The Australian Government will provide approximately Php123 million for three new projects that will further strengthen the Philippines' capacity to adapt to effects of climate change and reduce the risks of natural disasters, Australian Ambassador to the Philippines Rod Smith announced today.
"Australia supports the Philippine Government's efforts in disaster risk reduction. While disasters cannot be avoided, we can significantly reduce the exposure and vulnerability of our people by increasing their knowledge and understanding of natural hazards," Ambassador Smith said.
The projects were launched during an Asia Pacific Policy Forum on Climate Change Adaptation hosted by the Australian Embassy. Participants included Presidential Advisor on Climate Change Heherson Alvarez, Senator Loren Legarda, and senior representatives from the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA), National Mapping and Resource Information Authority (NAMRIA), UN Development Programme (UNDP), Oxfam, the National Disaster Coordinating Council, Department of Environment and Natural Resources, Department of Interior and Local Government, World Bank, Makati Business Club and academia.
The APPF aims to facilitate a policy dialogue that strengthens partnerships between Australia and the Philippines. This is the 13th APPF hosted by the embassy. Eminent Australian climatologist from Victoria University, Dr Roger Jones addressed the forum which discussed financing for Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change Adaptation, and Land Use Change and Climate Change Adaptation.
The Australian Government will work with the NEDA and the UNDP on integrating disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation in local development planning and with different stakeholders to enhance the National Action Plan on Climate Change to include a focus on disaster risk reduction.
"The project will help develop and implement local land use plans so that physical infrastructure and communities are protected from, and less exposed to, natural hazards such as land slides, floods and sea level rises that may be a consequence of climate change," Ambassador Smith said.
"Australia will provide technical assistance to NAMRIA to improve the quality and timeliness of geospatial information. NAMRIA will work closely with other agencies involved in disaster risk management, to produce more accurate and timely information to emergency stakeholders and threatened communities to assist them to better prepare for natural disasters.
"Australia will support Oxfam to ensure that good community practice and knowledge on disaster risk reduction informs national policy. Many communities in the Philippines have developed coping mechanisms that can be replicated more broadly. Oxfam will document cases of and produce information on best-practice community-based initiatives to share with key regions, especially in high-risk areas."
In addition to the three new projects, the Australian Government Aid Program has contributed approximately Php185 million since 2006 to support the Philippines on disaster related activities including multi-hazard mapping, community-based disaster management, and emergency and humanitarian response.