UNDP official reaffirms long-term support for post-typhoon recovery in Philippines

Dec 20, 2013

UNDP Associate Administrator Rebeca Grynspan

UN Development Programme (UNDP) Associate Administrator Rebeca Grynspan arrived in the Philippines for a three-day trip to advance the agency’s support for post-typhoon recovery efforts, and consolidate partnerships with the Government, private sector and communities as they rebuild in areas devastated by Typhoon Haiyan.

Ms. Grynspan, a former Vice-President of Costa, brings a wealth of experience in post-crisis situations. She served as delegated UN representative in the Interim Haiti Reconstruction Commission, a board composed of Haitian government officials and high-level international partners. She has spearheaded various UNDP crisis boards following Cyclone Nargis in Myanmar, the earthquake in Haiti, floods in Pakistan, to name just a few.

“UNDP has worked with countries all over the world to assist them as they go down that long, hard road to recovery and reconstruction after crises and disasters,” says Rebeca Grynspan. “We see the rebuilding process as an opportunity to improve development and transform what once was into a more resilient and sustainable future.”

While in Manila, Ms. Grynspan’s meeting with Socio-Economic Planning Secretary, Arsenio M. Balisacan, Director-General of the National Economic and Development Authority, will focus on the Yolanda Recovery and Rehabilitation Plan.  She will address such issues as local democratic governance, accountability and transparency in the recovery process, during her discussions with Undersecretary Austere Panadero, Department of the Interior and local Government.

In the Philippines, UNDP has a US$ 63.5 million programme as its contribution to building-back sustainable and resilient communities. It began by operating cash-for-work projects focused on removing debris and restoring livelihoods. These employment schemes bridge the transition between the humanitarian phase and reconstruction.

UNDP recovery work will expand to include:

  • Providing start-up kits and quick grants for small business development;
  • Rehabilitating social and commercial infrastructure, such as farms and markets;
  • Providing mobile saw mills and establishing workshops for carpenters to recycle timber into housing materials; and
  • Supporting quick recovery of the local governments’ ability to provide essential services

UNDP is currently employing nearly 5,000 workers, almost half of whom are women, in emergency employment programmes in Tacloban, Ormoc, Roxas and Guiuan. The target is 10,000 by year end, an additional 20,000 in January, and 15,000 more by February. These jobs have helped to clear debris from more than three hospitals, 75 schools and day-care centers, a dozen municipal buildings, and 100 roads, which help to ease the arrival and distribution of humanitarian and recovery supplies.

In addition, the UNDP partnership with LANDBANK and mobile phone operator Smart will begin distribution next week of hundreds of mobile phones to beneficiaries who enroll in one of the cash-for-work projects operated by the Department of Social Welfare and Development, civil society or UN agencies in the areas affected by typhoon Haiyan. The plan will expedite salary payments to them as they work to rebuild their communities.

Ms. Grynspan’s will travel to Tacloban over the weekend to see first-hand the ongoing recovery activities in the devastated areas.

For more information, please contact:

In Manila:
Stanislav Saling, Spokesperson a.i., UNDP Philippines, stanislav.saling@undp.org,  communications.ph@undp.org; Tel.: (632) 9010238

In Bangkok: Cherie Hart, UNDP Regional Communications Advisor, cherie.hart@undp.org +66 8 1 918 1564

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