As the Philippines marked ten years after Super Typhoon Yolanda (Typhoon Haiyan) struck, a top official of the United Nations reiterated the need to further enhance preparedness, recognizing that challenges still lie ahead. But even as more work needs to be done to continually improve resilience in the Philippines, the Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General (SRSG) for Disaster Risk Reduction, Mami Mizutori, also applauded the Philippines for its disaster risk reduction (DRR) efforts.

SRSG Mizutori, who also heads the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR), acknowledged that the Philippines stands as a global model of resilience, noting efforts to build disaster-response capabilities.

“There has been so much progress, remarkable progress with the integrated [DRR] and climate change adaptation at all levels, national and local. The Philippines is a role model not only in this region but the whole world. Your commitment to prevention, your commitment to DRR has truly empowered your resilience,” said SRSG Mizutori.

SRSG Mizutori also acknowledged the country’s inclusion of local financing for DRR-related policies and the recognition of local governments through the Local Government Code of the Philippines, a practice not commonly observed in other nations.

“Financing for disaster risk reduction, which is crucial to effectively implement strategies and transform words into actions is a priority issue. Currently, leaders in local governments are more and more recognized for their importance in building resilience but [the Philippines] did it 30 years ago. And today, local government units in provinces, cities, and municipalities in barangays, have their own local DRR strategy, management plans, and are implementing it,” SRSG Mizutori noted.

The UN DRR executive also encouraged increased localization to bring disaster risk reduction efforts down to the grass root level, and include harnessing local knowledge and engaging with communities to empower local action. She likewise commended the collaboration of local and private sector leaders in implementing the Adopt-a-City program, which she found innovative and suggested other countries follow suit.

The UN official also highlighted the country’s unique approach to risk-informed policy and projects, extending to various sectors such as agriculture, industry, and education, “Public-private partnership is also your strength," she added. ##