UN-Habitat Philippines Habitat Programme Manager Christopher Rollo and Ambassador of Japan to the Philippines His Excellency Mr. Koji Haneda present the signed exchange-of-notes after a handover of construction equipment by Japan to the Philippines’ Department of Public Works and Highways, in support of Marawi rehabilitation efforts. 

Marawi City, 15 March 2018 – The Government of Japan and the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat) exchanged notes today to signify their partnership on a post-conflict shelter rehabilitation project, with financial support of USD 10 million from Japan.

The project, focusing on peacebuilding through community-driven shelter and livelihood recovery, aims to support people displaced by the Marawi conflict, which took place from May to October 2017, in the recovery of shelter and community infrastructure. In order to contribute to the peacebuilding process and sustainable development, the housing and infrastructure components will be supplemented by peace-promotive capacity development and livelihood support.

This project will be implemented using a community-driven approach to empower households whose homes have been completely destroyed, by providing training that helps them become active actors in rebuilding their homes and communities.

Shelter reconstruction support will be provided for 1,500 affected households that will be organized under the Community Mortgage Program (CMP) of the national government through the Social Housing Finance Corporation (SHFC). Transcending this community-focused approach is the development of a city-level recovery and reconstruction plan, including the local shelter plan, that will situate the role of the families and communities in the overall rebuilding of the city.

Complementing shelter recovery, the project will also provide livelihood support by training households in construction, small-scale enterprise development, and other similar skills. Capacity-building for communities will also be at play as they get training on project, business, financial management, with a strong mindfulness for gender balance, peace building, and social development mainstreamed into the training.

One of the project’s components is community development through capacity-building with a mindfulness for culture, gender balance, and peace-promotive activities.

The project endeavours to ensure that all related activities are carried out in a manner that helps strengthen or rehabilitate the social fabric and promote peacebuilding among families and communities in relation to the wider community of Marawi and the region.

While shelter reconstruction will directly benefit 1,500 families, the project collectively targets a broader range of stakeholders, about 4,000 households, who will benefit from complementary activities like the construction or improvement of community infrastructure (water, sanitation, road, multipurpose centers), community development support, livelihood assistance, and peace and development initiatives.

The project, slated to run for a year, will be implemented by UN-Habitat in collaboration with several partners: with national government agencies and offices such as the Department of Social Welfare and Development, Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council and the Social Housing Finance Corporation, the Office of Civil Defense, and the Task Force Bangon Marawi; with the local government of Marawi; and with the homeowners’ associations in participating communities.

“Navigating” the multilevel governance grid with Laids Mias-Cea, UN-Habitat Climate Change Advisor

A regional workshop, “Enhancing National Urban Policies and Vertical Integration: Governance, Capacities, Finance For Local Climate Action,” was organized by V-LED Asia and the UN-Development Account with institutional partners on 4–6 February 2018, in the run-up to the World Urban Forum in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Partners of V-LED in the Philippines from national and local government, as well as civil society, made substantive contributions and shared experiential insights at the three-day event.

Sandee Recabar of the Climate Change Commission presented a case study of climate action in the Philippines, highlighting the relevance of integrating climate policies in local development planning and investment. On linking policy to practice, Nora Diaz of the Housing and Land Use Regulatory Board underscored the importance for lessons on the ground to be harnessed and linked back up to inform policy. Lara Togonon–De Castro of the Philippine Institute of Environmental Planners expounded on the key role of a city’s values when creating effective designs: “At the beginning of the process, it is important for cities to examine their values and for them to articulate these in their vision; these values must be translated into decisions and investment priorities, ensuring that plans are grounded on reality.”

On strengthening framework conditions and capacities for local climate action, Edgardo Pamintuan, Mayor of Angeles City and President of the League of Cities of the Philippines (LCP), discussed the role of LCP as a platform for sharing best practices and knowledge and how it engages with local governments by bringing the issue of climate change to the fore and fostering city-to-city learning.

Throughout the entire workshop, Rea Uy-Epistola, V-LED Project Coordinator in the Philippines, provided avenues for dialogue to ensure alignment of climate actions being implemented at all levels and by various urban actors.

According to Recabar, the workshop helped the Philippine delegation agree on an eight-point agenda to take back home: 1. strengthen coordination at the national level, and have that united front going to the local level; 2. strengthen the National Urban Development and Housing Framework and communicate it at the local level; 3. encourage local governments to have climate managers/champions in their offices; 4. have a strategy for communicating the need for local climate actions; 5. simplify existing templates used by local government units (LGUs) in planning local climate actions; 6. increase support for LGUs to access climate finance; 7. and 8. are to create a one-stop-shop for LGUs to access information for climate planning, which will be tied up with the monitoring and evaluation and feedback mechanisms at both the vertical and horizontal levels.

