NEDA, Republic of Korea ink water resources management project

The National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) and the Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) signed the Record of Discussions to implement the Capacity Building for Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM) and Sustainable Development project on May 26, 2023.

“This momentous occasion holds great promise for the improvement of vital services, such as water supply, sanitation, irrigation, and flood control under the framework of Integrated Water Resources Management or the IWRM. By ensuring equitable, efficient, and sustainable management and allocation of our water resources, we can embark on a path of progress,” NEDA Secretary Arsenio M. Balisacan said.

The capacity development project is valued at approximately USD 2.5 million and will continue until 2024. It aims to increase the management and technical skills of institutions involved in the water resources sector.

The initiative supports the strategies under the Philippine Development Plan 2023-2028, which indicates that integrated water and resource management is a way to intensify the rehabilitation, protection, and management of the country’s ecosystems. During the signing ceremony, the NEDA chief highlighted that the project is imperative for addressing the issues in the water sector caused by weak governance and fragmented systems.

“We must address these shortcomings by embracing effective water governance through integrated water resources management. By harmonizing the planning and management of land, water, and coastal resources, we can overcome these obstacles and create a brighter future for all,” Balisacan said.

“KOICA recognizes the need to enhance the capability of the Philippine government in dealing with challenges and threats in the water sector. Our project was designed to help water agencies implement IWRM reforms and address issues on increasing water demand, insufficient water infrastructure, and rising climate change threats,” KOICA Philippines Country Director Kim Eunsub said.

He expressed confidence that the project would be able to contribute to the government’s goal of providing universal access to safe and sustainable water and sanitation for Filipinos.

On the Philippine side, NEDA will implement the project in close coordination with the National Water Resources Board, the Department of Public Works and Highways, the Local Water Utilities Administration, and the National Irrigation Administration to ensure effective execution.

The implementing bodies will coordinate to establish the Philippines-Korea IWRM Cooperation Roadmap as part of their efforts to achieve the project’s objectives. Furthermore, the project aims to offer training to personnel in the Philippines and dispatch experts from Korea to provide technical advice.

In view of the recent creation of the Water Resources Management Office (WRMO) in the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), NEDA will also coordinate with the said office to ensure that the successful implementation of the capacity-building project is aligned with the WRMO’s mandate on integrating and harmonizing all government efforts towards ensuring sustainable management of water resources in the country.