Benefit sharing scheme to open economic opportunities for rural communities, Indigenous People from Ph “genetic” wealth 

May 13, 2022 
A benefit sharing scheme will be implemented by the government to ensure Philippines’ own “genetic” wealth from endemic plants and animals will give economic opportunities to indigenous people (IP) and poverty-stricken rural communities. 
   The Access and Benefit Sharing (ABS) framework from the country’s genetic wealth will be adopted by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) as its compliance to the Nagoya Protocol (NP). 
    The NP is a 2015 global agreement for the access of all to genetic resources and traditional knowledge and their equitable economic sharing.  

A genetic resource is a physical object of biological origin and the intellectual information associated with it such as traditional knowledge (Learn Nagoya). An example is a native people’s knowledge on the use of a plant as treatment for an illness. 

Nagoya Protocol. Credit- Cryoarks

  The poorest of society that come from ancestral domains (indigenous people) in the boondocks and rural communities are among targeted beneficiaries of the treaty.   
   The DENR project will be carried out over six years to be financed under the seventh cycle of ghe Global Environment Facility (GEF) through the United Nations Development Program (UNDP). 
   ”The project will increase economic opportunity and biodiversity conservation for local communities and IPs stemming from fair and equitable sharing  of biodiversity benefits,” according to a memorandum for DENR-Biodiversity Management Bureau (BMB) Director Natividad Y. Bernardino. 
   The project “Implementing the National Framework for Access and Benefit Sharing of Genetic Resources and Associated Traditional Knowledge”  costs a total of $26.015 million.  Of this, $4.384 million is taken up by GEF and $21.631 million is co-financed by Philippines, mainly government. 
   The first component of the project is harmonizing policies with the Nagoya Protocol on bioprospecting policies and scientific research.   
   These policies include commercialization of genetic resources on flora and fauna (plants and animal life).   
   Over the last decade,  scientific research activities have surged due to the rise of intellectuals and “Balik Scientist” Filipinos from abroad.   These intellectuals were given incentives by the Department of Science and Technology (DOST)  to participate in the local “brain gain.” 
   Filipino researchers have been exploring the production of drugs, pharmaceutical products, natural ingredients for food, clothing and raw materials for home furnishings, commercial products, and industrial products such  as commercial vehicles’ accessories.   

They have been tapping Philippines’ natural resources of plants and animals from its rich biodiversity. 
   “Research undertaking with the private sector for possible uptake will be established,” according to the report submitted by DENR-Foreign Assisted and Special Projects Services Assistant Director Sabrina R. Cruz. 
   The Philippines was one of the first countries to implement access and benefit sharing under Article 15 of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) through Executive Order 275 (1995). 
   It has since been amended by the Wildlife Act (Republic Act or RA 9147) and supported by the Indigenous People’s Rights Act (RA 8371 of 1997). 
    The DENR-BMB will lead the project.  Other implementing partners are Ecosystems Research and Development Bureau, DENR Regions 3 and 4, Department of Agriculture (DA), PENRO (Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Office)-Sorsogon, National Commission on Indigenous People (NCIP), DOST,  and local government units (LGUs). 
   The second component consists of information dissemination on the national policy on access to these genetic resources.   
   Policies on Intellectual Property Rights (IPR– patents and commercial licensing instruments) will be strengthened.   It will carry out capacity building for IPs and local communities in asserting their rights over their Indigenous Knowledge Systems and Practices (IKSP). 

Nagoya Protocol. Credit-Learn Nagoya 

   The third component consists of facilitating negotiation for ABS agreements.   
   “It will support community protocols for security Prior Informed Consent (PIC) and Mutually Agreed Terms (MAT) to ensure fair and equitable sharing of both the monetary and non-monetary benefits of genetic resources.”  (Melody Mendoza Aguiba)

DENR socio-economic resilience project in Catubig Watershed to sustain Samar Protected Landscape, support rice farmers  


May 9, 2022  

A Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) project to build socio-economic resilience in the Catubig Watershed will protect the Samar Protected Landscape and Seascape while supporting the livelihood of rice farmers, craftsmen, and fishers.  

The Small Grants Programme (SGP) Phase 7, funded by the Global Environment Facility (GEF), was launched by DENR last April 8.   

It involves livelihood and biodiversity projects in four sites. These are in Aurora province (Sierra Madre), Calamianes Group of Islands in Palawan, and Siargao Protected Landscape and Seascape in Surigao del Norte.  

Phase 7 sustains the project that was started under GEF-Phase 5.  

The DENR-GEF SGP-7’s work in Catubig Watershed may have the biggest environmental and socio-economic growth impact among Samar natives.  

Calamianes Island, Palawan. Credit Coyxxx

While known to have a rich biodiversity profile with mixed dipterocarp forests, Samar Island is also known as the most cyclone-prone region in the country.   

The National Economic and Develoment Authority reported in 2015 that Northern Samar, where the Catubig Watershed is located, had a poverty incidence of 61.6 percent. This makes it one of the country’s poorest provinces.  

The SGP-7 costs $13.78  million of which $4.436 million comes from a GEF grant. The Philippine government co-finances $9.214 million. “  

“It is urgent that we strengthen the resilience of our community-based organizations. They are the frontliners in conservation and livelihood interventions. In this period of climate change and biodiversity degradation, a more integrated effort of interventions is essential,” DENR Secretary Jim O. Sampulna said.  

