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Project Title: Recovery and Resilience Building in the Philippines

Project Description
The Philippines is highly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change and disasters. Mindanao in particular, is most sensitive to El Nino phenomenon, which has suffered from severe drought events, the most recent of which was in 2016.  Medium-scale climate projections for the Philippines indicate increases in annual mean temperatures ranging from 0.90C to 1.10 C in the 2020s and 1.80C to 2.20C in the 2050s; with declining rainfall over Mindanao during the wet season (June to December).

Local flooding events are also rampant, on account of deforestation and uncontrolled land use change in major watersheds and river basins.

The presence of Lanao Fault system and Cotabato trench, makes the region exposed to earthquakes.  The devastating earthquake in Cotabato in 2019 resulted in major damages and displacement of the population. As of June 2020, some 14,758 families have not returned to their homes and/or not able to have access to permanent shelters.

As the subject of protracted conflicts between revolutionary groups and state forces as well as those of intra-Moro groups/clans, the region has also experienced multitude of internal displacements, outward migration, and land conflicts. These interrelated issues have placed significant challenges in enabling the region to recover better, faster and in a more inclusive manner from disasters caused by extreme climate events; violence; and pockets of armed conflict. Violence and disasters result in displacement; in turn and/or as a result, aggravates land conflicts. These factors likewise affect the way natural resources are managed. There is a risk that many years of conflict and delays in socio economic support could lead to significant natural resources loss, such as excessive harvesting of resources, and uncontrolled land use conversion. In turn, these could compromise the region’s natural resilience, and could lead to greater damages from the impacts of climate change and disasters. The absence of clear public land tenure policies and regulations over vast areas, particularly those claimed as part of the territorial and operational jurisdiction of revolutionary groups, could also lead to conflicts and resource use rights. The open access conditions encouraged in such set-up could lead to long term devastating consequences for the region and its people.

There is great potential though to ride on the gains from the peace process between the Government of the Philippines and the MILF. Parallel to the political track of ratifying the Bangsamoro Organic Law and formally establishing the new Bangsamoro government, the normalization process also made significant strides with the second phase decommissioning of MILF combatants. The Joint Normalization Committee has also taken the initiative to expand the transformation process of six previously-acknowledged MILF camps into peaceful and productive communities to now include the other BCs outside these camps. This period is therefore an opportune time to strengthen partnership with stakeholders in the base commands for them to take on greater responsibility for development planning, sustainable management of natural resources, address land conflicts, and adopt a risk-based approach to local development. By addressing these interrelated issues in a participatory manner, the prospect of inclusive development and peacebuilding objectives being achieved through investments in green economic recovery is high.

Friday, November 27, 2020