COVID-19, climate change response pushed in DHSUD policies

In a training intended to beef up the department’s policy capacities, officials and middle-managers of the Department of Human Settlements and Urban Development (DHSUD) pushed for ways on how the impacts of pandemic and climate change can be addressed.

More than 100 DHSUD representatives from its central and regional offices nationwide, including participants from the National Housing Authority and the Social Housing Finance Corporation, gathered virtually to participate in the Policy Development and Implementation Training held on August 18 and 25, and September 1.

The online training was co-designed by DHSUD and UN-Habitat Philippines through the Building Climate Resiliency through Urban Plans and Designs (BCRUPD), a capacity building project funded by the German government’s International Climate Initiative (IKI) and is being implemented in partnership with DHSUD and other key government agencies .

The training engaged a panel of experts on policy development, who served as resource speakers and guided the participants in exercises on the different aspects of the policy development framework.

“I would like to see that we utilize learnings relevant to policy formulation and implementation in the context of the national and local government procedures. We must be open to new learnings and let us capacitate ourselves to contribute not only to the department goals but to nation building, and serve the Filipino people,” stressed DHSUD Undersecretary Marilyn Pintor in the first day of the capacity building series.

Inputs from policy experts

During the first part of the three-module training, Dr. Alex Brillantes Jr. of the University of the Philippines (UP) National College of Public Administration and Governance emphasized the importance of creating evidence-based actions and understanding the context of public policy considering pressing urban problems like population growth, pandemic crisis, and climate change .

Carrying a global lens, Anne Amin, Legal Specialist of UN-Habitat’s Policy, Legislation, and Governance Section, provided inputs on urban governance and the importance of national urban policies in responding to the challenges of climate change and COVID-19.

Dr. Kris Berse of the UP Resilience Institute led the second day of the training underscoring the concept of mainstreaming resilience in crafting policy goals and objectives.

Heading the training’s last leg, Prof. Simeon Ilago, Director of the UP Center for Policy and Executive Development, shared on policy instruments and the fundamentals of monitoring and evaluation.

Tackling the DHSUD resilience framework

In the final workshop, participants discussed factors needed to enhance implementation of various DHSUD policies including the Resilient and Green Human Settlements Framework, a policy set to be crafted as mandated by the law creating DHSUD. Groups proposed various measures including local government units to advocate green infrastructure, increase of open spaces in urban designs, consideration of health risks in land use plans, and creation of policies on design standards for resilient human settlements to address climate change and guide a greener COVID-19 recovery.

Wrapping up the training, BCRUPD National Project Coordinator Reinero Flores provided a synthesis emphasizing the need to understand the interests of various stakeholders in developing and implementing policies.

“Our policies are not cast in stone, we need to adapt from time to time. As of now, we have pipeline policies highlighting issues we face today – public health, urban environment, and the pandemic,” Flores further pointed out.

Inter-agency consultations, technical sessions, and additional capacity building activities will be held following the training to boost the formulation of DHSUD’s Resilient and Green Human Settlements Framework.

Article originally published in the Building Climate Resiliency through Urban Plans and Designs (BCRUPD) website

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