US, South Korea ink P111.5 million climate resiliency grant for Philippine cities

Pia Lee-Brago - The Philippine Star
US, South Korea ink P111.5 million climate resiliency grant for Philippine cities
Eunsub Kim (left), country director of the Korea International Cooperation Agency, and Ryan Washburn, mission director of the US Agency for International Development, sign a partnership agreement intended to boost climate resilience in six cities in the Philippines.
STAR / File

MANILA, Philippines — The United States government, through the US Agency for International Development (USAID), and the Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) signed a P111.5-million ($2 million) grant partnership agreement to improve climate resilience of Philippine cities.

The agreement, signed last March 22, will boost the capacities of Philippine cities to adapt to, mitigate and manage the impacts of climate change and natural disasters.

Through the grant, KOICA will support the implementation of the USAID’s five-year P836.5-million ($15-million) Climate Resilient Cities Project that benefits partner cities of Batangas, Borongan, Cotabato, Iloilo, Legazpi and Zamboanga.

KOICA’s technical assistance will enhance the capacity of local government units (LGUs) to develop guidelines and use climate adaptation technology.

More than 180 Philippine officials and stakeholders will also be invited to participate in capacity building programs organized in the Philippines and Korea.

USAID and KOICA will also support the six LGUs and other stakeholders to effectively disseminate climate-related information to local communities, increase access to climate financing for economic and social development and promote natural climate solutions that strengthen cities’ resilience to climate change.

The US and Korea will soon launch a partnership to prevent and reduce marine pollution in Manila Bay.

This partnership also seeks to enhance knowledge and influence social and behavioral changes for marine pollution reduction and prevention.

This latest agreement between USAID and KOICA follows the signing of a memorandum of understanding in April 2021 where the two leading development agencies agreed to strategically collaborate on priority programs, including climate change-related initiatives, to advance development in the Philippines.

“As the United States and Korea are among the largest bilateral donors in the Philippines, this momentous partnership of USAID, KOICA and the Philippine government will bring together our accumulated experience and technical expertise to build climate change and disaster resilience in the country,” KOICA country director Eunsub Kim said.

USAID Philippines mission director Ryan Washburn said the US has pledged to strengthen this alliance and broaden the focus to address issues of critical importance to the Indo-Pacific region and the world.

“In particular, we will deepen our cooperation in addressing the climate crisis, reducing plastic waste and promoting advanced technologies. We will also enhance our economic cooperation and people-to-people ties,” Washburn said.

The Philippines consistently places high in global rankings on climate change risk and vulnerability. With an average of 20 typhoons per year and frequent floods, landslides, earthquakes and volcanic eruptions, the Philippines is one of the most disaster-prone nations.

According to the 2022 World Risk Index, the Philippines ranked first out of 193 countries with the highest disaster risks. Between 2011 and 2021, the country incurred more than P670 billion worth of damage and losses due to tropical cyclones alone.

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