Manila, Philippines, 20 July 2022 – A workshop organized by UN-Habitat helps Philippines strengthen its capacity to adopt and integrate a new approach to consistently measure urban trends, which is key for informed urban planning processes.

Through a workshop and training on the “Application of the Degree of Urbanization (DEGURBA) for Production of Comparable Urban Data in the Philippines” the country will have more capacity to harmonise its approach in defining urban and rural areas. That, in turn, will help to clearly identify where urbanization is happening and better understand the interplay of urban-rural dynamics at the local level to inform development planning.

The DEGURBA approach will also help to enhance current legislation and policies on urbanization and urban areas, including those found in the Urban Development and Housing Act, Local Government Code, and policies and definitions provided by the Philippine Statistics Authority.

Furthermore, it will support the refinement of the Philippine Development Plan and related plans and policies, especially in setting and monitoring targets or indicators that differentiate actions in urban and rural areas.

The UN Statistical Commission endorsed the Degree of Urbanization (DEGURBA) in 2020 as the globally harmonised approach to measure and track urban trends more consistently. The global application of DEGURBA makes it possible to compare results produced for the Philippines with findings from other countries, and benchmark on interventions and actions using the same indicators.

The workshop and training, on July 18-20 in Manila and Tagaytay, were organized by UN-Habitat and the European Commission in partnership with the Philippine Statistics Authority with 25 participants from various national government agencies involved in urban data management, reporting, urban planning and urban development.

At the opening of the workshop, Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) Officer-in-Charge Deputy National Statistician Minerva Eloisa P. Esquivias, recognised the degree of urbanization (DEGURBA) as a sound approach for statistical comparison that is aligned with PSA’s function of monitoring SDGs.

Likewise, Department of Human Settlements and Urban Development Officer-in-Charge Assistant Bureau Director Jeanette Cruz noted that defining urban and rural areas is important and has legal implications. She emphasised that the government of Philippines needs to “review the development approach to address old biases that exist by differently defining urban and rural areas.”

Workshop participants also see the project as a platform for stronger inter-agency collaboration to achieve coherence and consistency in urban and rural definitions, as well as in analyses and actions moving forward.

UN-Habitat and European Commission in partnership with the Philippine Statistics Authority hosting DEGURBA workshop in the Philippines
UN-Habitat and European Commission in partnership with the Philippine Statistics Authority hosting DEGURBA workshop in the Philippines

These activities are a continuation of UN-Habitat’s role to support the monitoring and reporting of Sustainable Development Goals in the Philippines, where UN-Habitat is also contributing to monitoring of SDG 11.6.1. on waste management together with six partner cities under the Japan-funded Healthy Oceans and Clean Cities Initiative.

UN-Habitat is also enhancing the tool for climate and disaster risk analytics, working with two provinces on spatial and sectoral data under the World Bank-funded Provincial Climate Risk Diagnostic Project. It continues to work with the Department of Human Settlements and Urban Development in building capacities to manage urban growth and promote green, resilient recovery under the Germany/IKI-funded Building Climate Resiliency through Urban Plans and Designs Project. These projects and programmes contribute to achieving SDG11 and urban-related SDGs.