Helping the Philippines’ Baguio City Smarten Up Against Disasters

Fast-growing cities
Where urbanization trends are concerned, the Asia and Pacific region is an easy example. Having experienced rapid urbanization in the past decades due to unprecedented economic development, the region is projected to be cradling two-thirds of the world’s urban population by 2050.

The Southeast Asian cities are growing fast with an annual growth of 1.4%, higher than the global average, which is 0.9%. This trend does not come as a surprise because Southeast Asian economies are shifting to industry and services centered in cities. In addition to being major manufacturing centers, cities are also national centers of education, science, technology, and innovation. 카지노사이트

The cities have two faces
Generating 80% of global GDP, cities attract people, especially those wanting to be near opportunities like jobs, business, and top educational institutions. Migration to cities fuels the speed and scale of urbanization, creating development challenges, including growing infrastructure deficits, increasing risks of climate change and disasters, environmental stress and, just recently, a global pandemic.

While cities fuel economic growth, they are also vulnerable. The cities’ physical form and land use patterns are outpaced by the urban population growth creating unsustainable urban expansion. Significant gains have been seen since 2008 in the expansion of water supply and sanitation services across Southeast Asia, but the gap in service provision remains significant in all countries in Southeast Asia, except the most advanced countries like Singapore and Malaysia.

With an annual growth of 1.4%, Southeast Asian cities are growing faster than the global average, which is at 0.9%

Baguio City, Philippines
In the Philippines, the city of Baguio in the northern part of the country is home to 345,366 people. In a tropical country like the Philippines, Baguio is a major tourist destination due to its cool climate. In 2019, the 49-km2 city recorded an estimated tourist arrival of 1.7 million. The hot months of April and May recorded the highest number of tourist arrivals, with an average of 100,000 a month (Source). 안전한카지노사이트

Baguio, like many other cities, faces challenges related to disaster and climate change. Baguio was significantly impacted by 2009’s Typhoon’s Ketsana and Parma (locally named Ondoy and Pepeng, respectively), with floods and landslides affecting almost 6000 people. The city’s exposure and high vulnerability to climate hazards, combined with the expansion of impervious paved areas within the city and its surroundings, caused its residents to experience increasing frequency and intensity of rainfall events and further exacerbated flooding events and rain-induced landslides. In 2018, Typhoon Manghut (locally known as Ompong) caused raging floods in low-lying areas and landslides, killing five people, and causing road closures and considerable damage to properties.

“Among the ongoing challenges cited by the city as contributing factors to flooding include drains blocked by the accumulation of garbage, limited capacity of the city’s drainage system, siltation, and narrowing of waterways due to the encroachment of settlements along with easement areas,” said ADB’s Urban Financing Partnership Facility group in their 2020 annual report. In addition, “climate change is only expected to exacerbate rain-induced landslides and flooding events due to the frequency and intensity of rainfall in the city,” the report said.

Partners fund urban services intervention
As part of the technical assistance Southeast Asia Urban Services Facility (TA facility), which began in July 2018, ADB and its cofinanciers—the Urban Financing Partnership Facility (UFPF), Project Readiness Improvement Trust Fund, Japan Fund for Poverty Reduction, and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation—helped Southeast Asian developing member countries improve urban services through technical, policy, and capacity development support for projects and investment programs in the urban development and water sectors. The TA facility covers Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Myanmar, Philippines, and Viet Nam.

Specifically for interventions to help Baguio City become a resilient and smart city, the ASEAN Australia Smart Cities Trust Fund (AASCTF), a trust fund under the UFPF, initiated the ‘Baguio City Smart Flood Early Warning, Information and Mitigation System’ project, which runs from July 2020 to December 2021, to help improve the city’s flood early warning systems, responses, and mitigation measures. 카지노사이트 추천

Inclusive approach
Recognizing the need for the system to be social and gender inclusive, the project used an inclusive and transformative approach for strengthening the flood early warning system. This means that the system’s timely early warning reaches the most vulnerable, including women.

This approach included the Mixed Methods Gender and Inclusion Study, which aimed to improve the understanding of decision-makers about drivers of gendered vulnerability and how these affect flood early warning systems needs within and between communities. The study also aimed to link the needs of vulnerable and marginalized groups to meaningful planning of preparedness and response actions; and improve representation and inclusion of marginalized groups in the early warning system.

Projected results and progress
At the end of the project, countries in Southeast Asia will have improved planning, project design, and readiness. The TA facility specifically provides for planning and design, enabling projects to be procurement-ready, including spatial, inclusive, climate-resilient, and participatory planning approaches.

In the case of Baguio City, a Baseline Assessment Workshop led by the AASCTF team was conducted in December 2020. At the workshop, city stakeholders provided feedback and insights on the early-stage development of the project.

The Mixed Methods Gender and Inclusion Study captured a diverse range of experiences and perspectives on early warning systems, and harnessed the perspectives, skills, and knowledge of the varied communities in Baguio City. Key informants to the inclusion study highlighted those most adversely impacted by flooding, which are the vulnerable groups including people with disabilities, homeless people, elderly women, women with children, and individuals without the ability to swim. Proactive efforts were made to incorporate the needs, priorities, and capabilities of marginalized gender groups, and magnify their voices at every stage of the flood early warning system.

“During the interactive workshop, stakeholders affirmed flooding and landslides as the main hazards in the city, and insufficiencies in budget, data, and knowledge as the top challenges shaping Baguio’s response to climate hazards,” reports the UFPF.

A smart city early warning system will improve Baguio City’s resilience against climate-related disasters, including flooding.

The city’s mayor, Benjamin Magalong, expressed support and hope for the project. “The smart city flood early warning, information, and mitigation system project is indeed very timely,” said Mayor Magalong, “as we are updating the city’s Comprehensive Land Use Plan so that we can mainstream disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation in the plan, and eventually improve the resilience of the local communities from any disaster including the COVID-19 pandemic.”

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