Siargao Protected Landscape and Seascape. Credit Travel Guide Pinoy

Greg Sarmiento, executive director of the Eastern Visayas Partnership for Rural Development, said the launch of SGP-7 is timely due to recent climate hazards experienced in the province.   

The Samar Island Natural Park is the second largest natural park in the Philippines covering 335,107 hectares. It has the country’s largest contiguous tract of old-growth forest.   

The Catubig Watershed is a major source of water supply in the household. The newly completed dam whose water comes from Catubig Watershed irrigates some 8,000 hectares of rice farm.   

“Catastrophic incidents like the onslaught of Typhoon Odette highlight the urgent need to continue our efforts on disaster risk reduction and resilience building,” UNDP Philippines Resident Representative Dr. Selva Ramachandran said. 


Samar Island Natural Park. Credit-

“These devastating events exacerbate the already limiting and unpredictable situation brought by the COVID-19 pandemic. The promising changes being offered by SGP-7 are expected to effect change towards strengthening governance systems even for disaster response, recover, and building resilient communities.”    SGP-7 has a livelihood component. The project encourages natives to engage in biodiversity friendly enterprises (BDFEs) in order to help veer them away from illegal logging and fishing activities. (Melody Mendoza Aguiba)

DENR project maps accreditation of People’s Organizations as “good forest stewards” in light of aim to export forest products, industrialize  

April 30, 2022  

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) is mapping an accreditation system for People’s Organizations (PO) to become certified “good forest stewards” under the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) especially as POs desire to export their forest products.  

   POs are now planned to be accredited by DENR even as Philippines hopes to pursue industrialization that will require excellent management of natural resources.  

   “PO accreditation is an important mechanism to transform POs into exemplary resource managers. POs are considered as ‘de facto’ managers, a partner rather than a contractor,” according to DENR Assistant Secretary Marcial C. Amaro.   

  Amaro said there is a need to revisit the draft Department administrative Order on PO accreditation in order to put this policy in place.  

“(We need) to conduct a national consultative meeting for possible institutionalization of PO accreditation with concerned CBFM (Community Based Forest Management) personnel by the fourth quarter of 2022,” he said.   

The PO accreditation will have a significant role in providing a sustainable livelihood for upland residents in order to discourage them from illegal logging and illegal wildlife hunting. The accreditation system was piloted as under DENR’s project Integrated Natural Resources and Environmental Management Project (INREMP).  

   “The pervasive problems of poverty and landlessness have driven people to using public lands.  Inevitably, POs have become important players in the management of public land—timberland and multiple-use zones in protected areas,” said Dr. Manuel L. Bonita, DENR INREMP consultant.  

   The accreditation under FSC standards will enable POs to have easier access to export markets that look for international forest management certification.   

   Some 20 POs operating in nine provinces in four regions have already been accredited through the piloted accreditation program in 2019-2021 of INREMP. Having gained the trust of INREMP, the POs were allowed to enjoy substantial cash advances as  an intervention to natural resources management.  

   This allowed INREMP to accelerate lagging disbursement of the project’s fund.  

   ”In the future, forest products chain-of-custody must be added to the PO Accreditation System. This facilitates regulation of forest product harvesting  and inhibit corrupt practices,” said Bonita  at an INREMP Exit Conference last April 21.   

   DENR wants to sustain the accreditation program even after the closure of INREMP which is now on-going until June 2022.  

   POs are beneficiaries of DENR’s forest management contracts — Community Based Forest Management Program (CBFMP) and National Greening Program (NGP). The success of CBFMP and NGP depends on the transformation of POs into certified resource managers.   

   Being an accredited resource manager, one should abide by the Principles, Criteria, and Indicators (PCI) of good forest stewardship.   

   A PO applying for accreditation goes through an initial assessment and a series of annual assessments.    

   “An exemplary PO should not slide backward into an irresponsible resource manager,” said Bonita.     

   PO certification can be a testing ground for forest certification and “ultimately as an alternative or precursor to forest certification” (Melody Mendoza Aguiba)

Biofin partners with Blue Finance in training programs for managing biodiversity-rich Oriental Mindoro marine resources 

April 23, 2022 

The Biodiversity Finance Initiative (Biofin) has partnered with marine conservation organization Blue Finance to train people’s organizations (PO) in managing biodiversity-rich marine resources in  Oriental Mindoro. 

   The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), in a project with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), has been introducing biodiversity finance solutions to local government units (LGUs). 

   In Oriental Mindoro, its partnership with Biofin and Blue Finance is enabling it to raise fund in order to sustain conservation of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs). 

   “A key obstacle to effectively managing MPAs is a lack of economic resources.  But at the Oriental Mindoro MPA in the Philippines, a consortium of dedicated partners is turning one of the world`s most productive ecosystems into a working business case,” according to the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN). 

   Oriental Mindoro has an MPA known to be home to endangered species including “whale sharks, hawksbill turtles, dugongs and many more exciting and critical species.” 

  In its second quarter report, Biofin indicated that it has developed a “private sector strategy.”  It is a program that will significantly aid in raising funds for biodiversity conservation programs. 

   Public Private Partnerships or PPP is a strategic approach to raising financing for biodiversity projects in protected areas. 

    “A study on the extractive industry with reference to potential financing mechanisms and the feasibility of third party monitors will be undertaken. Meetings with IKEA, Shore It Up, and BDO were held to explore potential CSR activities with NGOs (non government organizations),”  according to a Biofin report. 

