Charting a resilient Bangsamoro region: Spatial development framework gets BEDC nod, BARMM Parliament approval awaits

In pursuit of lasting peace and sustained socio-economic development for more than four million people in its provinces and cities, resilience is increasingly becoming a priority for the Bangsamoro region.

The Bangsamoro Economic Development Council (BEDC), during a session held on June 27, has officially adopted the Bangsamoro Spatial Development Framework (BSDF) 2024-2050, a 26-year plan that serves as a comprehensive strategy designed to support and guide the physical and sectoral development of BARMM.

Photo by BPDA

BEDC Vice Chairman Mohajirin Ali led the session where the council also formally endorsed the BSDF it to the BARMM Parliament for conclusive adoption and approval. This policy initiative will serve as a long-term spatial policy framework guiding the region toward a future characterized by resilience, inclusivity, and sustainability.

With technical assistance from UN-Habitat, the Bangsamoro Planning and Development Authority (BPDA) led the formulation of the BSDF. This initiative is supported by the Strengthening Institutions and Empowering Localities Against Disasters and Climate Change in the Philippines (SHIELD), a program implemented by UNDP Philippines and supported by the Australian Government which considers resilience building and promotion of peace in Mindanao as key strategic priorities for its development cooperation in the country.

Earlier in May, the BPDA presented the BSDF to the BARMM Regional Land Use Committee (RLUC) which then endorsed the Framework to BEDC for adoption.

Formulating the BSDF

To guide the BSDF formulation, UN-Habitat applied its globally developed tools, Spatial Development Framework (SDF) and Matrix of Functions (MOF) methodology, to have an evidence-based and empirical understanding of the territorial dynamics of BARMM and the role that settlements or administrative areas perform in the region’s structure.

The resulting analysis from the said tools became the basis for the spatial development thrust and strategies specific to BARMM, promoting more balanced territorial development patterns and ultimately contributing to peace and resilience building.

In 2023, UN-Habitat facilitated a series of workshops and technical sessions together with the BPDA and members of the Regional Land Use Committee (RLUC). Included in these activities are the data processing, assessment, and initial validation by the RLUC to discuss the emerging spatial structure based on the spatial distribution of population and functions/services (i.e., social, economic, natural resources and land use, and infrastructure) across the region.

The analysis of the planning environment was cross-examined against the national/regional spatial strategies on agglomeration/concentration, connectivity, and vulnerability, and risk reduction to determine if the trend aligns with the spatial goals and objectives.

After spatial strategies were drafted, consultations were held with BARMM’s mainland and island provinces in November 2023 and January 2024. This phase highlighted the inputs and the crucial role of BARMM local government units, providing further insights and recommendations on the growth trends, development challenges, and opportunities at the provincial and inter-provincial/island levels vis-a-viz the region.

Climate risk and peace

Likewise integrated into the BSDF formulation is the use of the Provincial Climate Risk Diagnostics (PCRD) tool and methodology.  Developed by UN-Habitat in partnership with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources and the Department of Human Settlements and Urban Development, PCRD provided a comprehensive and systematic approach to understanding the climate and disaster risks potentially affecting development in BARMM.

The tool evaluated various factors such as climatic impact drivers and hazards, socio-economic vulnerabilities, and adaptive capacities, creating a holistic understanding of the climate risk landscape in the region and informing the key strategies of the BSDF.

In a similar context, human-induced shocks were also considered to capture a broader understanding of risks and their underlying causes that could affect the fragile peace situation of the region. This forms part of the bigger resilience-building frame for a more robust growth trajectory for BARMM over the next years.

Ensuring that this development roadmap is inclusive, the BSDF formulation process gathered various stakeholders from different BARMM ministries, LGUs, and civil society groups, fostering a participatory planning method and integrating a top-down and bottom-up approach.

Once adopted by the BARMM Parliament, the Framework will be translated into concrete actions in the specific sectors of the Bangsamoro Development Plan and Investment Program which will then guide the plans, programs, and projects of the LGUs in the region.

*SHIELD is a program supported by the Australian Government and is being implemented by UNDP Philippines and its consortium partners: UN-Habitat, Philippine Business for Social Progress, National Resilience Council, and the Consortium of Bangsamoro Civil Society, with the Department of the Interior and Local Government Philippines as the lead government agency.


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