Biodiversity advocacy recently enjoyed a boost as the partnership between the World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF), United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and a list of partner institutions formally launched the project “Mainstreaming Climate Change in Biodiversity Planning and Conservation in the Philippines” at the Sulu Riviera Hotel last April 28, 2011.
The two-year project is a first attempt in the Philippines to investigate the local impacts of climate change at the national and protected area scale. Its research output is intended to generate new methods and field experience in integrating climate change considerations in biodiversity planning and conservation in the country.
The outputs of the project are will have long-term significance. It is expected to inform the next iteration of the Philippines' national biodiversity plan, while at the same time, enhance the resilience of natural and human systems to cope with climate change in selected biodiversity-rich areas like the Northern Sierra Madre Natural Park, Ikalahan Ancestral Domain, Mt Kitanglad Range Natural Park and Mt Apo Natural Park.
ICRAF Country Coordinator Rodel Lasco said, “This project will employ pioneering scientific methods in conservation planning as applied in the Philippines, but nonetheless, it takes off from the initial efforts and triumphs of various conservationist-individuals and groups. Even at this point, I would like to underscore the criticial role our implementing partners for the success of our objectives.”
Lasco was referring to several institutions from government, academe, research and civil society, namely: Department of Natural Resources-Parks and Wildlife Bureau (DENR-PAWB), International Research Institute for Climate and Society, Center for International Cooperation of the VU University Amsterdam, Institute of Environmental Sciences of Leiden University, Cagayan Valley Programme on Environment and Development, Mabuwaya Foundation, Landcare Foundation of the Philippines, Kalahan Educational Foundation and the Forestry Development Center.
Rolf Anderson, chief of USAID's Office of Energy and Environment said, “We at USAID are very glad and excited that this project has been started after so many birth pains and god parents. It is USAID's hope that by enhancing competitiveness in natural resource management, we achieve fewer conflicts in environmental resource access and use. And eventually, more biodiversity conservation is done along the way.
The event was attended by around 60 guests including Secretary Yeb Saño and Secretary Heherson Alvarez of the Climate Change Commission (CCC).
Saño commended the project organizers, saying it was very complementary to the message the CCC wants to send to other policy makers in government: that climate change is about preserving biodiversity and natural areas as well as maximizing the environmental services that these areas are providing to local communities, national economy and to all sectors.
A version of this article appeared in the Business Mirror, Vol. 6, No. 185 (May 11, 2011).
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