Davao Oriental bats for resilient Australia-UNDP support through SHIELD

August 21, 2023

(From L-R) Atty. Louie Limbario, Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Focal Person of Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Region XI; Mr. Edgar Melo, Planning Officer III of DILG-XI; Ms. Maria Victoria de Guzman, Programme Manager of SHIELD; Mr. Orle Cabaobao, Provincial Director, DILG Davao Oriental; Mr. Paul Villarico, SHIELD Project Manager; Mr. Edwine Carrié, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Philippines Deputy Resident Representative; Mr. Elvin Uy, Executive Director of the Philippine Business for Social Progress (PBSP); Davao Oriental Governor Niño Sotero Uy Jr.; Mr. Reinero Flores, UN-Habitat National Project Coordinator; Mr. Paul Harrington, First Secretary for Development, Australian Embassy in the Philippines; Mr. Harry Pasimio, Senior Program Officer for Humanitarian Action & Disaster Resilience at the Australian Embassy ; Mr. Patrick Omar Erestain, SHIELD Component Lead for Local Resilience Resourcing and Implementation; Ms. Aileen Rombaoa, Project Officer at Consortium of Bangsamoro Civil Society (CBCS); and Ms. Juliet Labayen, Program Officer at PBSP.

To strengthen the disaster and climate resilience of its emerging tourism and agribusiness sectors, the Provincial Government of Davao Oriental entered into a partnership with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) under the Australia-supported Strengthening Institutions and Empowering Localities against Disasters and Climate Change (SHIELD) Programme.

Davao Oriental Governor Niño Sotero Uy Jr. and UNDP Deputy Resident Representative Edwine Carrié recently signed the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for SHIELD in Mati City. First Secretary for Development Paul Harrington from the Australian Embassy in the Philippines and SHIELD consortium partners from UN Habitat, Philippine Business for Social Progress, and the Consortium of Bangsamoro Civil Society were on hand to witness the landmark signing, together with regional officials of the Department of the Interior and Local Government, and key local government officials of Davao Oriental.

Governor Uy recognized the timing and relevance of the partnership and noted that “climate change continues to advance at an unprecedented rate. This MOU serves as our commitment to actively build institutional and community resilience to disasters and climate [change].”

“It will [support] the updating of our Provincial Physical Development Framework Plan and [help us] prepare for the rollout of the Community Based Monitoring System in the province…making our communities safer and more empowered in the face of extreme events”, Governor Uy added.

Representing the Australian Embassy, First Secretary Harrington said in his message that: “Through our flagship resilience initiative SHIELD, we aim to further strengthen local government capacities by working closely with provincial and municipal governments towards a safer and more resilient Davao Oriental”.

Tourism is booming in Davao Oriental and is a major economic driver in the province due to its pristine forests, beaches, waterfalls, and historical sites. However, the constant threat of disasters and climate change looms over the province due to its geospatial features. Davao Oriental is situated along the eastern seaboard of the country and portions of the province are located along the Philippine Fault system. The province has experienced destructive earthquakes and typhoons in the past, such as Typhoon Pablo (International Name: Bopha) in 2012, which claimed hundreds of lives and displaced thousands of families. 

SHIELD will complement existing efforts of the province in disaster risk reduction and management, as well as in climate change adaptation and mitigation. “This is an exciting partnership  opportunity for the SHIELD consortium, as we plan to help Davao Oriental contextualize their appreciation of disaster risk reduction and management, but we can also learn a lot from Davao Oriental’s experience on DRM,” said UNDP Deputy Representative Carrié.

With the help of consortium partners Philippine Business for Social Progress, National Resilience Council, Consortium of Bangsamoro Civil Society, and UN-Habitat, the multi-stakeholder partnership under SHIELD will also support the co-development of evidence-based actions to build resilience. These actions are seen to dovetail with Governor Uy’s priority agenda of ensuring food security, economic growth, and the health and wellbeing of his constituents amid increasingly complex risks. 

Areas of support under SHIELD include risk-based land use and development planning, budgeting, and investment programming, the development of bankable proposals to access national and global financing pools for climate and disaster risk reduction initiatives, conduct of value chain analyses, and the forging of multistakeholder partnerships with regional and national counterparts to enhance resilience building.

Speaking further about the partnership, Mr. Carrié expressed his hope “that the support for Davao Oriental under SHIELD will create wider ripples of appreciation on why building resilience matters. Consequently, we hope to see it flourish through the commitment of more actors in the province, to work together to withstand and prevail against the impacts of disasters and climate change”.

The SHIELD Program will strengthen the disaster and climate resilience of 11 provinces and two regions that are most vulnerable to the impacts of disasters and climate change. The MOU with Davao Oriental is the seventh provincial partnership forged under SHIELD.