Phl accepts chairmanship of APEC disaster risk finance group

Mary Grace Padin - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines -  The government has taken over the chairmanship of an Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) technical working group in charge of crafting strategies to help the region become financially resilient against disasters, the Department of Finance (DOF) said.

In a statement, DOF assistant secretary and spokesperson Paola Alvarez said the Philippines has accepted the chairmanship of APEC’s TWG on Disaster Risk Finance and Insurance (DRFI).

 “After consultation with (DOF) Secretary (Carlos) Dominguez (III), the Philippines accepted the chairmanship,” Alvarez said.

Peru, which chaired the group last year, first offered the chairmanship to Vietnam as it will host this year’s APEC meetings. However, Vietnam declined on the grounds that it was never part of the TWG and did not have the expertise in the field, Alvarez said.

She said Peru then extended the offering to the Philippines due to its experience, being last year’s TWG co-chair and having pushed the disaster risk finance agenda during its hosting of APEC meetings in 2015.

 “After the Philippines took over the chairmanship of the DRFI technical working group, Japan, Chile and Peru said they plan to participate in the TWG and that Japan is willing to co-chair it, given  its extensive knowledge on this issue,” Alvarez said.

The spokesperson said Geneva-based Sustainable Infrastructure Foundation (SIF)  has also approached the Philippines and offered its assistance in training stakeholders. It also extended its support for the development of the country’s sustainable infrastructure.

She said the government can tap SIF’s International Infrastructure Support System (IISS), a public management tool to enable government agencies to improve their project preparation activities.

According to the DOF, the TWG on the DRFI plays a “crucial” role in crafting measures to financially protect the APEC member-economies from disasters, or allow them to immediately bounce back after calamities.

It was formed under the 10-year Cebu Action Plan, which was launched during the APEC meetings in 2015.

The Action Plan was crafted by the finance ministers of the APEC member-economies with four pillars, including the promotion of financial integration, advancement of fiscal reforms and transparency, enhancement of financial resilience and acceleration of infrastructure development and financing.

As of December 2016, the TWG’s members include the Philippines, Peru, Canada, New Zealand, Japan, United States, Indonesia, Mexico and Chile, along with the World Bank, Asian Development Bank (ADB), Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), and the APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC).





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