Philippines: Makati named 'Role Model City' in UN campaign for resilient cities

Source(s): Philippine Information Agency

Philippine Information Agency press release by Jerome Carlo R. Paunan

Makati City
- The United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (UNISDR) has named Makati a "Role Model City" for implementing green initiatives and disaster risk reduction policies.

The city, being at the forefront of sustainable development, has also received recognition from other international organizations like the World Bank for formulating means to address the effects of climate change.

Aside from the energy-efficient, electric-powered jeepney now plying villages in Makati, the city government also boasts of its solid waste management program and urban-greening project.

Likewise, the Makati City Disaster Coordinating Council and the Makati City Environmental Protection Council were also created to address the need for disaster risk reduction programs and to achieve sustainable development.

Makati Mayor Jejomar Erwin S. Binay said the recognition came as a "pleasant surprise" to the city government since, "it was their duty as public servants to exhaust all possible means to minimize the impact of disasters on the lives and properties of city residents and other stakeholders."

“We have been enthusiastic in creating and implementing resiliency measures to soften the impact of disasters on the lives and properties of our people, and all stakeholders of the city, simply because it is the right thing to do,” the mayor said in an article posted on Makati's website.

The awarding ceremony was part of the 50th founding anniversary of Plan International Inc., a partner of UNISDR in its resilient cities campaign also engaged in humanitarian efforts to promote children’s rights.

Binay also said it seemed providential that Makati has received such distinction as it hosted the United Nations Disaster Assessment and Coordination (UNDAC) Refresher Course since Monday until May 20.

The city government is hosting the UNDAC Refresher Course, the first to be held in the country, in partnership with the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) in Geneva.

The Refresher Course aims to update UNDAC regional teams on the latest methodologies on team deployment and mobilizations, developments in humanitarian response system, as well as enhance the practical skills in the use of UNDAC mission kit. This includes software applications, GPS and satellite phones, and team building among UNDAC members.

At a dinner held at the Dusit Thani Hotel Monday, Binay welcomed over 60 local and foreign participants and 13 OCHA facilitators and presenters led by Terje Skavdal, secretary of Field Coordination Support Section (FCSS) of OCHA, and Arjun Kartoch, head of the Emergency Services Branch.

Meanwhile, the workshop topics for May 17 include Disaster Management in Makati, UNDAC’s role in Initial and Rapid Assessments: An Introduction to NATP Methodology and Tools, and UNDAC Mission Statement.

On May 18, the lectures will focus on UNDAC in Earthquake Response and International USAR Teams, Pre-Mission-Familiarization with INSARAG (International Search and Rescue Advisory Group), UNDAC establishment of the RDC and OSOCC (On-Site Operations Coordination Center). A simulation exercise with Major Jun Binay acting as incident commander in a disaster exercise will be conducted by OCHA.

On May 19, discussions will center on USAR Coordination in an Earthquake,

Addressing the Parallel Humanitarian Response, and Addressing the UNOCHA requirements in earthquake responses.

On the last day, May 20, the participants will be briefed on new security guidelines, exit and hand-over strategy,end of mission report, after which they will go on an Ayala Museum tour.

OCHA is the part of the United Nations Secretariat responsible for bringing together humanitarian actors to ensure a coherent response to emergencies. OCHA also ensures there is a framework within which each actor can contribute to the overall response effort.

The city government of Makati has partnered with foreign governments and agencies and local institutions in order to expand awareness and knowledge on disaster resiliency not only in Metro Manila but in the country as well.

“We know we do not have the luxury of time: weather anomalies and natural disasters seem to be happening with increasing frequency and ferocity around the world,” Binay said. (RJB/JCP-PIA NCR)

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