The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR)- Biodiversity Management Bureau (BMB) and UNDP Biodiversity Finance Initiative (BIOFIN), in collaboration with the Department of Agriculture (DA), conducted a face-to-face Multisectoral Round-Table Discussion on 22 September 2022 in Baguio City with more than 40 representatives from DA, DENR, concerned local government units, academic institutions and civil society. The said undertaking was the last stretch for this year’s multi-stakeholder dialogue and collaborative analysis with key Offices and partners for the development of framework of action for Biodiversity-Friendly Agricultural Practices (BDFAP) and Agrobiodiversity.
Biodiversity and Agriculture
The Philippine Government has committed to implement the Philippine Biodiversity Strategy Action Plan (PBSAP) 2015-2028 as part of its responsibility to the Convention on Biodiversity (CBD). Among the targets under PBSAP are four (4) agriculture-related programs focusing on the following: genetic conservation (Target 4), biodiversity-friendly agriculture (Target 11), land-use (Target 13) and nationally-important agricultural heritage systems (NIAHS) under Target 15.
One of the key milestones under the PBSAP implementation is the approval of the DA-DENR Joint Administrative Order 2021-01 entitled “Mainstreaming Biodiversity-friendly Agricultural Practices (BDFAPs) In and Around Protected Areas and Promoting the Same in Wider Agricultural Landscapes” in 2021. The said guidelines strengthened the call for promoting agricultural development that is compatible with the conservation of ecosystems and biological resources used for food and agriculture through mainstreaming of BDFAPs in biodiversity-rich areas. BDFAPs refer to the practices that use both traditional and modern technologies relating to agriculture, fishery and agroforestry that generally contribute to the maintenance of ecosystem resilience.
With a huge turnout and the depth of knowledge-sharing that transpired during the event, the whole-day discussions were able to: a) gain a multisectoral perspective of key trends and issues in the region on biodiversity and agriculture; b) build awareness of ongoing initiatives and gaps on policies and implementation; and, c) develop initial consensus and synergistic measures on arenas of action towards accelerated implementation of PBSAP targets relevant to the promotion of agrobiodiversity and BDFAPs.
A site visit in Mt. Data National Park, which stands astride the boundaries of Benguet, Mt. Province and Ifugao Province, was conducted on Day 2 (23 September 2022) with selected participants to observe the existing agricultural farms and practices in protected areas and agricultural lands.
Photos during simultaneous breakout sessions
Overlooking portions of Mt. Data National Park
As the DA and DENR move forward to the pilot implementation of BDFAPs in FY 2023, another RTD will be conducted in Mindanao cluster early next year. A series of roll-out/orientation activities on JAO 2021-01 in Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao clusters shall be undertaken as well.
Lastly, the DA and DENR shall be creating an oversight committee and technical working groups for BDFAP implementation at the national and regional levels. The technical support, in partnership with the Protected Area Management Boards (PAMBs), Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Management Council (FARMCs), SUCs and other stakeholders, shall conduct assessment of BDFAPs; assist farmers/fisherfolks in market-linkage and promotion, and initiate identification of potential BDFAP areas.