Australian Embassy
The Philippines

SP140703b: Message by Ambassador Tweddell at the RAPID launch

Message by Ambassador Bill Tweddell at the Launch and Handover of the Supplemental Guidelines for Mainstreaming Climate and Disaster Risks in the Local Land Use Plans, Climate and Disaster Exposure Database, and Flood Hazard Maps
3 July 2014, 3:15 pm
Oakwood Hotel, Ortigas Center, Pasig City



Helping communities better understand their risks, reduce their vulnerabilities, build their resilience

Secretary Lucille Sering, Climate Change Commission
Ms Luiza Carvalho, United Nations Resident Coordinator
Mr Maurice Dewulf, Country Director, United Nations Development Programme
Commissioner Antonio Bernardo, Housing and Land Use Regulatory Board
Undersecretary Lesley Cordero, Office of the Presidential Assistant for Recovery and Rehabilitation
Commissioner Naderev Saño, Climate Change Commission
Commissioner Heherson Alvarez, Climate Change Commission
Governor Corazon Malanyaon, Province of Davao Oriental
Mayors of the partner Local Government Units of Project Climate Twin Phoenix
Mayors of the partner Local Government Units of the RAPID Program
Partners in Government and non-government sectors
My colleagues in the Australian Government
Ladies and Gentlemen

I see that I am speaking immediately before my friend Luiza Carvalho – clearly a triumph of “age before beauty” over “ladies before gentleman”!

Thank you for inviting me here today. I am very happy to be a part of the launch and official handover of the Project Climate Twin Phoenix products to our local government partners in Regions 10 and 11. The Australian Government also takes great pleasure in its continued support to the Philippine Government and its recovery efforts in Mindanao post-Typhoons Bopha and Washi.

Congratulations to the Climate Change Commission (CCC), other partner government agencies, local government units, and the academic community for making this day possible. This project has been a true partnership, so let us take a moment to recognise partners:
Agencies under the Collective Strengthening of Community Awareness on Natural Disasters (CSCAND);

  • Housing and Land Use and Regulatory Board (HLURB);
  • Office of Civil Defense (OCD);
  • National Economic and Development Authority;
  • Local Governments such as the -
  • Cities of Cagayan de Oro and Iligan;
  • Provinces of Compostela Valley and Davao Oriental;
  • Municipalities of Boston, New Bataan and Opol

The partners from the academic community – the University of the Philippines, Xavier University and the Mindanao State University – Iligan Institute of Technology.

Today's event is a testament to the power of collaborative partnerships in delivering a common agenda such as disaster and climate risk management.

One of the objectives of Australia’s aid program in the Philippines is strengthening disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation. Australia’s support is focused on working with the Philippine Government to understand disaster and climate risks, integrate these into policies and investments, and build the resilience of communities.

Two weeks ago, Australia’s Foreign Minister Julie Bishop launched the Australian Government’s new development policy, entitled “Australian aid: promoting prosperity, reducing poverty, enhancing stability”. And we are happy to assure you that the new aid policy affirms Australia’s focus on building resilience through disaster risk reduction, humanitarian assistance and social protection.

Australia has implemented a disaster risk reduction and management program in the Philippines since 2006, and has contributed a total of PhP2 billion (A$48.15 million).

In partnership with Australian agencies like Geoscience Australia and the Bureau of Meteorology, development partners like UNDP, non-government organisations and the academic community, the Australian Government is very pleased to have supported the Philippine government in producing several strategic outputs:

The formulation of new policies on mainstreaming disaster risk reduction in land use and development plans at the provincial, city and municipal level, and the accounting guidelines for disaster aid funds.

The development and introduction of the multi-hazard approach and risk analysis including the generation of the first-ever multi-hazard maps for 28 highly vulnerable provinces, risk maps for 32 cities and municipalities, including the 17 cities in Metro Manila, and vulnerability assessments for 55 provinces.

Through capacity building, the disaster risk reduction and management program has also enhanced the local expertise of about 40 specialists from 8 national agencies; local planning officers from 55 provinces, 32 cities and municipalities to produce tools and information systems for disaster risk assessment and embed these in their business processes.

We have likewise supported the development of the Red Cross 143: community-based disaster preparedness training. Through this initiative, almost 6,000 community representatives were trained and mobilised for immediate response during disasters and emergencies thereby building the disaster preparedness of the six million residents of the 143 partner municipalities of the project. We are happy to share with you that the Philippine Red Cross has adopted the Red Cross 143 training as part of their regular capacity building program.

Noting the impact of disasters on the health sector, the Australian Government has also supported the development and roll out of the Surveillance for Post Extreme Emergencies and Disasters (SPEED), a post-disaster and extreme emergency disease surveillance system. The activation of SPEED contributed to preventing the disease outbreak after Typhoons Washi in 2011, Bopha in 2012, and Typhoon Yolanda last year.

Through our technical assistance project, three people’s organisations were able to access the Government’s PhP50 billion resettlement funds for which PhP1.2 billion was recently released for building safer housing to about 3,000 informal settler families in Metro Manila.

In addition to this, Australia continues to be a responsive neighbour of the Philippines in times of disasters. Since 2006, Australia has contributed more than PhP4 billion (A$108.12 million) in emergency and humanitarian assistance for several calamities.

For Typhoon Yolanda alone, Australia contributed Php 3.10 billion (A$77.30 million) to support life-saving requirements, and recovery of people and areas affected by the typhoon. And that figure does not include the support provided by the Australian Defence Force, which totaled an additional A$30 million, nor, of course, what was donated privately by Australians.

In 2011, the Australian Government, the United Nations Development Programme and the Climate Change Commission forged a partnership to implement the Project Climate Twin Phoenix. The project was part of Australia’s support to reconstruction efforts for Typhoon Washi. Phoenix was then expanded in 2012 to include areas affected by Typhoon Bopha, and is now being expanded to cover the Typhoon Yolanda-affected areas, and will be launched later today.

I am very pleased that my senior colleague, Deputy Secretary Ewen McDonald of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, has joined us today from Canberra, Australia for the launch.

Today, I am also pleased to see the gains the Climate Change Commission and partner organisations have achieved under the project, and deliver on its commitment to hand over key products to local governments of Regions 10 and 11, particularly:
the Climate and Disaster Exposure Database, which provides information on the location, characteristics of houses/buildings, and socio-economic profile of the area.
Flood Hazard Maps showing the extent of the flood area, the depth of flood waters and period of flooding.
Risk maps that show the likely impacts of flooding, in terms of potential damage to buildings, monetary value of those damages, and potential number of people affected.

I would also like to congratulate the Housing Land Use Regulatory Board and the Climate Change Commission for delivering on your commitment in mainstreaming climate and disaster risk reduction in local land use and development plans.

Now, moving on, I encourage our national partners to improve further on these new approaches to integrate disaster and climate principles in decision-making, upscale and replicate the successes, and encourage more local action and investments that will address risks in more concrete terms.

I also encourage our local government partners to use the Phoenix products to improve their land use and disaster plans, and identify and implement projects that will make their communities safer and protect their investments.

In closing, I would like to thank you, our partners, for your collegiality, your support, and your commitment to work together to achieve a safer Philippines that is more resilient to natural disasters, climate change and their impacts.

Congratulations to everyone.