SENDAI, JAPAN – With the increasing frequency of natural hazards and disaster-related economic losses globally, more public investments on disaster risk reduction (DRR), particularly on research and development (R&D) are necessary to support more effective and evidence-based DRR policies and strategies, according to the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA).

Economic Planning Secretary Arsenio M. Balisacan emphasized the importance of this intervention during the Ministerial Roundtable on Public Investment Strategies for DRR at the 3rd United Nations (UN) World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction held on March 17, 2015 at Sendai, Japan.

“The economic and social benefits of investment in data and research on DRR in developing countries are arguably high, but too often, governments, including their multilateral partners, underinvest or provide too little support to the generation of data for evidence-based DRR policy vis-a-vis public spending in post-disaster events such as relief, recovery, and reconstruction,” said Balisacan, who is also NEDA Director-General.

“In the case of the Philippines, public investments in R&D, or in science and technology, compete with the same pool of fiscal resources needed to address our critical development outcomes in health, education, social protection, and basic infrastructure,” he said.

He added that to create fiscal space for other critically needed investments in climate-change resiliency and in the social sector, particularly poverty reduction, the Philippine government has been mobilizing the private sector to construct, manage, or maintain infrastructure projects through public-private partnership arrangements.

“For this reason, we have turned to our development partners, such as the World Bank and the Japan International Cooperation Agency, to help build our local capacity for DRR, particularly the financing of DRR initiatives,” said Balisacan.

The Cabinet official also noted that a case can be made for stronger support to good data and ex-ante analyses of policy and investment options to DRR.

“Twinning arrangements on DRR science and practices between developed and developing countries, or between or among developing countries, should be advanced. We call on the multilateral development institutions and regional development organizations to deepen their engagement in helping catalyze the effort by serving as bridge or facilitator for such arrangements,” he said.

Balisacan also participated in the Working Session on Economic Aspects of DRR and Ministerial Roundtable Discussion for Reconstructing after Disasters: Build Back Better.

Other NEDA officials with Balisacan are Deputy Directors-General Margarita R. Songco and Emmanuel F. Esguerra and Assistant Director-General Kenneth V. Tanate.

The Philippine delegation to the UN World Conference on DRR, led by Department of Social Welfare and Development Secretary Corazon “Dinky” J. Soliman, was also part of the negotiations for the newly-ratified Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030.