Disaster Risk Reduction
The Philippines is highly exposed to natural hazards because it lies along the Pacific Typhoon Belt and is within the Pacific Ring of Fire. This is compounded by uncontrolled settlement in hazard-prone areas, high poverty rate, failure to implement building codes and construction standards, and degradation of forests and coastal resources, among others.
The brunt of these natural hazards is felt by 27.6 million Filipinos who are among the poorest and marginalized. They are often trapped in a seemingly never-ending cycle of disaster, displacement and rebuilding.
For a country like the Philippines, a proactive risk management approach is imperative. More than 40 per cent of Filipinos (37 million) are under 18. Children are the most affected in any disaster; by this alone, their participation in DRR is essential.
UNICEF has undertaken a study on children's vulnerabilities to climate change and disaster impacts. It will establish models of child-centered disaster risk management for eventual replication by local government units (LGUs), as a basis for integrating DRR in their local development plans. Aside from bridging the gap between community-based activities and public policy, UNICEF will also facilitate the partnership of non-government organizations with LGUs to adopt child-sensitive and child-centered DRR and climate change adaptation (CCA) plans and programs.
Non-governmental organizations (NGOs) will be tapped to serve as catalysts, mobilizers and organizers of child-centered DRR in communities and government. They will help build the capacities of local NGOs and partner with LGUs and national agencies to develop child-centered disaster risk management (DRM) programs and integrate them into local development and emergency plans.
The DRR objective is consistent with the equity focus of UNICEF. Priority will be given to hazard-prone areas, which are also usually the most economically impoverished and deprived. Disasters contribute to a vicious cycle of poverty, preventing children from exercising their rights; and families and communities from realizing their development potential. DRR helps in directing activities where they are needed most. The modelling approach for community-based and child-centred DRR and integration of DRR in LGU development plans will be done in areas that are most exposed to climatological, geological and other hazards.