   “A study on the extractive industry with reference to potential financing mechanisms and the feasibility of third party monitors will be undertaken.” 

   These are Biofin’s other approaches to raising financing: 

1.     Biofin will assist BMB-CAWED (Biodiversity Management Bureau-Caves, Wetlands and Other Ecosystems Division) as it comes up with policy recommendations on the integration of biodiversity in the infrastructure sector 

2.     Development of Biodiversity Friendly Enterprises (BDFEs) particularly in protected areas in Mindanao where a survey has been completed and now under study 

   The Philippine Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan (PBSAP), which started in 2015 and will last until year 2028, will cost P24 billion yearly.  A budget deficit of P19 billion yearly exists. (Melody Mendoza Aguiba)

DENR USAID ‘SIBOL’ project boosts environment protection, economic activity in farflung rural areas  

April 20, 2022  

A Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) project that estimates the economic value of the country’s natural resources is seen to boost environmental protection and will support economic activity in farflung rural areas.  
   A DENR project funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) called Sustainable Interventions for Biodiversity, Oceans, and Landscapes (SIBOL) has elevated Philippines’ appreciation for natural resources and biodiversity protection. Project cost is P1.1 billion. 
   SIBOL has trained  Filipino natural resource managers on how to properly account for environment-provided benefits.  
   A total of 275 government staff and researchers from Philippine public universities has completed a three-month training that will support the government’s promotion of economic growth through the conservation of the country’s ecosystems.  
   The training serves as a foundation for incorporating environmental valuation into the design of economic plans at the local level.  
   The Philippines’ capability to quantify the economic value of its natural resources will be applied in natural capital accounting.  

   “When we have competent natural resource managers who are able to account for and monitor the economic value of ecosystem services, the country is in a better position to understand the drivers behind natural resource depletion. It’s a necessary intervention that will preserve the country’s biodiversity, oceans, and landscapes,” said USAID Philippines Environment Office Director John Edgar.  
   Natural resource managers and researchers from the DENR, Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources, National Economic and Development Authority, Palawan Council for Sustainable Development, and six public universities learned various methods for measuring the value of benefits derived from the environment such as food, water and fuel, soil conservation, and coastal protection.  
   “This (capability will help in) updating the country’s asset accounts, or the value of resources found in Philippine forests, coral reefs, and fisheries,” said the DENR. 

Cleopatra’s Needle Forest Reserve. Credit-Justgola

   According to the World Conservation Monitoring Centre, the Philippines is one of 17 megadiverse countries in the world, which account for 70% of the entire planet’s species of flora and fauna.    
   SIBOL is a five-year natural resources management and biodiversity conservation project.   It is among the biggest and most important initiatives in the country that could profoundly impact the environment in generations to come, according to USAID.  
    Launched in 2020, SIBOL aims to work with the government to achieve its goals of improving natural resource governance, stimulating public and private sector investments, and reducing environmental crime.   

Siargao Islands Portected Landscape and Seascape. Credit-Issuu

Such goals will lead to greater ecosystem stability and inclusive green growth. SIBOL has set up four sites in the following key protected areas in the Philippines:  

1. Masinloc-Oyon Bay Protected Landscape and Seascape, a coastal area that supports thousands of fishers and coastal communities threatened by mining, overfishing, and population growth  
2. Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park and Cleopatra’s Needle Forest Reserve, which are forest areas of the ecologically important Palawan province and significant habitats for biodiversity  
3. Mantalingahan Protected Landscape, a forest area that is home to abundant biodiversity and more than 12,000 indigenous people threatened by logging and mining pressures  
4. Siargao Island Protected Landscape and Seascape, a marine protected area surrounded by the country’s largest contiguous mangrove area and is threatened by over-fishing and the exploitation of other natural resources. (Melody Mendoza Aguiba)

Mt. Mantalingahan Protected Landscape and Seascape

DENR partners with Japan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, “decarbonize” society toward “Asia zero emissions community”

April 16, 2022  

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources has strengthened its partnership with the Ministry of the Environment of Japan (MOEJ) for the reduction of greenhouse gas emission toward a “decarbonized” society and “Asia zero emissions community.”  

During the Philippines-Japan Bilateral Environmental Policy Dialogue last March, DENR Acting Secretary Jim O. Sampulna said the Bilateral Environmental Policy Dialogue served as an avenue for DENR and MOEJ to partner in protection against the impact of climate change.   

“The Philippines, being an archipelago, is one of the most vulnerable countries to the effects of climate change. Our country has faced several typhoons for as long as we can remember. Partnering with Japan in terms of technology and know-how on measures to mitigate climate change is indeed vital at this time,” Sampulna said.   

DENR Undersecretary for Policy, Planning, and International Affairs Jonas R. Leones said the Philippines remains committed to the”projected greenhouse gas emission reduction and avoidance of 75 percent.”    

MOEJ Vice Minister Tokutaro Nakai said the agency was deepening its cooperation with the DENR through strategies such as Initiative on Fluorocarbons Life Cycle Management, Joint Crediting Mechanism.    

Other initiatives are on transparency reporting on greenhouse gas emissions, city-to-city collaboration, and knowledge and tools sharing on climate adaptation projects and waste management technology support.   

“In the area of climate change, we were able to confirm that there are some areas of cooperation such as the implementation of the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) as well as the development of the long-term strategies. We will make efforts to work for that and hope to cooperate with you in the future attempts, too,” Nakai said.   

