The National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) and the Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) have signed a record of discussions for the implementation of a $2.5 million water resources management project in the country.

In a statement, the NEDA said the signing ceremony for the Capacity Building for Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM) and Sustainable Development project was held last Friday.

The project, which will be implemented until next year, aims to enhance the management and technical skills of institutions involved in the Philippines' water resources sector.

'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 Balisacan said.

The NEDA will work closely with the National Water Resources Board, the Department of Public Works and Highways, and the Local Water Utilities Administration for the implementation of the project and to establish the Philippines-Korea IWRM Cooperation Roadmap.

Under the project, there will be training offered for personnel in the Philippines and experts from South Korea will be providing technical advice.

In addition, the NEDA will coordinate with the recently created Water Resources Management Office (WRMO) in the Department of Environment and Natural Resources to ensure the implementation of the project is in line with the WRMO's mandate to integrate and harmonize all government efforts for the sustainable management of the country's water resources.

The project is expected to support the Philippine Development Plan 2023-2028, which indicates that integrated water and resource management is a way to strengthen efforts to rehabilitate and protect the country's ecosystems.

Balisacan said the project is crucial in addressing the water sector's problems due to 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,' he said.

KOICA Philippines country director Kim Eunsub said the South Korean government agency dedicated to providing grant aid programs, recognizes the need to help enhance the Philippine government's ability to address 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,' he said.


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