PH making strides in meeting UN goals
Learning from its “Yolanda” experience, the Philippines has made strides in building resilience against climate and disaster shocks, and is moving toward achieving a number of the targets under the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the Manila-based multilateral lender Asian Development Bank said.
The ADB, the United Nations Development Program and the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific on Wednesday launched the report titled “Transformation towards sustainable and resilient societies in Asia and the Pacific,” which took stock of the changing nature of risk in Asia and the Pacific, and the stresses, shocks and opportunities that are affecting a diverse region’s prospects for achieving the SDGs.
In an e-mail interview with the Inquirer, Bernard Woods, director at the ADB’s results management and aid effectiveness division of its strategy, policy and review department, noted that the 17 SDGs placed a strong emphasis on disaster risk reduction.
“Countries in Asia and the Pacific are already among the most vulnerable to natural hazards in the world,” Woods said, adding that a recent ADB report showed that unabated climate change would make the situation even worse.
In the case of the Philippines, Woods said the country was already making a range of important investments in resilience.
“Efforts are being made to implement the Sendai Framework on Disaster Risk Reduction at multiple levels. The Philippine Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Act of 2010 created an important legal basis for these efforts. It is exploring innovations to strengthen finance resilience, including new insurance programs for disaster prone provinces,” Woods noted.
Also, “recent ADB analysis finds some evidence that the Philippine government’s proactive growth stimulating postdisaster recovery and reconstruction programs after Typhoon ‘Yolanda’ have had some positive effects on affected communities,” Woods added.
“There are some important examples of support for community-level resilience building post-‘Yolanda,’ such as the Kapit-Bisig Laban sa Kahirapan-Comprehensive and Integrated Delivery of Social Services (KALAHI-CIDSS) National Community-Driven Development Project, and incorporation of reconstruction principles into social service delivery. There is of course a continued need to strengthen implementation, and a focus on resilience in national development planning can help,” according to Woods.
To recall, “Yolanda” (international name: Haiyan) flattened most of central Philippines when it unleashed record strong winds of 300 kilometers an hour in November 2013. Storm surges of more than four meters high also caused massive flooding.
Based on 2015 reports, the supertyphoon struck 171 cities and municipalities, affecting 12 million people. More than 900,000 families had been displaced and more than a million houses damaged, leaving at least 6,200 dead, 1,000 missing and 28,000 injured.
In a report last year, the World Bank noted that the onslaught of “Yolanda” slashed 0.9 percent from gross domestic product growth in 2013, on top of another 0.3-percent cut the following year. The extensive damage also resulted in 2.3 million Filipinos falling below the poverty line, especially those in affected areas.
The Washington-based lender had pegged total damage and loss due to the supertyphoon at P571.1 billion.
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