Nakai said that the MOEJ would accelerate its effort to decarbonize Asia for the establishment of the so-called “Asia zero-emissions community.”   

The Bilateral Environment Dialogue was part of the first-ever Philippines-Japan Environmental Week organized by DENR and MOEJ.  

The rest of the activities included technical level and plenary sessions on various areas of waste management, waste-to-energy projects, and climate change.   

Asian utilities are key to net zero carbon. Credit-Euromoney

Through a joint statement, the DENR and the MOEJ agreed to take actions to tackle climate change. The two countries will work on advancing the life cycle management of fluorocarbon in the Philippines and Japan to contribute to the Philippines’ hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) emissions reduction.   

“On fluorocarbon, both sides confirm the ongoing and future cooperation between the DENR and the MOEJ in potential assessment of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) collection and destruction. Other cooperation projects are on capacity development of policymakers and technicians and utilization of the Joint Crediting Mechanism (JCM) under the Initiative on Fluorocarbons Life Cycle Management (IFL),” the joint statement read.   

As part of the Partnership to Strengthen Transparency for co-Innovation (PaSTI) program, the DENR and MOEJ will continue to work on capacity-building in the Industrial Processes and Product Use (IPPU) and waste sectors.  

Getting to net zero built in the environment. Credit-Arcadis

These projects will strengthen Greenhouse Gas (GHG) reporting and incentives for action.  

The partnership also calls for engagement of the private and local government stakeholders as a key component.   

Renewable energy sources in Southeast Asia. Credit-ResearchGate

“On adaptations, both sides confirm the importance of sharing the knowledge and tools for implementing adaptation projects in vulnerable communities through the Asia-Pacific Climate Change Adaptation Information Platform (AP-PLAT) and the National Integrated Climate Change Database Information and Exchange System (NICCDIES).”

Joint Memorandum Circular of DENR, DA, DILG to strengthen marine protected areas, enrich coral reefs and marine habitats 

April 12, 2022 

A Joint Memorandum Circular between the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and two other state agencies is expected to strengthen the establishment of marine protected area networks (MPAN), restore damaged coastal ecosystems, and enrich coral reefs and marine habitats. 

   This policy mandates collaboration between DENR, the Department of Agriculture (DA), and Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) in improving the coastal and marine environment through cooperation. 

   “The eventual approval of the joint (DA-DENR-DILG) policy guidelines on the establishment and management of MPANs will be valuable in biodiversity conservation efforts,” according to Dr. Vincent V. Hilomen, SMARTSeas PH national project manager. 

    The JMC ensures that biodiversity conservation is given priority equally along with economic development. 

DENR-SMARTSeas Marine Protected Areas-Networks

   “There will be a value for a government policy that places conservation as equally important to development and progress.  Many of the degraded coastal and marine habitats resulted from the relentless push for development and progress with little afterthought of the higher costs to the environment,” said Hilomen. 

   A joint effort of DENR, DA, and DILG will help government hurdle the difficulties of putting up Marine Protected Areas (MPA) and MPA Network (MPAN) amid coastal residents’ usual opposition against these. 

MPAN is a collection of individual MPAs or reserves operating cooperatively and synergistically under the SMARTSeas. 

   “One of the greatest challenges that we are experiencing in establishing MPANs is still the acceptance of the community. There are several instances where the communities resist to set aside a portion of their waters for protection purposes because they think that access to their fishing areas will be limited,” said Hilomen. 

   It is imperative that government capacitates its MPA/MPAN workforce to empower them in harnessing cooperation from communities in establishing the MPA/MPANs. 

   “A thorough discussion of the benefits from protection and consultation with the community from the onset is a must.   The involvement of the community in protection is critical.” 

   The DENR’s SMARTSeas PH project or Strengthening Marine Protected Areas to Conserve Marine Key Biodiversity Areas in the Philippines is funded under a $28.53 million co-financing scheme between government and the Global Environment Facility (GEF). It also received a GEF grant of $8 million. 

   The SMARTSeas PH has so far capacitated at least  70 key DENR regional and field staff through online distance learning.  

This is the first-ever of its kind capacity building activity in the DENR.  The increased competencies included identification and approaches to resolving threats to the marine environment. 

   The establishment of three MPANs led to the development of nearly 90 management bodies of MPAs and MPANs that have demonstrated increased competencies for management effectiveness. 

   SMARTSeas has also developed a better monitoring and evaluation system for MPAs and MPANs which provided an important guide to monitor management progress across the country.    Protection of coastal ecosystems under the MPA includes patrolling, surveillance of habitats, conduct of direct activities and repair of signages, other facilities, gears and equipment. Melody Mendoza Aguiba

About SMARTSeas (Reference: Paglayag) 

The DENR-SMARTSeas PH Project was a six-year initiative of the DENR-BMB. With support from the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and the Global Environment Facility (GEF), the project aimed to accelerate the establishment of MPA and MPANs to include more marine key biodiversity areas (KBAs) in order to reduce and arrest the rapid degradation of marine and coastal habitats.  

The project established biodiversity friendly enterprises (BDFEs) for people’s organizations (POs) who manage their MPAs and established a co-management model as a revenue mechanisms from impact investments to sustain and cover management costs; and enabled a policy where science-based conservation strategies of marine biodiversity are ensured.  

The project was piloted in five sites in the country – Verde Island Passage (VIP), Southern Palawan, Tanon Strait Protected Landscape (TSPS), Lanuza Bay, and Davao Gulf.  

