UN and BARMM strengthen social protection in Bangsamoro

Bangsamoro Government Center, Cotabato City (File photo)

MANILA – A social protection program implemented by the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) in partnership with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the United Nations Development Fund Childhood (UNICEF), goes beyond the distribution of cash assistance and should strengthen social protection in the region by providing technical support for the development of a system for identifying the most vulnerable and at risk populations.

The Joint Shock Responsive Social Protection Program (JPSRSP) builds on the social protection programs implemented by BARMM to reduce poverty in the region.

Launched in 2020, the JPSRSP addresses the risks and vulnerabilities that the Bangsamoro, especially the poorest, most vulnerable and marginalized, face in times of natural and man-made disasters, which perpetuate the cycle of poverty.

“These systems should be in place not only during a pandemic, but due to Mindanao’s vulnerability to the adverse effects of natural hazards and even human-induced incidents. We must be prepared and ensure that our people are protected at all times,” BARMM Chief Minister Ahod Ebrahim said in a press release on Wednesday.

“This is the essence of a ‘risk-sensitive and shock-responsive social protection system’ that BARMM is strengthening in partnership with UN agencies,” said Gustavo Gonzalez, UN Resident Coordinator and Humanitarian Coordinator. (UN) in the Philippines.

“The JPSRSP enhances BARMM’s existing social protection systems to better target and deliver assistance before and immediately after a crisis turns into a full-blown disaster,” he added.

The JPSRSP focuses on three key interventions, which include integrating shock-responsive and risk-informed social protection into the Bangsamoro Development Plan (BRDP); strengthen the capacities of BARMM institutions to analyze and monitor natural and human-induced risks and improve synergy; and improving the poverty registry system to include risk and hazard vulnerability assessments, predictive analytics, inclusive targeting and effective monitoring.

A year after its creation, the PC worked with the Ministry of Social Services and Development (MSSD) which was then beginning to define the design of its own register of poverty and disasters.

MSSD designs the register to provide more complete information on the situation of households and takes into account the context of the BARMM region. UNICEF provided technical support on poverty recording instruments and management information systems.

Vulnerability Risk Assessment and Mapping (VRAM) is underway to map the vulnerabilities of BARMM communities and to identify the types of risks and how these risks affect the well-being of the marginalized population and their livelihoods.

FAO, in partnership with the Ministry of Home Affairs and Local Government (MILG) and Voluntary Services Overseas (VSO), will survey 1,680 households across the BARMM, including special geographic areas.

The overlay of this information allows BARMM to design risk-informed and shock-responsive social protection, well-targeted and adapted to the different contexts of the region.

In addition, in collaboration with the Bangsamoro Planning and Development Authority (BPDA), FAO reviewed the Bangsamoro Investment Development Plan to provide a training platform for key ministries to develop and implement relevant policies.

In addition, the JPSRSP complemented the government’s response to Covid-19 by providing emergency cash transfers to 1,800 poor families who were excluded from the Social Upgrading Program (SAP) and the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino (4Ps) programme.
The innovations of the joint program have aroused the interest of development partners to scale up and sustain its gains.

European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO), which channels European Union (EU) emergency aid, has supported the Philippines’ social protection programme, including through the development of the roadmap on shock-responsive social protection.

In BARMM, ECHO continues to work with the UN to increase the capacity and scale of anticipatory action through social protection systems to protect development gains against shocks.

The Australian Government is providing additional resources to expand this joint program to develop and expand work, in particular to improve BARMM’s cash distribution systems, supporting relevant grassroots management systems initiatives. data of cash transfer recipients and providing emergency cash transfers.

Scaling also allows for greater engagement in other forms of social protection, beyond cash transfers, that are compatible with BARMM’s social protection landscape, such as agriculture and insurance. actives.

“The Australian Government is pleased to support an scaling up of the joint UN program in BARMM as it contributes to a more equal and inclusive economy and society. This is a key objective of the Australian Recovery Partnership in the Philippines, including in the BARMM,” said Thanh Le PSM, Development Counselor at the Australian Embassy in the Philippines.

“Importantly, the joint UN program will help build longer-term resilience by bringing together development partners and BARMM government to strengthen risk-informed and shock-responsive systems that respond to challenges and needs. unique,” ​​he added.

With mechanisms and policies in place that support social protection, Gonzales believes that BARMM will be able to implement at least two shock-responsive social protection programs next year that can cover 63% of its total population, as well than 26,000 fighters. .

The JPSRSP is supported by the Joint SDG Fund, a United Nations multi-partner trust fund. This means that the contributions it receives are not entity specific but are intended to support broader functions at the UN system level.

This type of pooled funding used by multi-partner trust funds, such as the SDG Joint Fund, is widely seen as “pro-multilateralism” – and is much more suited to the large-scale integrated support essential to achieving the SDGs.

The flexibility of the SDG Pooled Fund in re-allocating funds has also proven essential for rapid responses to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Through the Common SDG Fund, the JPSRSP is supported by a number of countries, namely Australia, Denmark, Germany, Ireland, Luxembourg, Monaco, Netherlands, Norway , Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and the European Union. (PR)

Joel C. Hicks