Beefing Up Local Government Capacities for Disaster Management and Climate Change Adaptation

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The Philippines is located along the Pacific typhoon belt and “Ring of Fire”, which means that it is susceptible to many forms of natural disasters such as earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, and typhoons.

CDIA’s recently-concluded project preparation study (PPS) proposed a policy and institutional support program that will empower the local government units (LGUs) to effectively prepare for disasters and build their resilience to climate change.

“Cities and local governments are the primary frontliners for disaster risk reduction and management (DRRM) and climate change adaptation (CCA),” says Kathleen Jovellanos, CDIA Capacity Development Specialist. “It is therefore important for them to have an enabling environment and technical capacity to carry out their mandates, which in turn will make their communities less vulnerable to hazards.”

DRRM and CCA are priority programs of the national government. The Climate Change Act in 2009 and the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Act in 2010 provide the basis for DRRM and CCA efforts at the local level. The Mandanas Ruling by the Supreme Court in 2018 has further devolved more responsibilities to LGUs, including DRRM.

Despite the existence of policies, guidelines and tools, various challenges undermine the mainstreaming of DRRM and CCA in local governance. Oftentimes, inadequate financial and human resources compound the lack of knowledge and skills in data management, hazard and risk information generation, development planning, and post-disaster assessments, etc.

In partnership with the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), the European Union (EU), and Agence Française de Développement (AFD), CDIA developed a program that seeks to build DRRM capacities at the national (DILG) and local levels, and support reforms to better integrate DRRM and CCA into the national, regional and local development policies, plans and budgets.

The output of the CDIA PPS informed the design of the AFD-funded policy-based loan (PBL) amounting to €250 million and parallel technical assistance grant amounting to €300,000.

Toward the disbursement of the PBL, CDIA facilitated the development of a policy matrix, a set of policy reforms with target indicators, committed by the Philippine government to improve the policies, systems and capacities to efficiently conduct DRRM mandates by the LGUs. DILG has assumed the institutional leadership and coordination for the actions stipulated under the policy matrix.

AFD will provide a complementary technical assistance grant to support the achievement of the objectives of the policy matrix, and sustain the partners’ interest in the policy dialogue. The short-, mid-, and long-term activities to be implemented under the grant, were identified from a series of stakeholder consultations, and the institutional and capacity development roadmap crafted under the PPS.

CDIA further supported the identification of “champion cities”, which may be considered for potential project preparation support. The cities of Malolos and Tuguegarao were selected based on a two-pronged evaluation approach. Consultations to identify viable investments, which can then be proposed for funding are currently ongoing between the DILG and the two cities.

“This is the first project that we’ve done entirely during the COVID-19 pandemic, and so it presents a lot of challenges in terms of coordination and not being able to see our partners face-to-face,” says Kathleen. “Even then, I am thankful to all our partners, especially DILG and our consulting team for ensuring that despite the pandemic and the tight schedule we were working on, we’re still able to deliver high-quality outputs that we hope would help LGUs implement a more effective DRRM and CCA for the benefit of their communities.”

Photos during the Final Workshop held 27 April 2022:

L-R: From Primex/consulting team Emmanuel Torrente, AFD Philippine Country Office Gina Herrera, DILG Melany Quiton, DILG Undersecretary Marlo Iringan, CDIA Kathleen Jovellanos, and Primex Nestor Escala

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