DENR Acting Sec. Jim Sampulna and DA-BSWM Dir. Pablo Montalla lead the MOA signing for the implementation of the DENR-GEF/UNDP Biodiversity Corridor Project at Radisson North, QC on June 22.
Mindoro, EastMin Biodiversity Corridors
to Benefit with Sustainable Land Mngt
DENR-DA MOA to Strengthen Implementation of
DENR/GEF-UNDP Biodiversity Corridor Project
MANILA, 24 June 2022 – The biodiversity corridors of Mindoro Island and Eastern Mindanao will be the biggest beneficiary in sustainable land management (SLM) initiatives following the signing of a historic agreement.
This developed after the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and the Department of Agriculture (DA) signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) for the implementation of the Biodiversity Corridor Project.
This six-year Project which started in 2021 is supported by a US$12.2-million grant from the Global Environment Facility (GEF) through the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). The Project also involves co-financing and contribution from multiple national government agencies and local government units in Regions 13 and 11 (Eastern Mindanao) and Region 4B (Mindoro), as well as civil society organizations and the private sector.
For the Project, the DENR acts as lead Executing Agency while the DA is an Implementing Partner for work on SLM activities. Meanwhile, UNDP serves as the GEF Implementing Agency for the Project and provides quality assurance and oversight.
The Project sites are in Region 4B for the Mindoro Biodiversity Corridor, and portions of Regions 11 and 13 for the Eastern Mindanao Biodiversity Corridor.
“The historic signing of the MOA between DENR and DA is a testament to the vision and strategy for the integrated management of Philippine biodiversity corridors, especially in our project sites in Mindoro Island and Eastern Mindanao,” the DENR Biodiversity Management Bureau said in a statement. “Our partnership together with UNDP and GEF will hopefully bring immense success and multiple benefits to people, species and ecosystems as we implement this Project.”
DENR-BMB OIC Director Natividad Bernardino, who is also the National Project Director of the Biodiversity Corridor Project, stated: “The partnership will underscore the significance of sustainable land management and biodiversity-friendly agricultural practices to increase productivity and income. As the nation addresses the global commodity crises and other agricultural headwinds in the coming weeks and months, the partnership will not just encourage viable traditional farming methods and help reduce poverty, but also enhance and support future food security and ecosystem services.”
In her presentation during the MOA signing at Park Inn by Radisson in North Avenue, Quezon City on June 22, Dir. Bernardino said the objective of the Project is to operationalize the integrated management of biodiversity corridors in order to:
• generate multiple benefits including effective conservation of globally significant biodiversity,
• reduce deforestation and degradation of landscapes, and
• enhance livelihoods
“This will be achieved through the implementation of four interrelated and mutually complementary components,” Dir. Bernardino said. “The approach to integrated management is to identify distinct ‘clusters’ or planning units of biologically significant areas.”
Dir. Bernardino further said these clusters will represent the most critical areas, or those with the highest biological/biodiversity significance, threat reduction urgency, and potentials of replication, within the corridors. She identified biologically significant areas to include not just legislated Protected Areas (PAs) but also Key Biodiversity Areas (KBAs), Other Effective Conservation Measures (OECMs) including Indigenous Communities Conserved Areas (ICCAs) and Local Conservation Areas (LCAs) within the landscape.
“We are still at the preparatory stage with work focused on validating and updating our baselines,” Dir Bernardino added. “While we have started to engage with the (DA), we look forward to working with the Department in the full implementation of the Project.”
DENR-BMB, DENR-FASPS, DA-BWSM, UNDP and the BD Corridor Project national team after the MOA signing for the Project implementation at Radisson North, QC on June 22.
Dir. Pablo Montalla of DA-BSWM said the services that well-functioning ecosystems have provided – such as maintenance of soil fertility, stabilization of water regime, pollination and others – are important in sustaining agricultural livelihoods.
“There are things we can do to address the problems of land degradation and biodiversity loss, and that is a more vigorous promotion of Sustainable Land Management (SLM) and biodiversity-friendly agricultural practices,” Dir. Montalla added. “The agricultural activities in areas with critical slopes are particularly challenging because soil erosion is a major cause of land degradation and loss of biodiversity. But there are proven technologies to arrest the problem like contour farming and agro-forestry.”
Dir. Montalla said the DA-DENR partnership for the BD Corridor Project will be a welcome opportunity to demonstrate SLM as a viable solution to the departments’ common concerns. He said the Project will help increase farm productivity and income, enhance food security and agriculture-based livelihoods and rural poverty reduction, while also maintain biodiversity and ecosystem services.
Both the DA and the DENR also issued Joint Administrative Order (JAO) 2021-01, which pertains to initiatives on “Mainstreaming Biodiversity-Friendly Agricultural Practices” (BDFAP) in and around Protected Areas, and Promoting the Same in Wider Agricultural Landscapes.”
The JAO dated 6 October 2021 aims to promote agricultural development that will be compatible with the conservation of the ecosystem in areas where stakeholders will be carrying out various agriculture and fisheries activities. (Mitch R. Confesor)
The Integrated Approach in Management of Major Biodiversity Corridors in the Philippines or the BD Corridor Project is a Global Environment Facility (GEF) funded Project with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) as the GEF Executing Agency and Implementing Partner, and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) as the GEF Implementing Agency. Project sites are Mindoro Island and Eastern Mindanao Biodiversity Corridors.