The NCI-SRD Joint Administrative Order (JAO) No. 01 series of 2020 (Strengthening the Implementation Framework for the DA-DAR-DENR-DILG National Convergence Initiative for Sustainable Rural Development) replaces the NCI-SRD JAO No. 01 series of 2015 as the legal basis for the operationalization of the NCI-SRD strategy. The new JAO officially takes effect on May 21, 2020 – 15 days upon its publication in the May 6, 2020 issue of Pilipino Star Ngayon.

In 2019, the NCI-SRD JAO No. 01 Series of 2015 was revised to align the NCI-SRD implementation framework with the Philippine Development Plan (PDP) 2017-2022, the NCI-SRD Roadmap 2018-2030, and the AmBISYON Natin 2040. The revised JAO underwent through a series of technical reviews by the four component working groups (CWGs) in February and March 2019, before its presentation to the Regional Convergence Initiative Technical Working Groups (RCI TWGs) during the island-wide public consultations in NCR, Cebu and General Santos City in March and May 2019.

The final draft revised JAO was endorsed by the National Technical Working Group (NTWG) and approved by the Alternate National Steering Committee (ANSC) in July 2019, subject to legal scrubbing of the DA-DAR-DENR-DILG legal offices. The four Secretaries signed the final draft revised JAO in March 2020.

The new JAO covers the mechanisms and operationalization of the NCI-SRD strategy from the national to the municipal or city levels where the NCI-SRD strategy is implemented. It clarifies the roles and responsibilities of the different working groups and streamlines their functions for more efficient and effective operation. 

One of the major changes in the new JAO is the emphasis on the ridge-to-reef approach which sets the NCI-SRD apart from other convergence initiatives of the government. It also reiterates that the NCI-SRD as a governance strategy is operationalized through the convergence areas established in the rural areas. The ridge-to-reef approach or the holistic, collaborative, multiple-use, and sustainable management of all resources within the watershed shall be the tool for the interventions in the convergence areas.

The new JAO underscores the principles of complementation and shared responsibilities among the DA, DAR, DENR, and DILG. While the Lead Convenor remains to be the Department of Agriculture, the new JAO rotates the Chairpersonship of the four CWGs among the four agencies with a three-year term.

The National Secretariat is currently facilitating the election of the chairpersons of the four CWGs. The new chairpersons of the four CWGs shall take over in January 2021.