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2-day RP-Australia development forum set in Butuan City

A two-day Philippines-Australia development forum is scheduled to be held on April 15-16 in this capital city of the Caraga Region.

It was learned on Wednesday that top representatives of the Australian government aid program will attend in line with their continuing commitment to the Philippine government's development program, particularly in the Caraga Region.

According to its organizers, the two-day activity is dubbed as "Philippines-Australia Community Assistance Program (PACAP): Building Community Resilience, Sustaining Development" and forum on the environment, development and climate change.

PACAP Director Lourdes M. Padilla and Communication Officer Ninosa Alipon said the forum will provide the avenue for PACAP partners to share lessons from their projects on environment and how these are contributing to the global effort in environment protection, governance, sustainable development and climate change adaptation.

They said the forum also hopes to strengthen partnership among civil society organizations (CSOs), government, donors and other national environment networks and groups.

Stakeholders from the Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID), Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), PACAP partners such as national governmental organizations, people's organizations, and CSOs are participating in the forum.

Another aim of the forum is to identify lessons and best practices and share these among partners to facilitate networking and partnership among CSOs, government, donors and other national environment networks and groups, and future financial assistance in the region, PACAP officials said.

Currently, Surigao del Norte is a recipient of Australian government grant amounting to P77.129 million with 39 projects, while Agusan del Sur has P75.646 million with 34 projects.

These projects are focused on the protection and governance of coastal marine ecosystems, watersheds, wetlands and ancestral domains, basic services and livelihood projects like potable water, watershed management, solid waste management, ecotourism, organic farming, sloping agriculture and contour farming.

Projects under climate change involve clean energy, adaptation and disaster risk management.

PACAP strategically implements its projects in the Caraga Region and other parts of the country through the Focal Community Assistance Scheme (FOCAS) engagement and nationally through Responsive Assistance Scheme (RAS) characterized by projects separate from each other but spread all over the country.

The PACAP is a 23-year-old grant facility of the AusAID in the Philippines. It has financially supported more than 1,200 projects benefiting at least two million poor people through partnerships with more than 500 CSOs, primarily NGOs and POs. (muc/PIA-Caraga)

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