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UNICEF hosts partners to review and assess Yolanda response for building back better, faster

©UNICEF Philippines/2014
UNICEF Philippines Representative Lotta Sylwander and DSWD Secretary Corazon Juliano-Soliman at the "Building Better and Resilient Communities" forum

MANILA, 24 June 2014 – Eight months into relief and recovery after Super Typhoon Yolanda/Haiyan devastated the Central Philippines, UNICEF, with Galing Pook Foundation, recently hosted a forum on "Building Better and Resilient Communities" with participation from a wide range of partners and stakeholders.

Nearly 80 participants comprising senior officials from different national government agencies, officials from Local Government Units (LGUs), Mayors, INGOs, CSOS, academia and donor agency representatives joined to assess post-Yolanda relief and rehabilitation efforts and recommended appropriate strategies to speed up support to help build resilient communities, disaster risk reduction measures and preparedness for future calamities.

Speaking on national response to Yolanda, Honorable Corazon Juliano-Soliman, Secretary, Department of Social Welfare and Development, stressed on the criticality of Community Driven Development and Disaster Preparedness: "Community-driven development, reconstruction and disaster preparedness must be at the heart of resilience building, along with responsive government and active citizenry." Secretary Soliman added, "When communities know what to do while facing a disaster, the risk and the impact are significantly reduced."

Delivering her opening remarks, UNICEF Philippines Representative Lotta Sylwander described UNICEF's support to Filipino children and called on the Forum participants to "share ideas to resolve bottlenecks experienced so far in the response, to strengthen partnership to deliver better results and to uphold accountability to affected populations and to the donors and ultimately find ways to build back better, faster."

Followed by welcome remarks by Marides Fernando, Chairperson Galing Pook Foundation; Christopher Sheen Gonzales, Mayor of Guiuan, Eastern Samar; Edwin Horca, Deputy Team Leader, Programmes of Save the Children; Assistant Secretary Tina Rose Marie Canda of the Department of Budget and Management; and Attorney Antonio Oposa, Jr., also spoke in the inaugural session of the forum.

The second part of the forum was a workshop with mayors of LGUs, where they shared concerns on bottlenecks they were facing and also proposed insights and recommendations on how to speed up relief, rehabilitation and the resilient development of affected communities.

The mayors agreed that much remains to be done in the rebuilding process, and that stakeholders should pursue greater coordination towards more efficient, empowering and sustainable development of the affected communities.

The forum concluded with a commitment to find better and practical solutions to facilitate the ongoing response to Yolanda and to any future disasters. They also proposed to hold a dialogue among mayors, cabinet secretaries, and the Commission on Audit to resolve the bottlenecks and fast-track the response to Yolanda.



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