PAGASA strengthens hazard and risk mapping capabilities thru new equipment from Australia, UNDP

October 5, 2023

From L-R: PAGASA OIC Dr. Nathaniel T. Servando, DOST Undersecretary Maridon Sahagun, UNDP Philippines Resident Representative Selva Ramachandran, Australian Embassy Counsellor for Development Thanh Le PSM, and SHIELD Programme Manager Maria Victoria de Guzman


Quezon City – The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in the Philippines and the Australian Embassy officially handed over ground survey and office equipment to the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical, and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) to support the generation of severe wind and storm surge hazard and risk maps and localized climate data for provinces.

As part of the Australian Government-supported Strengthening Institutions and Empowering Localities against Disasters and Climate Change (SHIELD) Programme, one survey-grade drone, one high-end rangefinder, four high-end desktop computers, one high-end laptop computer, ten tablet PCs, and several other ground survey equipment were provided to support PAGASA’s climate and disaster resilience initiatives.

Present during the handover ceremony were Department of Science and Technology (DOST) Undersecretary Maridon Sahagun and Assistant Secretary Rodolfo Calzado Jr., PAGASA OIC Dr. Nathaniel T. Servando, and Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS) Director Teresito Bacolcol. UNDP Philippines Resident Representative Dr. Selva Ramachandran was also in attendance, together with the Australian Embassy Counsellor for Development Thanh Le PSM. 

Undersecretary Sahagun highlighted the need for generating accurate scientific data and information for local resilience through multi-stakeholder action. “The heart and soul of the SHIELD Programme is collaboration, wherein its outputs will play a pivotal role in supporting local resilience planning, unlocking funding opportunities, and shaping policies for resilience at both national and local levels” she declared.

In his message, Dr. Ramachandran recognized UNDP and PAGASA’s longstanding partnership and expressed anticipation for deeper collaboration between the two institutions. “The cooperative, innovative, and resilience-fostering mentality is embodied through the SHIELD Programme. Today's handover is a demonstration of that collaborative spirit” he said.

Mr. Le reiterated the Australian Government’s commitment to support the Philippines in building its climate and disaster resilience. “We are proud to support PAGASA and highlight the role of science and technology as the foundation for effective and responsive climate action. Australia will continue to be a friend and partner to the Philippines to address these shared challenges” he expressed.

The Australian Government has allocated AUD 18 million for the SHIELD Programme to assist the Philippine Government in enhancing institutional and community resilience to climate change and natural hazards. This handover activity supports one of the Programme’s main goals, which is to generate more accurate, timely, and relevant scientific data and information on local hazards, risks, and vulnerabilities.

The SHIELD Programme is being implemented by UNDP Philippines, together with consortium partners UN-Habitat, National Resilience Council, Philippine Business for Social Progress, and the Consortium of Bangsamoro Civil Society, in coordination with the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), DOST, and the Office of Civil Defense (OCD). It is being implemented in 11 of the country’s most vulnerable provinces to disaster and climate change impacts, as well as in Metro Manila and the Bangsamoro Region.