13 November 2013 – Berlin. Ambassador Maria Cleofe R. Natividad recently met with German development experts from the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit GmbH (GIZ) on 11 November 2013 to discuss the current status of development cooperation. Mr. Philipp Quitmann, GIZ Country Manager for the Philippines and the Pacific, and Ms. Daphne Gross-Jansen, BMZ Officer for the Philippines, expressed their condolences to those affected by Typhoon Yolanda and GIZ noted that it was still in the process of trying to locate ten (10) members of its local staff based in the typhoon affected area. An initial German deployment of 23 tons of aid relief arrived in Manila on 11 November 2013, while an additional 100 tons of aid relief is expected to depart today. The German government has also sent a search and rescue team from the German Federal Agency for Technical Relief (THW) and several German relief organizations such as CARE, HelpAge, and Malteser International are already on the ground.
While the focus is now on search, rescue and relief, the Philippine government and international partners would have to later assess the needs for reconstruction in the typhoon devastated areas. Taking this into account, and given that a number of key German programs on environment, coastal management, and rural development were being implemented in the Visayas region, both sides agreed to cooperate in assessing how future programming may need to be adjusted to support reconstruction and recovery.
Both sides presented a positive assessment of ongoing cooperation and highlighted the very strong partnership on environment, climate change, and biodiversity conservation. Further assistance is expected to be extended to peacebuilding and development initiatives in Mindanao, including for two existing programs, namely the Conflict Sensitive Resource and Asset Management Program Phase II (COSERAM II) and the Indigenous Practices for the Conservation of Biodiversity in Northeast Mindanao (IP4Biodiv) programs. In addition, the GIZ-implemented “Fit for School” program in the ARMM region has won plaudits for its innovative approach to promoting simple hygiene and health practices among children, including the brushing of teeth, hand washing, and de-worming.- END –