|PARTNERSHIPS FOR BIODIVERSITY CONSERVATION LAUNCHED IN A BLAST OF COLORS|
|Friday, 23 November 2012 13:38|
Partnerships have been forged among government agencies, local government units and conservation organizations to avert further fragmentation of key biodiversity areas and ensure protection of habitats of endangered species assemblages in the country.
In a blast of confetti colors, the new project called the Biodiversity Partnerships Project (BPP) was formally launched November 21, 2012 at the Crowne Plaza Ortigas Hotel’s ballroom.
Funded by the Global Environment Facility (GEF) through the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the $17 million project takes an integrated approach aimed at enabling policies at the national level, enhancing capacities of LGUs to include biodiversity concerns in their development plans, and to showcase biodiversity-friendly practices in 8 demonstration sites in 5 regions.
It will be implemented by the Protected Areas and Wildlife Bureau (PAWB) of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) with partners in key government agencies, local government units and conservation NGOs in eight sites.
Philippine Vice President Jejomar Binay, who served as keynote speaker of the project launching enjoined everyone to be partners in biodiversity conservation as he considered such partnership a ticket to global survival.
The chairman of the Housing and Land Use Regulatory Board (HLURB), which is one of the partners of the project, said that the test of a nation is how it takes care of its portion of the planet, and the task has become even more urgent knowing that the Philippines is one of the world’s 17 mega diverse countries.
He expressed support for the “key collaborative partnerships” among the various agencies, local government units and conservation non-government organizations, a strategy employed by the biodiversity project, and noted the importance of enhancing local capacities through such partnerships.
Other guests included Mr. Toshihiro Tanaka, Country Director of UNDP, who stressed that biodiversity conservation is our “common and undifferentiated responsibility,” adding that it is not just the government’s responsibility to protect nature, but everyone’s duty to do so.
PAWB Director Theresa Mundita S. Lim, National Project Director of BPP, explained the significance of the BPP’s logo which, she said, represented the various elements of life in the planet and the need for partnership to sustain it.
The strategy involving partnerships with key national government agencies, non-government conservation organizations and LGUs, has been employed so that together they can effectively mobilize their resources and expertise towards mainstreaming biodiversity conservation, says BPP Project Manager Jose Regunay.
The other project partners include the Department of Agriculture, Department of Trade and Industry, the Department of the Interior and Local Government, the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples, Department of Tourism, NEDA and HLURB.
Governor Junie Cua of Quirino province and Dr. Neil Aldrin Mallari, Country Director, Fauna and Flora, International, Philippines responded to the speakers’ calls for action for biodiversity with a pledge of support for the project’s target objectives.
After a presentation depicting how biodiversity’s products and uses, and the interaction of the flora, fauna and sea in a web of life, has been compromised by unsustainable production and uncontrolled use of natural resources, the various partners of the project signed a pledge of commitment to take concrete action to ensure biodiversity conservation.
The Philippines has a vast assemblage of species, many of them found nowhere else in the world. It has among the highest rates of species discovery in the planet, and observed to have “the highest level of endemism in the Indo-Malayan Realm on a per unit-area basis and the highest concentration of biodiversity on earth.” (BPP-PAWB)
In response to the above, the government established protected areas, now numbering 109, through the National Integrated Protected Areas System (NIPAS). The system, however, excludes areas of “critical connective habitat” and other sites which are globally significant for biodiversity conservation, the Key Biodiversity Areas (KBAs), including the surrounding production areas. This has resulted in the fragmentation of landscapes where unsustainable agriculture and natural resources production operate, like mining and logging, further exposing and threatening remaining natural habitats.
To address such fragmentation and the loss of connectivity between important biodiversity corridors and key biodiversity areas, the Biodiversity Partnerships Project uses an integrated approach aimed at strengthening enabling policies at the national level, enhancing capacities of LGUs, and demonstration in specific pilot sites.
The immediate objective of BPP is “to demonstrate how Local Government Units (LGUs), with enhanced capacities, and working together with local and national partners, can plan and manage economic activities and growth in ways that meet landscape-level biodiversity conservation and sustainable use objectives in critical eco-regions,” Regunay disclosed.
At the ground level, the project will show viable biodiversity friendly initiatives through partner national organizations, namely Conservation International, Haribon Foundation, Philippine Eagle Foundation, Fauna and Flora International, Philippine Biodiversity Conservation Foundation, Inc., and Lake Mainit Development Alliance, he added.
It is a pragmatic initiative on biodiversity rather than the usual site-based projects, Regunay explained, adding that it intends to generate among others national level systems, policies, tools and capacities in place to support LGU-level biodiversity conservation efforts. It also targets LGUS encompassing 5 key biogeographic regions to have the tools and capacities to integrate sustainable management into decentralized government structures. Moreover, it seeks to show biodiversity-friendly projects, programs and policies operating in 8 pilot sites, he said.
For inquiries, call 376 4734.