The uniqueness of each site as a marine KBA resulted to different storylines, but aiming at achieving the same goal.  

During the implementation, the project facilitated the establishment of three MPANs, adding 1.8 million hectares of the sea under a form of protection and enclosing an additional 17 marine KBAs.  

The project established 33 BDFEs in accordance with the DENR guidelines — 21 of which were provided with Low Value Grant support to POs, capacitated and deputized 220 Bantay Dagat through the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR).  

It also leveraged at least P 2.9 billion worth of support from the private sector and local government units, and enabled institutionalization of a more inclusive and integrated MPA and MPAN framework through local and national policies.  

Pilipinas namuno sa ikawalong usaping pampuno ng pondo ng Global Environment Facility

November 13, 2021

Inilathala ni Melody Mendoza Aguiba

   Pinamunuan ng Pilipinas ang rehiyon ng Asya sa ikawalong usapin ng pampuno ng pondo ng Global Environment Facility o GEF. 

   Ang mga usaping pinansyal na ito ay makakatulong upang maisakatuparan ng mga umuunlad na bansa ang kanilang pangako sa pandaigdigang layunin na pang-kalikasan.  Yan ay sa kabila ng mga balakid na dulot ng pandemya na Covid 19.  

   Ang pangalawang pagtitipon sa usaping GEF8 na ginawa ng online noong Setyember 29 hanggang Oktubre 1 ay napakahalaga.  Ito ay sa dahilang ang Covid 19 ay nagdulot ng krises na dapat lang malampasan ng bawat bansa.

   Ang krises na  yan ay hindi dapat makapigil upang ang mga suliranin sa biodiversity, pagbabago-bago ng klima o climate change, polusyon mula sa kemikal at iba pang mga bagay na sentro ng atensyon ng GEF ay ma-resolba.

   Sinabi ni Kagalang-galang na Roy A. Cimatu, kalihim ng Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), na ang bansa ay humaharap sa mga mahalagang suliranin na nangangailangan ng probisyong pinansyal.

   “Kailangan nating mapondohan ang mga hakbang hinggil sa pagtugon sa suliranin sa klima, sa pangangalaga ng kalikasan, at sa pandemya.  Ang GEF8 ay nagbibigay ng oportunidad sa mga bansa na malutas ang mga prublemang ito,” ani Cimatu.

   Ang Pilipinas, na lumahok sa usaping GEF8 sa pamamagitan ni DENR Undersecretary Analiza Rebuelta-Teh, ay umaasang mapopondohan ang kanyang mga proyektong pang-kalikasan sa pamamagitan ng susunod na cycle ng GEF.

   Ang apat na taong cycle ng GEF-8 ay magsisimula mula July 2022 at magtatapos sa June 2026.

   Ang pondo ng GEF-8 ay maaring umabot sa $6.5 na bilyon.  Yan ay possible kung maitataas ang alokasyon para sa mga programang tinatawag na “Non-Grant Instruments” (NGI) at Small Grants Program (SGP).

   Ang mga alokasyon ng pondo para sa mga ito ay naglalayon na tulungan ang pribadong sektor at mamamayang sibil upang makilahok sa mga proyektong NGI at SGP.

   Ang GEF ay itinayo tatlumpung (30) taon na ang nakalilipas upang tulungan ang mga umuunlad na bansa na tugunan ang mga pangunahing suliranin hinggil sa pagkasira ng mga kakahuyan, pagdami ng disyerto, pagbabago-bago ng klima, pagkawala ng biodiversity, at pagkasira ng ozone na ating proteksyon sa atmospera.

   Si Teh ay naging “Asia observer” hindi lamang ng Pilipinas kundi ng rehiyong Asya  sa GEF8 sa kadahilanang sya ang Operational Focal Point person ng GEF Asya.

   Ang rehiyon na ito ay kinalalahukan ng Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cambodia, Iraq, Jordan, Laos, Lebanon, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Mongolia, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, Philippines, Thailand, Viet Nam, Indonesia, Syria, at Yemen.

   Sa kanyang nag-kaisang paninindigan, naibahagi ng rehiyong Asya sa GEF ang kanyang suporta sa “vulnerability index.” Ang index na ito ay nagiging basehan kung ano ang uunahin ng GEF na pondohan na mga proyekto.

   Ang vulnerability index ay isang paraan sa tinatawag na System for Transparent Allocation of Resources (STAR) na nagtutukoy kung ano ang pinakamahalagang programang pang-kalikasan ayon sa aktwal na pangangailangan ng mga bansa at kanayunan.

   Ito ay tumutugon lalo na sa mga pangangailangan ng malilit at pinaka nangangailangang bansa o Least Developed Countries (LDC) at ng mga maliliit na pulo-pulong bansa o Small Island Development States (SIDSs).

   Ipinahatid ng Pilipinas sa GEF ang pangangailan na suportahan ng higit ang mga LDC at SIDC.

   Ang malaking parte ng  $6.5 bilyong pondo ng GEF8 ay ilalaan para sa biodiversity, 34%.  Ang susunod na pinakamahalagang pondohan ay ang  mga proyektong may kinalaman sa pagbabago-bago ng klima, 15%, sinundan pa ng kemikal at patapon na materyal, 14%.

   Ang pan-daigdigang karagatan ay tumatanggap ng pondo na umaabot sa 12% ng GEF cycle.  At ang pagkasira ng mga lupain naman ay tumatanggap ng 11% na alokasyon.  Ang para sa NGI na pondo ay umaabot sa $157 milyon at ang para sa SGP ay $256 milyon.

