The Manila Times

BARMM, Australia and UNDP partner for a resilient future

THE Bangsamoro Planning and Development Authority (BPDA) entered into a partnership with the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) to support the formulation of the BARMM Spatial Development Framework (BSDF) 2024 to 2050 under the Australia-supported Strengthening Institutions and Empowering Localities against Disasters and Climate Change (Shield) Program.

BPDA Director General Mohajirin Ali signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with UNDP Deputy Resident Representative Edwine Carrié during a ceremony in Davao City. The Australian Embassy in the Philippines, represented by First Secretary for Development Paul Harrington, and Shield consortium partners from Philippine Business for Social Progress, Consortium of Bangsamoro Civil Society, and UN-Habitat were also on hand to witness the MoU signing.

The BSDF 2024-2050 is a landmark planning document that will outline how the BARMM regional government will allocate and utilize its land and natural resources to guide public and private investments, steer land use and physical development, build disaster and climate resilience, and promote economic growth over the next 25 years.

During the signing ceremony, BPDA Director General Ali expressed hope that the risk information to be generated during the formulation of the BSDF 20242050 will enhance the regional government’s capacity to reduce disaster and climate risks and vulnerabilities, noting that “this MOU will ensure that Bangsamoro communities are safer and more resilient to the impacts of natural hazards and climate change.”

“Preparedness is very important,” he added. “Hopefully, what we experienced during [Severe Tropical Storm] Paeng would not be repeated,” referring to STS Paeng (International name: Nalgae) which tore through the region in October 2022 and affected 5.3 million individuals and caused agricultural losses worth P4.37 billion.

“BARMM has been one of the fastest growing regions in the country. The hard part is to sustain that progress in the years to come,” said UNDP Deputy Resident Representative Carrié. “What Shield is trying to achieve is to help protect the BARMM from external shocks so that its development trajectory may continue.”

In his message, First Secretary Harrington emphasized a key feature of Shield, which is to support the forging of strategic local partnerships to “ensure a ‘Whole of Bangsamoro’ approach that meaningfully engages relevant stakeholders to jumpstart local economic growth, reduce poverty, and enhance disaster and climate resilience in the region.”

Shield is a multi-year partnership covering eleven provinces and two regions that are most vulnerable to the impacts of disasters and climate change. It is being implemented by a consortium led by UNDP, along with its partners Philippine Business for Social Progress, National Resilience Council, Consortium of Bangsamoro Civil Society, and UN-Habitat. The MoU with BPDA is the ninth partnership formalized under this resilience initiative, which is supported by the Australian Government.

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