Courtesy of Manila Bulletin

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the Philippine Disaster Resilience Foundation (PDRF) have signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) that will enable collaborations on emergency response, preparedness, mitigation and building livelihood resilience.

Recognizing the ever-increasing threats from climate change as evidenced by the increasing severity and frequency of disasters, both the FAO and the PDRF agreed that the situation requires concerted efforts to build and strengthen the resilience of communities in countries most vulnerable and at-risk from disasters, like the Philippines.

The signing coincided with the occasion of the International Day for Disaster Reduction on Saturday.

Under the MOU, both sides aimed to promote and strengthen joint actions to restore livelihoods and improve the levels of food security and nutrition in areas vulnerable to natural and human-induced hazards.

In a statement issued over the weekend, the FAO said the partnership will allow joint activities on surveillance of geographical areas vulnerable to disasters; information sharing on damage and needs assessments for joint response and recovery efforts; capacity building for disaster recovery, d) collaborative emergency response efforts to disaster-affected communities; and, supporting resilient livelihoods and environmental sustainability in disaster recovery and rehabilitation.

PDRF president Rene Meily said their organization is proud to partner with FAO in making the Philippines a “healthier and safer country.”

Established in 2009 by some of the country’s largest private corporations and non-government organizations (NGOs), PDRF is an implementing NGO that promotes disaster preparedness, relief, and recovery.

As an NGO, it works with field experts and reputable humanitarian institutions to organize and coordinate private sector solutions to disaster management. It has also established the world’s first private sector-led national emergency operations center in Clark Freeport Zone, Pampanga.

FAO representative in the Philippines José Luis Fernandez said increasing the resilience of agricultural communities to these threats and crises is at the heart of FAO’s work in the Philippines, even as it welcomed the opportunity to expand its partnership with the PDRF.

“Disasters and climate change impacts, including shifts in weather patterns and extreme weather-related events, disrupt economic activities and livelihoods, and ultimately threaten food security,” Fernandez said.

The UN agency said its disaster risk reduction and management and climate change adaptation work in the Philippines focuses on building the resilience of vulnerable farming and fishing communities to both natural and human-induced disasters and enhancing the government’s capacity to address threats and respond to crises.