MANILA — The government of Australia is allocating some PhP630 million (A$18 million) in projects that aim to strengthen disaster and climate resilience of local governments in the Philippines over the next six years.
The United Nations Development Program (UNDP) in the country signed the agreement with the Australian government, it said in a statement, for the new initiative called SHIELD, or Strengthening Institutions and Empowering Localities against Disasters and Climate Change Program.
According to the international group, SHIELD will be implemented in 10 pre-selected provinces found to be most vulnerable to disaster impacts and climate change. It is yet to finalize its list.
Aside from the 10 identified provinces the SHIELD will also be carried out in Metro Manila for its economic significance and vulnerability to earthquakes. Similarly, for its conflict-affected areas which are said to be “susceptible to increasing disaster and climate impacts,” the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) will take part of SHIELD.
“Enhancing resilience remains a high priority for Australia, particularly in the Philippines, which is extremely vulnerable to disasters and the impacts of climate change. Through SHIELD, we will work with governments, private sector, civil society and academic institutions to enhance and sustain community resilience,” Australian Ambassador to the Philippines Steven J. Robinson AO said in a statement.
Consortium partners UN-Habitat, Philippine Business for Social Progress, National Resilience Council, and the Consortium of Bangsamoro Civil Society will work together with UNDP in implementing SHIELD.
“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. It bears noting that the program also puts importance on gender equality, disability, and social inclusion in the context of resilience-building,” UNDP Philippines Resident Representative Selva Ramachandran said.
The Australian government’s foreign affairs and trade department estimated it had extended a total of $80 million in official development assistance (ODA) to the Philippines between 2020 to 2021. (JSM/JuanManila)
Featured image: Guinsaugon, on the southern part of Leyte island, was buried when an entire mountainside collapsed, killing 1,126 people on 17 February 2006. (Photo credit: DW)