$500-M WB loan to boost disaster risk mgt, Covid response

April 13, 2020

WASHINGTON -- The World Bank said has said  its Board of Executive Directors approved $500 million in financing to help strengthen the government’s capacity to address disaster risks, respond to and recover from natural disasters. 

The financing would also support urgent needs created by the coronavirus disease 2019  crisis.

This Third Risk Management Development Policy Loan is part of the World Bank’s long-standing support to the Philippines’ broader policy reform efforts to boost its resilience and capability to prepare for and recover from disasters. 

This loan follows two previous Risk Management Development Policy Loans in 2012 and 2015.

The government is currently in the process of strengthening the institutional framework for disaster risk management through the creation of a new department for Disaster Risk and Resilience.

“The World Bank is committed to supporting efforts to strengthen the Philippines’ capacity to prepare for and respond to natural disasters as well as health and economic shocks like Covid-19,” Achim Fock, WB acting country director for Brunei, Malaysia, Philippines and Thailand, said in a statement. 

“Natural disasters and pandemics disproportionately hurt poor families and communities. Enhancing risk management and the capacity to address these challenges can help ensure that the Philippines can sustain progress in poverty reduction,” Fock said.

The Third Risk Management Development Policy Loan would support key policy reforms being undertaken by the government in the area of disaster risk management, including adoption and implementation of a unified disaster rehabilitation and recovery planning framework by the national government and local government units; promotion of integrated hazard and risk analysis in physical planning, and in support of policy development; development of multi-year investment plans for seismic risk reduction and retrofitting of important government buildings; and implementation of an emergency cash transfer program during shocks.

In addition to natural hazards, the country is now facing the impact of the global outbreak of Covid-19. 

President Duterte has declared a public health emergency and a state of calamity, mandating full cooperation among all government agencies and local governments to address the Covid-19 threat.

The WB has expressed its solidarity with Filipinos  and is working closely with the authorities to support action to address the unfolding Covid-19 emergency through financial support and just-in time technical assistance.

The WB Group is rolling out a $14-billion fast-track package to strengthen the Covid-19 response in developing countries and shorten the time to recovery. The immediate response includes financing, policy advice, and technical assistance to help countries cope with the health and economic impacts of the pandemic. 

The International Finance Corp. is providing $8 billion in financing to help private companies affected by the pandemic and preserve jobs. 

The International Bank for Reconstruction and Development and International Development Association are making an initial $6 billion available for the health response. 

As countries need broader support, the WB Group would deploy up to $160 billion over 15 months to protect the poor and vulnerable, support businesses, and bolster economic recovery.