MinDA, UNOPS sign MOU to assist LGUs access funds

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 15 February) – The Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA) has forged a partnership with the United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS) on Wednesday to assist the local government units (LGUs) access financing from various agencies for their projects.

MinDA Secretary Maria Belen Acosta and UNOPS Country Manager Oscar Marenco during the signing of MOU Wednesday (15 February 2023) in Davao City. MindaNews photo by ANTONIO L. COLINA IV

MinDA Secretary Maria Belen Acosta said during “Wednesdays’ Habi at Kape” that she hopes the partnership will accelerate growth in Mindanao, with MinDA and UNOPS assisting them in terms of capacity-building, technical assistance, and access to financial opportunities.

“Not all government units have the capacity to do the preparation, and they will need analytics, they will need technical assistance, they will need project preparation guidelines because overseas development assistance (ODA) would be very particular in terms of paper work,” she said.

Through the partnership, she said MinDA and UNOPS would make it easier for LGUs in Mindanao “to access whatever it is that they need.”

In an MOU signed by Acosta with UNOPS-Philippines country manager Oscar Leonel Marenco Ruiz, both organizations agree to cooperate in providing technical assistance in infrastructure master planning and project priority identification; considering possible mechanisms for the development of infrastructure projects, which could include project selection, technical studies, concept design, the development of tender documentation and promotion; technical assistance and advisory services for infrastructure projects; technical assistance after project tender, to support project implementation through project management, supervision, monitoring and evaluation; and capacity building.

UNOPS is a “subsidiary organ established by United Nations General Assembly as a central resource for the UN system in procurement, contracts management and other development activities, as well as its value in providing efficient, cost-effective services to partners in its specialized areas.”

“The role of both agencies would be to facilitate and to help because there are a lot of well-meaning organizations and private sector, even governments, who want to help. We want to make sure that the help that is extended is what is needed on the ground and customized for whatever resources are available on the ground,” Acosta added.

Ruiz said that UNOPS and MinDA would set up a “technical screening mechanism that will help us screen the projects that are being moved forward.”

“The idea is not to prepare just any other projects. This needs to be screened, this needs to be selected and aligned with the specific development goals. We’re talking here right now about energy, food security, and transportation,” he added.

The UNOPS’s “core mandate lies with infrastructure, project management and procurement, and the portfolio has been growing in the areas of technical assistance, development, relief, rehabilitation, and reconstruction.”

Its infrastructure delivery spans across multiple sectors, including water and sanitation, health, education, agriculture, transport, energy and other social infrastructure. (Antonio L. Colina IV / MindaNews)