I recently had the opportunity to listen to a World Bank briefing on the “Philippines Systematic Country Diagnostic Update” during one of a series of consultative meetings done with various sectors. The main purpose of the report is to identify priorities for a country to most effectively and sustainably achieve its goal to end extreme poverty and boost shared prosperity on a liveable planet.
For the decade 2010-2019, economic growth accelerated and became more inclusive, with poverty declining by 9.5 percent. Progress accelerated from 2015 to 2018 but the pandemic which hit in 2020 reversed some of those gains.
Just as the world is becoming increasingly urban – an estimated 75 percent of global population will live in cities by 2050 – so too is the Philippines. Out of an estimated 109 million people as of 2020, 45 million (or 41 percent) of them live in just 149 cities across the Philippines. The rest live in approximately 1,500 municipalities and rural areas.
Today, more than half of the world’s population live in cities. This proportion grew from just 30 percent in 1950 and is expected to reach around 66 percent by 2050. The same trend is true for the Philippines. Over half of our population lives in 1,634 cities and municipalities across the country, with a large proportion of them residing in 147 large cities.
Globally, there has been an alarming rise and reported outbreaks of flu, polio, measles, and dengue. According to WHO, vaccination currently averts 2 to 3 million deaths annually and could save 1.5 million more if global coverage of vaccinations improved. However, despite vaccination efforts, citizen reluctance, supply-side chain issues, and lack of communication are ongoing challenges faced by the healthcare sector.
Ambassador Peter Kell introduced the New Zealand Embassy's public sector innovation program known as the "Govtech Accelerator," during a Liveable Cities Lab held last August 3. He was joined by CreativeHQ's Head of Government Innovation Jonnie Haddon and Anti-Red Tape Authority (ARTA) Philippines' Deputy-Director General and OIC Ernesto Perez.
Over the last two years, the world has experienced an accelerated shift towards digital innovation. The COVID-19 pandemic has redefined the future of work where schools, universities, businesses, and even governments have shifted their enterprises to online and digital platforms. Emerging trends such as the gig economy, online learning, hub-and-spoke office models, and even e-commerce are now changing the game. As technology continues to develop, what must LGUs do to prepare for this digital wave? What kind of digital blueprint must be ready to build a 'smart,' digital city?
Liveable Cities Challenge Philippines congratulates Butuan City for making it to the top 15 grand prize winners for this year’s Bloomberg Philanthropies Mayors Challenge - becoming the only Southeast Asian city to earn a spot in the global 15.