Follow VLED on Twitter for live updates on the projects’ work towards local climate action in the Philippines.

VLED is being implemented by UN-Habitat and Adelphi in the Philippines, Vietnam, Kenya, and South Africa. The project is part of the International Climate Initiative (IKI). The German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building, and Nuclear Safety (BMUB) supports this initiative on the basis of a decision adopted by the German Bundestag.

Angeles City, Pampanga – An intensive capacity-building activity was held for five Philippine cities last month to guide them through the steps of formulating their respective Local Climate Change Action Plans (LCCAPs) with a strong cognizance of the plans’ role in the broader context of their cities’ development.

The LCCAP Training Workshop, held on 19–22 February 2018 in Angeles City, in the province of Pampanga, was co-organized by two German-government-funded projects being implemented in the Philippines by UN-Habitat: Building Resiliency through Urban Plans and Designs (BCRUPD) and the Vertical Integration and Learning for Low-Emission Development (V-LED), in collaboration with national government agency partners.

Over 50 technical staff from local government units (LGUs) of the projects’ partner cities—Angeles, Cagayan de Oro, Legazi, Ormoc, and Tagum—participated in the event; coupled with representatives from national government agencies.

“The objective of this workshop is to train the five cities on the LCCAP, most importantly in connection to their larger development planning framework such that their urban plans and designs are climate-sensitive,” said Lara Togonon-De Castro, UN-Habitat Urban Planner for Climate Change, in an interview with local news channel GNN44 Pampanga. “So that all actions are synchronized, and resources are directed to where they’re needed.”

Part of the general advocacy of the workshop was facilitating the view on climate change as more than a delivery of disaster but an overarching condition under which cities move, grow, and develop. That local climate action planning isn’t a separate artery from city development planning, and that those at the helm of developing these plans are not wearing two hats but one.

“Lowering GHG, for example, should serve the broader context of your city development plan, not just lowering for lowering’s sake. It’s not a silo activity,” said Laids Mias-Cea, UN-Habitat Climate Change Advisor, during her discussion on Potential Mitigation Measures and Co-Benefits of Mitigation Actions. “It is imperative for cities to recognize how everything is tied together. Decisions on GHG reduction, for example, will be affected by your land use strategy.”

“Dig deep into spatial-sectoral connections,” urged BCRUPD Project Coordinator Yen Flores. “Lowering GHG, for example, is a challenge amid sprawled land use which demands frequent and long commutes.”

The workshop took participants through an assessment of their risks and vulnerabilities, setting targets, defining local priority actions for both adaptation and mitigation, to creating a climate action plan.

During the workshop exercises, participants were expected to capture urban plan- and design-related opportunities, implications, issues, and challenges from the results of their respective risk and vulnerability assessments. These were articulated in case logs which they built over the four days to serve as a mock-up of their respective LCCAPs.

These case logs were informed by existing city data sets and toolkits designed to help them formulate a host of technical findings—from climate trends and forecasts, GHG computations, identification of most affected constituency subgroups, and stakeholder mapping, among others.

These data-driven exercises took participants through a systematic protocol of how to rationally and objectively narrow down actionable adaptation and investment priorities and options given limited resources, political considerations, and other realities on the ground.

“Optioneering is crucial to climate action,” said Mias-Cea. “Maybe work on policy first to be able to implement. Maybe you need certain technology but don’t have it yet. Much can be done when working with what we have—when we have more, we adjust. Adaptation planning has to be done with full awareness of how local policy supports it for targets to be met. Or else plans won’t become reality.”

Climate Action Through Consortium
Co-organized by the two projects, V-LED and BCRUPD, the workshop was an exercise in synergy and served as an example of good practice in terms of efficient use of resources and alignment of project objectives.

Throughout the four days, the lectures and exercises were interspersed with city to city sharing, especially on low-carbon development, project financing, and the need for improved governance to support initiatives on climate resilience. Each city presented its findings, assessments, local climate actions and options to the other four. Diversity in context provided the opportunity to learn and contribute: “This worked for us, maybe it can for you.” Through deliberations by each city, it simulated how decision-making over prospective projects could take place in reality when different local units and practitioners from diverse fields come together. “This workshop led our team to debate on projects,” said Ormoc City Planning and Development (CPD) Coordinator Raoul Cam, “but we found ourselves prioritizing common vulnerable areas and ultimately agreeing on the most crucial things.”