   Ang mga sumusunod ang mga mungkahi mula sa rehiyong Asya sa nagaganap na usaping GEF8:

  1. Pinaigting na suporta para sa mga bansa sa kanilang pang-karagatan at pang-kakahuyan na pangangailangan
  2. Pagpapalawig ng paglahok ng pribadong sektor sa mga layuning pang-kalikasan at ang ginaganap na tungkulin ng NGI at “blended finance” (kumbinasyon ng paraan ng pag-pondo) sa ganitong  layunin
  3. Pag-balangkas ng mga basehan kung sino ang dapat makinabang sa mga proyektong may kinalaman sa pagtugon sa  pagbago-bago ng klima. Ito rin ay may kinalaman sa pag-suporta ng pribadong sektor na makapag-dudulot ng pang-matagalang implementasyon ng mga ganitong proyekto.

   Ayon sa paninindigan ng rehiyong Asya, mahalaga rin na maglagay ng criteria sa paglahok ng mga ahensya ng GEF sa mga Integrated Programs (mga programa na kinasasangkutan ng dalawa o mahigit pang bansa); mga paraan upang mabawasan ang gastos sa transaksyon; at mapag aralan ang gastos na pang administrasyon ng mga ahensya ng GEF. 

   Mahalaga rin na mapag-aralan at matugunan ang dahilan bakit ang nga MDBs (multilateral development banks) ay tumatanggap ng mas mababang pondo sa  GEF.

   Nitong huling GEF cycle, naglaan ang GEF ng $1 bilyon para sa proyektong pinapatakbo ng 18 na partner na mga ahensya kasama na rin ang mga pambasang gobyerno.

   Sinabi ni Chairperson    Carlos Manuel Rodriguez sa 184 miyembrong-gubyerno ng GEF na mataas ang ambisyon ng cycle na ito ng GEF8.

   Dapat lamang na maisa layunin na sugpuin ang mga suliranin ng kakahuyan sa mundo, at tugunan ang mga pagkasira ng karagatan, ng mga ilog, kakahuyan,  kalupaan, kagubatan, at  pandaigdigang negosasyon.  

   “Handa ang GEF 8 na makamit ang mataas na ambisyon mula sa mga bansa sa mga negosasyon sa biodiversity, kemikal, at pagbago bago ng klima,” ayon kay  Rodriguez.    

   “Ang pagiging matapang at ambisyoso ay minimithi natin para sa GEF8. Ito ay magkakaroon ng resulta sa kalupaan man o sa karagatan, ” sabi ni Rodriguez. “Ang ating tungkulin ay bahaginan ang mga donor countries—ang mga bansang nagkakaloob ng yaman—ng mga dakilang oportunidad upang makapag likha ng mga pagbabago.  Minimithi rin natin na ang mga bansang tumatanggap  ng tulong pinansyal ay magkaroon ng mga dakilang proyekto na mapapalawig pa sa ibang lugar sa buong mundo.”

   Ang usaping GEF8 ay paraan rin upang ang mga donor countries ay makapag negosasyon ukol sa sharing ng alokasyong pinansyal para sa mga proyekto.

   Oportunidad rin ito upang mapag aralan ang performance ng GEF at ng kanyang paglago, at mapag aralan ang pangangailangang pinansyal ng mga bansa at ng paraan kung paano ito matutugunan ng GEF.

   Ang mga usaping pampuno ng pondo ng GEF ay kinalalahukan ng mga representatives ng apat na clusters ng mga non-donor na bansa. Ito ay mula sa rehiyon ng Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe at Central Asia, NGOs (non government organizations) at pribadong sektor.

   Sinabi ni  World Bank Vice President of Development Finance Akihiko Nishio na sadya ngang kailangan na baguhin ang mga diskusyon upang matugunan ang pangkasalukuyang suliranin na nakakasira ng kalikasan.

   “Napakaraming hinaharap na suliranin ngayon ng kalikasan na dapat tugunan ng GEF-8. Ang ‘business as usual ay hindi na epektibo,” sabi ni Nishio. “Kailangan nating maging matapang at mabilis sa pagde-desisyon.  Kailangang tulungan ang mga lumalagong bansa upang mabawasan ang mga masamang banta sa kalikasan.  Ito ay makakatulong para sa lahat ng bansa.”

   Sinabi ni  Rodriguez, nangangailangan ngayon ng higit na pondo ang mga proyekto upang makamit ang mga pangako sa Convention on Biological Diversity, United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, the UN Convention to Combat Desertification, Minamata Convention on Mercury, at ang Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants. (Melody Mendoza Aguiba)

    Ang isang mahalagang istratehiya upang makamit ang mga pangakong ito as paigtingin ang maayos nap ag babalangkas ng mga polisiya, pag aayos ng political na pagpapatupad ng mga proyekto, at maayos na pagpapatakbo ng gubyerno.

   DApat lang na ang GEF ay maiayos ang pagkakaisa para sa isang layuning ng mga gubyernor, civil society, at pribadong sector upang mabigyan ng solusyon ang mga ugat ng prublema ng kalikasan at pagkasira nito.

