This program will support the DILG, relevant technical agencies and the LGUs during the devolution process and address relevant constraints. It will also help build their capacities to further support the implementation of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Plan (2011-2028).

CDIA will provide technical assistance to this process by undertaking a PPS that will concretely define the policy and results matrix that will form the backbone of the AFD loan program.

The PPS will take full consideration of other ongoing development programs on DRRM such as those already supported by AFD and EU, Asian Development Bank and World Bank. It will likewise seek the participation of other national government agencies and local stakeholders in the policy dialogue.

CDIA PPS in a nutshell

 A team of CDIA consultants will undertake the following activities over six months:

  • Diagnosis and assessment: This will comprise an assessment of the DRRM sector, and decentralization reform process particularly in relation to DRRM. At this stage, CDIA will employ a strong consultation method to ensure buy-in and the active participation of key government counterparts leading to the policy and results matrix design.
  • Policy and results matrix: This will entail designing the condition for loan disbursement and identifying the indicators for succeeding disbursement.
  • Roadmap and technical assistance (TA) design: This stage will build on the key findings of the earlier assessment and define the content of the future TA to support the implementation of reforms and enable the achievement of program indicators.
  • Priority project identification. This stage involves the selection of champion cities and the identification of priority infrastructure projects, which could be taken forward to further project preparation and due diligence studies.

“Local governments are at the forefront of providing disaster response because they are on the ground,” says Kathleen Jovellanos, CDIA Capacity Development Specialist in charge of the PPS. “This project with DILG will strengthen more of that local government’s role.”

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