Australia and UNDP reaffirm their support to protect Albay communities against disasters

March 7, 2023

Mr Thanh Le PSM (seventh from left), Counsellor for Development at the Australian Embassy in Manila, and Dr. Selva Ramachandran (fifth from right), UNDP Philippines Resident Representative, meet with Sheina Onrubia-Dela Cruz (sixth from left), Provincial Administrator of Albay.

Albay, Philippines – The Australian Government and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Philippines, led by Mr Thanh Le PSM, Counsellor for Development, and Resident Representative Dr. Selva Ramachandran, respectively, reaffirmed their commitment to strengthen Albay’s resilience against natural disasters and climate change through the SHIELD (Strengthening Institutions and Empowering Localities Against Disasters and Climate Change) Programme.

The delegation met with Sheina Onrubia-Dela Cruz, Provincial Administrator of Albay, and Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Assistant Regional Director Jhoaden G. Lucero to better understand where SHIELD could have the greatest impact.

This Australian-supported program aims to help equip the Provincial Government of Albay with technical capacities to accelerate resilience-building efforts and promote sustainable development in the province,” said Mr Le.

During the courtesy visit, Administrator Onrubia-Dela Cruz mentioned that “the Provincial Government of Albay aims to enable speedy economic recovery by enhancing local governance, improving healthcare delivery, strengthening disaster resilience, and rationalizing land use allocation. A strategic collaboration under the SHIELD Program can address the LGU’s gaps in funding and technical expertise on the management and implementation of programs along our priority areas of concern”.

Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Assistant Regional Director Jhoaden G. Lucero added that “while Albayanons have already shown great resilience in dealing with and recovering from disasters and climate change, we continue to take more proactive steps to strengthen this. Albay forging a partnership under the SHIELD Program will definitely help us further scale up our level of resilience” she said. 

We want to highlight the contribution of SHIELD in terms of disaster prevention, especially its components on analytics and evidence-based decision making. This is something we all can learn from and eventually share outside Albay, which is very important and helpful in addressing the current climate challenges the Philippines is facing” added Dr. Ramachandran.

The Australian Government has provided PHP 630 million (AUD 18 million) to implement SHIELD in 11 of the Philippines’ most vulnerable provinces, along with Metro Manila and the Bangsamoro Region, over the next five years. The program is being implemented by UNDP Philippines and its consortium partners: UN-Habitat, Philippine Business for Social Progress, National Resilience Council, and the Consortium of Bangsamoro Civil Society, with the DILG as the lead government agency.

Aside from the DILG, the Office of Civil Defense and the Department of Science and Technology will also be co-leading the SHIELD Program components, while the Ministry of the Interior and Local Government will serve as the lead focal for the Bangsamoro region. The Department of Environment and Natural Resources, one of the Program Board’s members, will also facilitate the promotion of environmental protection and the strengthening of climate resilience. ##