    Gaganapin ang ikatlong GEF8  sa Pebrero 2022 at susundan pa ng ikaapat at huling usaping pampuno ng pondo sa April-May 2022.  (Melody Mendoza Aguiba)

Pinaigting — kampanya na iligtas ang nagbabantang pagkawala ng Tamaraw at ng Mt. Iglit-Baco

29 Abril 2021

Iniulat ni Melody Mendoza Aguiba

Pina-igting ng gubyerno ang kampanya upang iligtas ang Tamaraw na isang “critically endangered” na hayop na ipinangangambang mawala o maging extinct kasama na ang kanyang tirahan, ang Mt. Iglit-Baco National Park (MIBNP).

   Ang MIBNP ay isang ASEAN Heritage Site. Ang pagkasira nito ay pinangangambahan lalo na’t nabawasan ang pondo para sa kanyang preserbasyon dahil sa pandemyang Covid 19.

   Sa kabutihang palad, ipinag-patuloy ng Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), kasama ang Biodiversity Finance Philippines (Biofin), ang programa upang i-preserba ang Tamaraw (Bubalus mindorensis). 

   Yan ay sa kabila ng paglawig ng aktibidad ng mga ilegal na paghuli at pagpatay sa hayop.  Sila ay nagsasamantala sa sitwasyon upang bihagin ang mga Tamaraw.

   Ang Tamaraw ay isang kakaibang dwarf buffalo (apat na talampakan lamang ang taas mula sa balikat).  Ito ay matatagpuan lamang sa pulo ng Mindoro.   

   Ang pag-kaunti ng populasyon ng Tamaraw ay naging kagulat-gulat simula ng mga 1990.   Isa ang Tamaraw sa labing-isa (11) na lamang na wild cattle species sa buong mundo.

   Ang Mt. Iglit-Baco naman na syang tirahan ng Tamaraw ay nakaranas rin ng matinding pagkawala ng kanyang mga puno.  Ang natitirang pangunahing kagubatan nito (primary forest) ay tinatayang kulang pa sa tatlong bahagdan (3%) ng kanyang kabuuang nasasakupan.

   “Nakakalungkot na sa ngayon, dalawampu’t tatlo (23) na lamang ang natitirang TCP (Tamaraw Conservation Program) rangers  at tatlong (3) MIBNP wardens na lamang ang nag pa-patrol sa core area na 2,500 ektarya sa loob ng 106,655 ektaryang MIBNP, “ ayon sa DENR.

   “Ang MIBNP ay nagbibigay tirahan sa natitirang 600 Tamaraw sa buong mundo,” ayon sa DENR.

Ang Tamaraw ng Mindoro. Credit–

   Ang programang “Together for Tamaraw” ay kampanyang sinusuportahan ng United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).  Ito rin ay sinu-suportahan ng upisina ng DENR sa MIMAROPA (Mindoro, Marinduque, Romblon, Palawan) at ng Biodiversity Management Bureau, ahensya rin ng DENR.

   Inilagay ng International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) ang Tamaraw  sa klasipikasyon na “critically endangered species.” Ito ang pinakamataas na baitang ng pagbabanta sa populasyon ng pine-preserbang flora at fauna (mga hayop at halaman).

   Mula sa populasyon na 10,000 Tamaraw noong  1900,  ang populasyon ng buffalo na ito ay naitalang bumaba sa 120 noong 1975. Ito ay isinisisi sa ilegal na panghuhuli at pagpatay sa hayop at illegal na pangangalakal.

   Sa pamamagitan ng mga programang pang konserbasyon, ang kanyang populasyon ay tumaas sa 370 noong 1987 at sa kanyang pangkasalukuyang populasyon na 600.

   Ang nauubos na buffalo ay nakinabang sa paglawig ng kanyang populasyon nang maisama ito sa pangdaigdigang listahan ng mga critically endangered species.

   Ang mga bansang lumagda sa Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) ng pangkagubatang fauna at flora ay nakatulong sa pagsugpo ng ilegal na pangangalakal ng Tamaraw.

   Binansagan ang Tamaraw sa pangalang “mindorensis.” Ito ay sa dahilan na likas ang kanyang pamumuhay sa mindorensis ng Pilipinas. Ang “ensis” ay buhat sa salitang Latino na nangangahulugang nabibilang ito sa pulo.

   Inihayag ng DENR  na tatlumpu’t limang (35) bansa ang tumulong sa pag-pondo ng “Together for Tamaraw” na ginawa sa pamamagitan ng  online na kampanya.

   Sa ngayon ay mayroon nang  programang pang sampung (10) taon para sa preserbasyon na tinawag na Protected Area Management Plan para sa Mt. Iglit-Baco. 

   Isinasama ng planong ito ang paglahok ng mga katutubong tao o indigenous people (IP) sa programang preserbasyon.  Isinasama na rin dito ang kultural na tradisyon ng mga IP sa pag pre-preserba ng Tamaraw.

   Bahagi na rito ay siguruhin ang karapatan ng mga IP sa kanilang ninunong lupa o ancestral domain na mga protektadong lupa ng gubyerno.  

   Pinapalakas nito ang karapatan ng mga IP na protektahan ang mga bundok at ang kanyang endangered na flora at fauna. Ito ay lumalaban sa pagra rancho ng mga bull at panghu-huli at pagpatay sa mga hayop ng kagubatan.

   “Ang natural na park ay sumasakop sa malawak na ninunong lupa ng mga Tau-buid at Buhid na likas na tribo sa lugar.  Ginagawa silang mga pangunahing taga-pakinabang o stakeholder na gumaganap sa pagde-desisyon sa pagpapatakbo ng kabundukan, “ ayon sa Global Wildlife Conservation (GWC).

