UNDP partners with Eastern Samar to enhance disaster preparedness and response
June 12, 2023
Borongan City – With support from the Australian Government, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in the Philippines and the Provincial Government of Eastern Samar formalized their partnership to enhance the disaster preparedness and response capabilities of the province and work towards sustainable development.
Eastern Samar Governor Ben P. Evardone and UNDP Philippines Resident Representative Dr. Selva Ramachandran signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for the implementation of the Strengthening Institutions and Empowering Localities against Disasters and Climate Change (SHIELD) Programme in the province.
Australian Embassy Acting Deputy Head of Mission Thanh Le PSM witnessed the landmark signing ceremony, along with SHIELD Consortium partners, Philippine Business for Social Progress (PBSP), the National Resilience Council (NRC), and key local government officials.
Through this partnership, the SHIELD Programme and the Provincial Government of Eastern Samar will co-design solutions that address local priorities on strengthening the agriculture and fisheries sectors and promoting eco-tourism. Initial activities will focus on strengthening multi-stakeholder partnerships for building resilience, facilitating risk-based land-use planning, improving enterprise risk management, and accessing available climate and disaster resilience funds.
In his message, Dr. Ramachandran noted UNDP Philippines’ longstanding partnership with the province of Eastern Samar on various development issues. “We are pleased to continue our collaboration with Eastern Samar on disaster risk reduction, climate change, and sustainable development. We support the province in prioritizing the welfare of its people by developing their resilience to the impacts of disasters and climate change,” he stated.
Australian Embassy Acting Deputy Head of Mission Thanh Le PSM highlighted the Australian Government’s approach of co-designing solutions, placing importance on the inputs and expertise of the local government. “Through SHIELD, we hope to address [Eastern Samar’s] challenges by working closely through a partnership approach with representatives from the provincial and municipal governments, civil society, academia, and the private sector,” he said.
Governor Evardone emphasized how climate change and Eastern Samar’s inherent vulnerability to natural disasters has hindered the province’s economic development. “Now that the issue of climate change is at the forefront, people have realized the need to confront it. But we cannot do this alone, we need partners and we are grateful that UNDP, the SHIELD Consortium, and the Australian Embassy will be behind us. I would like to reiterate our commitment to be a strong partner in this endeavor,” he declared.
The Australian Government has invested AUD 18 million (PHP 630 million) to support the Philippines enhance its institutional and community resilience against climate change and natural hazards. This support affirms Australia’s continued commitment to the Philippines as a dependable partner in building the long-term disaster and climate resilience of its institutions and its people.
The SHIELD Programme is being implemented by UNDP Philippines, together with the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), and consortium partners UN-Habitat, NRC, PBSP, and the Consortium of Bangsamoro Civil Society (CBCS). Program areas will cover 11 of the country’s most vulnerable provinces to disaster and climate change impacts, as well as Metro Manila and the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM).
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