With wealth concentrated in Metro Manila and a few other primary cities, secondary and tertiary cities must elevate their role in spreading economic development. The Strengthening Urban Resilience for Growth with Equity (SURGE) Project is a five-year, $47.8 million project, which fosters the development of conditions for broad-based, inclusive and resilient economic growth for a critical mass of cities and surrounding areas outside Metro Manila, Cebu, and Davao. SURGE assists cities and adjacent areas to plan effectively, guarantee basic public services, reduce business transaction costs, promote competitiveness, support sustainable development, and reduce disaster and climate change risks while ensuring inclusive and sustainable growth.
SURGE is the flagship project of USAID’s Cities Development Initiative, a crucial component of the broader Partnership for Growth (PFG). A White House-initiated “whole of government” partnership between the U.S. Government and the Government of the Philippines, PFG aims to shift the Philippines to a sustained and more inclusive growth trajectory on par with other high‐performing emerging economies.
Activities under SURGE focus on four key areas:
- Strengthening local capacity in inclusive and resilient urban development, including the promotion of disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation, and ensuring access to sustainable water supply and sanitation services
- Promoting low-emission local economic development strategies together with streamlined administrative and regulatory procedures and improved infrastructure and transport system
- Expanding economic connectivity and access between urban and rural areas
- Strengthening multisectoral capacity to provide health and other basic services to ensure social inclusion
In line with the Cities Development Initiative’s approach of providing a multi-faceted package of assistance, SURGE leverages and works with existing USAID projects in economic growth, environment, energy and climate change, health, and education. USAID also works in partnership with the cities of Batangas, Cagayan de Oro, Iloilo Puerto Princesa, Tagbilaran, Zamboanga, and will cover additional cities in the near term.
Within the objective of promoting local economic development, SURGE is also improving land tenure security and land information management in selected cities, including Antipolo City. SURGE will undertake the following activities:
- Develop comprehensive city land tenure profiles
- Provide assistance in the preparation of Land Tenure Improvement Plans and consolidated maps for pilot villages
- Assist selected cities in the inventory of government lands
- Conduct an international conference on land tenure to provide a venue for sharing and disseminating good practices on land tenure and property rights improvement.
SURGE is currently conducting in-depth area assessments to inform the specific nature of assistance in each of the cities.
SURGE created and launched a Stakeholders’ Forum, a platform for engagement among the various city actors, in each of the Cities Development Initiative partner cities. Each forum enables regular dialogues among critical government and non-government stakeholders to discuss issues in urban planning, local economic development, and urban-rural linkages, and identify and implement priority actions for each city.
- Improve urban development and planning
- Promote low-emission local economic development
- Facilitate greater connectivity and access between urban and rural areas
- Promote social inclusion