   Ang Tau-buid at Buhid Indigenous People ay lumahok sa zoning, pagpa-plano ng management, at mga workshops sa Population at Habitat Viability Assessment (pagsusuri ng populasyon at tirahan ng mga Tamaraw) o PHVA. Ito ay para sa konserbasyon ng Tamaraw at MIBNP. (Melody Mendoza Aguiba)

Phils should put up more Climate Field School, rainwater harvesters, organic compost facilities—Loren Legarda

January 17, 2022

Philippines should put up more Climate Field School (CFS) similar to one in Siargao Island, rainwater harvesters, and organic compost facilities in order to adapt to climate change and flourish its agriculture sector amid weather-related disasters.

   Climate change, and its destructions as that of Odette all over Visayas and Mindanao, can no longer be ignored if Philippines’ agriculture sector should take off, according to House Deputy Speaker and Antique Rep. Loren Legarda.

   Speaking at the Philippine Chamber of Agriculture and Food Inc.’s (PCAFI) Halalan 2022 Para sa AGrikultura, Legarda said she will be pushing for “greening” of the supply chain once elected senator.

   PCAFI President Danilo V. Fausto, along with Alyansa Agrikultura’s Ernesto Ordonez, and three other farm-based groups are orienting 2022 election candidates on the plight of Philippines’ agriculture. Others proposing recommendations are Federation of Free Farmers Chairman Sec. Leonardo Q. Montemayor, National Scietnist Dr. Emil Q. Javier, and Rice Watch Chairman Hazel Tanchuling.

   A Climate Field School for Farmers and Fisherfolks was first established in Dumangas, Leyte.

   Its 16 module program for farmers includes 1. Climate, Pests and Diseases, Crop Growth & Development 2. Cropping System/Pattern and Climate-Related Risks 3. Understanding Weather and Climate and Climate Parameters 4. Weather and Climate Information Products 5. Forecast Interpretation, Translation and Communication, and 6. Forecasts Generation.

   The rest of the training is on Incorporating Climate Forecast in Decision Making, Understanding Forward and Backward institutional linkages in Agriculture Sector

Learning, and Implementing the Rice Integrated Crop Management System Palay Check.

   Legarda said coastal greenbelts, largely planted with mangroves as that found in Del Carmen, Siargao Island, should be put up nationwide.

Mangrove-planted coastal greenbelts help protect islands from disastrous typhoons. Credit-CNN 

   “Their mangroves, their coastal greenbelt in Del Carmen, Siargao, helped them against the (typhoon destructions).  Their destruction has not been as serious as those in other local governments units in the island of Siargao,” Legarda said.

   She may not be the author of the Rainwater Collection and Springs Development Act of 1989, said Legarda. But she is pushing for rainwater harvester’s establishment in each barangay.

   “It makes sense because there’s so much water, but we don’t have water,” she said.

   Arsenio “Toto” Barcelona, president of vegetable producer Harvest Agribusiness Corp, said during the online forum that National Irrigation Administration’s (NIA) irrigation facilities irrigate largely rice only.

   “It’s high time we rationalize how we use our resources especially we are made up of many islands, so our waterways are not continuous.  Water resources should be done on island basis.  There should be a regionalized development of water resources,” said Barcelona.

   “NIA, under the Office of the President, has its 85 to 90% irrigation going just to rice fields.  We should look into this. We should see the importance of irrigation on the productivity of vegetables and fruits.”

   Barcelona said the Philippines has one of the lowest yield in high value crops among Association of Southeast Asian Nations due to deficiencies in irrigation practice.    

   “So we should give importance to new technology in irrigation especially precision irrigation,” he said.

   Legarda said organic composting should also be practiced among farmers as rice straws, animal manure, and other organic wastes are a ubiquitous source of fertilizers.

   PCAFI and the four farm-based groups have been orienting 2022 candidates on the state of Philippine agriculture and have filed the following recommendations:

  1. Allocation of at least 10% of GDP (Gross Domestic Product) budget for agriculture which is just “fair” considering its GDP contribution of 10%.  At present, the sector just gets 1.5% budget.  Livestock and poultry contributes 27.7% to agriculture while it only gets 5.6% of the budget.  Corn contributes 6.4%, but it only gets 1.7% of DA budget.
  2. Tariff collections should be used to develop the corresponding sector—Corn, fisheries, livestock and poultry tariff should be used to develop corn, fisheries, livestock and poultry sectors.
  3. The Safeguard Measures Act, Anti Dumping Act, among others, should protect local farmers from unfair competition from imports.
  4. National Irrigation Administration should be administered by DA for proper irrigation coordination.
  5. The Bureau of Agriculture Cooperatives should be created under DA
  6. Local government Units should allocate funds for agriculture extension as part of the proposed Province-led Agriculture and Fisheries Extension System (PAFES) to ensure farmers get direct assistance on technology.
  7. Convergence of DA, Department of Trade and Industry, and Department of Science and Technology to promote food and beverage manufacturing
  8. Establishment of agro-industrial hubs and corridors
  9. Passage of Land Use Bill to preserve agricultural lands
  10. Diversification of agriculture production to invest more in horticultural and industrial crops, poultry, livestock, fisheries
  11. Developing biotechnology, food science, automation, digitalization to enhance productivity and competitiveness
  12. Regreening, watershed management, and agro-forestry implementation. (Melody Mendoza Aguiba)