The workshop also emphasized the need to find ways for establishing sub-national institutional and coordination capacity to apply and adapt climate change national policies and legislation to local conditions, and mainstream adaptation and mitigation into local government planning and programming. As such, representatives from national government agencies such as the Climate Change Commission (CCC), Housing and Land Use Regulatory Board (HLURB), the League of Cities of the Philippines (LCP), and the Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) to provide technical input during the lecture series, provide hands-on mentoring during the city breakout sessions, and observe how national tools and directives were applied at not only the local level but at project levels.

Thelma Cinco of PAGASA kicked off the technical input with climate projections and climate strategic planning tools.

CCC’s Sandee Recabar expounded on climate policies for local governments and the role of the Commission in support of them, as well as gave examples of subnational contributions given emerging directions of nationally determined contributions or efforts by each country to reduce national emissions and adapt to the impacts of climate change.

Teresa Lim, Jan Ebora, and France Dacumos, all of CCC, walked the five cities through each step of the GHG inventory toolkit and assisted the cities on the granular aspects of developing community GHG inventories.

Insights from national agencies not only informed the local planning process but also provided possible avenues for vertical coordination between national authorities and the local government units.

City Caselogs: Truth in Numbers, Realities on the Ground, Ultimately About People
The workshop culminated with the cities presenting case logs they had incrementally built over the past three days, featuring climate adaptation options and priorities and the resulting proposed projects. These presentations showed a refined appreciation for evidence-based planning, a heightened mindfulness for existing realities and policy landscapes, and a full-circle return to people as the ultimate centerpiece of these projects and plans.

Angeles City’s case log showed an LCCAP that heavily used stakeholder mapping, considered close urban proximity to the Pinatubo Volcano, and endeavoured to be in sync with adjacent cities and municipalities. It also identified urban heat island effect as a pervading condition felt by citizens in their everyday lives and that needed to be addressed, citing actions that needed to be taken immediately based on 2050 projections.  “We want an honest to goodness LCCAP that will not only benefit the public but also withstand their scrutiny,” said Francisco Pangilinan, Head of the City Environment and Natural Resources Office (CENRO) and Disaster Risk Reduction Management (DRRM) Officer, Angeles City.

“We’ve clustered 17 local climate action options into policy, programmes, and projects. Like incentivizing lowering of GHG at community levels,” shared Allan Porcadilla, DRRM Officer in Charge, Cagayan de Oro City. Their case log prioritized over 50 specific districts affected by six primary hazards, identified five solar plant power markets as an untapped opportunity, and leveraged existing ridge-to-reef networks. “We really have to be firm and resolute about our no-build zones,” Porcadilla added.

Legazpi City prioritized 12 mitigation-adaptation policies. Highlights included GHG reduction from water discharge by 50% in 2020 as an initiave to climate-proof city development plan objectives, further GHG reduction projects in the transport, agricultural, and waste setors, and a 100-year flood return plan. “The dream is to be a carbon-neutral city with green thoroughfares and compact dynamic public spaces with urban forest parks,” said Miladee Azur, DRRM Officer, Legazpi City.

“Technical findings have led us to prioritize green building designs and conduct land inventories for green placemaking,” said CPD Coordinator Raoul Cam during Ormoc City’s presentation. “We’re going back with the technical findings from the workshop and other takeaways to work with 110 districts in our city.”

Out of Tagum City’s technical findings, resulting plans prioritized safe housing, warning systems, efficient transport network, low-carbon mobility, and early warning systems. Tagum CPD Coordinator Sonny Manigo reflected, “Assessing and forecasting increase in temperature and precipitation compelled us not only to pinpoint what our city’s vulnerabilities are, but, more importantly, WHO our most vulnerable are.”

Stay Connected:
Follow Building Climate Resiliency through Urban Plans and Designs on Facebook or Twitter, and Vertical Integration and Learning for Low-Emission Development on Twitter, for live updates on the projects’ work towards local climate action in the Philippines.

VLED is being implemented by UN-Habitat and Adelphi in the Philippines, Vietnam, Kenya, and South Africa; BCRUPD is being implemented by UN-Habitat in the Philippines. Both projects are part of the International Climate Initiative (IKI). The German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building, and Nuclear Safety (BMUB) supports this initiative on the basis of a decision adopted by the German Bundestag.