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Expanding the Campaign for Disaster-Resilient Local Governments in the Philippines

INSPIRED by her experience in the Asian Ministerial Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction (AMCDRR) held in New Delhi, India, Mayor Madelaine Alfelor of Iriga City (Philippines) wasted no time to organize a workshop on implementing the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction (SFDRR). The “Local Implementation of the SFDRR: Making Cities Resilient (MCR) Campaign in the Philippines” was held on 28-29 November, barely a month after the AMCDRR. The workshop was led by the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR), represented by Ana Thorlund. The event was a success in many ways, as more than 40 mayors from the Bicol Region of the Philippines, were physically present with their Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (DRRMO) to sign their commitment to the MCR Campaign. But by the end of the workshop, more than 80 local governments have signed up online to concretize their pledge. The workshop discussed in detail the MCR Campaign and its toolkit that local governments can use, including the list of 10 Essentials to aid them in creating a Resilient City Action Plan. Lectures were given by Ana Thorlund, as well as Gerry Potutan of the International Recovery Platform who shared

lessons learned from disasters in Japan. Cris Rollo from UN-Habitat Philippines and Atty. Violeta Seva, long-time advocate of the MCR Campaign, both discussed about urban resilience and the critical need to put regulations in place and to implement these to manage urbanization with a DRRM standpoint. Cris Rollo emphasized focusing on small and medium sized cities, and also how the Philippines is linking with the New Urban Agenda through six (6) key agendas. Three (3) of these are closely tied to DRRM: Land and Urban Planning, Urban Environment, and Housing and Basic Services. Meanwhile, Atty. Seva highlighted the experiences of Makati City, a UCLG ASPAC member, in the MCR Campaign and how the city has benefited from its tools since it actively engaged in 2010. The key lesson they learned is the importance of proper documentation and availability of data, because the tools will be most useful to the city when realistic and honest selfassessments are done. The workshop’s modules discussed various aspects in DRRM to be considered, including options for financing, good governance, climate change adaptation, and health issues. Participants also shared their own experiences in preparing for disasters. For example, Baras Municipality is preparing for a 350 kph typhoon scenario, and stressed how they are teaching residents to ensure the structure and integrity of their homes, particularly roofs and windows. The six (6) provinces in attendance developed their initial Resilient City / Local Government Action Plans, and the representatives are keen to meet as one region to discuss further how they can help each other and interconnect their DRRM plans. UCLG ASPAC highly supports the mission of this event to promote and build resilient cities in the Philippines, one of the world’s most vulnerable countries to natural disasters. We encourage the participation of the region’s local governments in future trainings related to DRRM, and will offer opportunities for local chief executives from the region to share their experiences in international platforms, including the Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction to be held in Mexico in 2017.