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The race to stronger, greener recovery seems tougher as the pandemic timeline lengthens. Year 2020 was not the Super Year for Biodiversity people expected, turning out to be a rough year for conservation efforts. While most plans and programs were moved online, some were pushed back to 2021.

2020 became instead a year of reflection and resilience, putting a spotlight on the closely interlinked crises of the coronavirus pandemic, biodiversity loss and climate change.

This year, the DENR - Biodiversity Management Bureau builds upon the newfound momentum towards creating a pandemic- and climate-resilient future through the lens of biodiversity conservation.

A TRIPLE CELEBRATION

Kicking off Year 2021 with a triple celebration on February 2, the Bureau will launch a year-long campaign for the conservation of wetlands, caves and karst ecosystems, commemorating the following important events:

50th Anniversary of the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands

The Convention on Wetlands of International Importance (the Ramsar Convention), first signed in 1971 in Ramsar, celebrates 50 years of existence on February 2, 2021. Contracting Parties from all over the world, including the Philippines through the DENR – BMB, are joining its 50th anniversary campaign that aims to raise awareness and action for the protection and wise use of wetlands.

World Wetlands Day and National Wetlands Day 2021

Every 2nd of February each year - on the same date of the adoption of the Ramsar Convention - the world celebrates the vital role of wetlands for people and our planet as they sustain humanity and nature. Similarly, February 2 is also declared by the Philippine government in 1999 as National Wetlands Day by virtue of Presidential Proclamation No. 74.

This year's theme, "Wetlands and Water," shines a spotlight on the contribution of wetlands to the quantity and quality of freshwater on our planet, and encourages actions to restore them and stop their loss.

International Year of Caves and Karst

Home to many of the planet’s most diverse, important and rare ecosystems, supporting ecological diversity above and below the ground, caves are a special type of wetlands that are often overlooked and poorly understood. “Explore, Understand and Protect” is the main goal of the International Year of Caves and Karst, organized by the International Union of Speleology, which is a global organization of cave and karst explorers, scientists, managers and educators. This initiative aims to raise the level of understanding and respect for these ecosystems as globally important physical, ecological and cultural systems.

THE COUNTDOWN BEGINS

The online countdown to the launch puts Philippine Ramsar sites on the spotlight through a series of informative social media cards published on the DENR-BMB Facebook Page (@denrbiodiversity). The countdown also draws attention to special types of wetlands such as caves and the inseparable link between wetlands and water.

Wetland protected areas were also the star of the fifth episode of the monthly PA Talk series, entitled Wetland or Wasteland, which way to go?, organized in partnership with the Office of the Deputy Speaker Loren Legarda and the Climate Change Commission (CCC), available for streaming on the same FB page.

On January 29, a ceremonial turn-over of equipment for the protection, conservation and sustainable use of peatlands in Agusan Marsh Wildlife Sanctuary (AMWS) was held as part of the three-year peatland conservation partnership with the leading telecoms and digital services provider PLDT, Inc. (PLDT) and its wireless subsidiary Smart Communications, Inc. (Smart).

campaign kickoff wetlands dayCeremonial Turnover of Equipment for the Protection, Conservation and Sustainable Use of Peatlands in
Agusan Marsh Wildlife Sanctuary on January 29, 2021 at the Ninoy Aquino Parks and Wildlife Center

Among the equipment to be donated by PLDT-Smart are the following: 1) drones (UAV) for surveillance, patrolling and monitoring activities in AMWS; (2) mobile cellular devices equipped with camera and GPS for monitoring and patrolling activities of 160 Bantay Danao Volunteers (BDV); 3) 3-in-1 radio devices for six barangays within Caimpugan Peatland for emergency response activities; 4) personal protective equipment and uniforms for Bantay Danao Volunteers; and 5) School-in-a-Bag kits equipped with 20 tablets, pocket Wi-Fi and laptop for 12 elementary schools and 8 high schools within AMWS.

The turn-over seeks to strengthen and support the Protected Area Management Office (PAMO) of AMWS in implementing the Protected Area Management Plan to protect, conserve and restore the Caimpugan Peatland, which holds the only recorded remaining intact peat swamp forest in the country.

CAMPAIGN WITH US!

Join us as we go LIVE on February 2 for the virtual launch of the year-long campaign for the conservation of wetlands, caves and karst ecosystems. An engaging mix of activities spread throughout the year awaits your participation. Together, let’s raise our voices and make 2021 a year in which caves and wetlands receive greater attention and stronger action needed to sustain life.