Foreign donors to discuss development agenda in Davao meet-A A +A
Tuesday, January 22, 2013
INTERNATIONAL development partners making up the country's Official Development Assistance (ODA) agencies are set to convene in Davao City next week to discuss ways to better complement multilateral initiatives, the Mindanao Development Authority (Minda) announced Monday.
Over 300 heads and representatives of various ODA offices including some members of the diplomatic community as well as officials from national line agencies are expected to attend this year's Mindanao Development Forum (MDF) which opens February 1 at the Marco Polo Hotel.
The MDF is a high-level multilateral meeting designed to provide the platform for dialogue and public discourse on Mindanao's development agenda, according to Minda which is organizing the event.
The event is expected to take on the following imperatives such as the impact of climate change and the proposed long-term measures; strengthening the foundations of peace and development under the Framework Agreement on Bangsamoro; the role of Mindanao as the country's agribusiness hub, and the attainment of Millennium Development Goals targets.
"This forum seeks to forge ahead greater convergence and better complementation among development partners in the implementation of various foreign-assisted projects in Mindanao," Minda chair Luwalhati Antonino said in a statement.
She added that the forthcoming meeting accords the strategic opportunity for Mindanao's development imperatives to be highlighted and prioritized by the development partners and funding agencies.
"While Mindanao lags behind the rest of the country in terms of development, there is much that it can contribute to overall national growth when provided with substantial assistance and investment opportunities," Antonino stressed.
She added that the MDF would be able to highlight the gains of various ODA-assisted projects in Mindanao and rally development partners around key priorities that impact highly on peace, socio-economic growth as well as rehabilitation of areas struck by recent calamities.
With a parallel objective of presenting substantial Mindanao perspective in the overall national development direction, the MDF is slated two days ahead of the annual Philippines Development Forum (PDF) which will be held in Mindanao for the first time.
Co-chaired by the World Bank (WB) and the Department of Finance (DoF), the PDF provides the venue for facilitating substantive policy dialogue among stakeholders on the country's development agenda. It also serves as a process for developing consensus and generating commitments among different stakeholders toward critical actionable items of the Philippine government's reform agenda.
The PDF forum is considered crucial in influencing the future plans and implementation strategies for ODA and is designed to help the international donor communities determine the most relevant assistance they can provide.
Participants to the event will also tackle concerns that are seen to influence the peace and development efforts including governance, ecosystems-based economy, justice, and peace and security.
"A lot of changes are happening in Mindanao's socio-economic development landscape, and we want to escalate discussions that will cater to more sectoral concerns," Antonino said.
She added all agreements and commitments from the MDF will be submitted to the government policy making bodies to ensure that strategic roadmap set for Mindanao is aligned with and supported by the country's policies.
In the past, MinDA has been taking the lead in the conduct of the Mindanao Working Group (MWG), a forum developed through the PDF mechanism that specifically focused on the discussion and integration of the foreign-assisted projects in Mindanao.
Minda is the government agency mandated to promote, coordinate and facilitate the active and extensive participation of all sectors to effect socioeconomic development of Mindanao.
Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on January 22, 2013.