By Joyce Ann L. Rocamora
MANILA – The United States and South Korea are partnering through a PHP111.5 million grant to help improve the capacities of six Philippine cities in adapting, mitigating, and managing the impacts of climate change, the US Embassy in Manila announced Wednesday.
The US Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) signed the grant partnership deal on March 22, which will support USAID’s larger PHP836.5 million climate-resilient cities project.
The embassy said KOICA’s technical assistance would enhance the capacity of Batangas, Borongan, Cotabato, Iloilo, Legazpi, and Zamboanga to develop guidelines for 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 support the six cities and other stakeholders to effectively disseminate climate-related information to local communities.
The partnership will also help local government units increase access to climate financing for economic and social development and promote natural climate solutions.
In addition, the US and Korean governments will launch a partnership to prevent and reduce marine pollution in Manila Bay.
The latest agreement follows the signing of a memorandum of understanding in April 2021 where the two 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, meanwhile, cited the seven-decade-old cooperation between US and Korea in achieving their mutual goals in the region.
“The United States has pledged to strengthen this alliance and broaden the focus to address issues of critical importance to the Indo-Pacific region and the world,” he said.
“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,” he added.
The embassy said the Philippines consistently places high in global rankings on climate change risk and vulnerability.
The Philippines ranks first out of 193 countries with the highest disaster risks, according to the 2022 World Risk Index.
“The negative impacts of climate change and disasters severely impede national economic development and worsen poverty. Thus, one of the top priorities for sustainable development is to strengthen national and local climate resilience systems,” the embassy said. (PNA)