U.S., Philip­pines cel­e­brate mile­stones in pro­tect­ing Philip­pine forests and bio­di­ver­sity

Agriculture - - Contents -

THE U.S. EM­BASSY in the Philip­pines and the U.S. Agency for In­ter­na­tional De­vel­op­ment (USAID) cel­e­brated the suc­cess of USAID’s six-year, R1.35 bil­lion part­ner­ship with the De­part­ment of En­vi­ron­ment and Nat­u­ral Re­sources (DENR) in strength­en­ing the coun­try’s for­est and bio­di­ver­sity con­ser­va­tion.

Since 2012, USAID has been part­ner­ing with the DENR, lo­cal gov­ern­ments, the pri­vate sec­tor, and civil so­ci­ety to safe­guard this im­por­tant nat­u­ral re­source through its bio­di­ver­sity project. About one in three Filipinos de­pend on nat­u­ral re­sources, in­clud­ing forests, for their liveli­hoods. Forests also pro­vide en­ergy, pro­tect com­mu­ni­ties from floods, and en­hance air qual­ity.

“We are hon­ored to work with all of you as friends and part­ners in safe­guard­ing our en­vi­ron­ment and pur­su­ing a more pros­per­ous Philip­pines,” said U.S. Am­bas­sador Sung Kim in his key­note ad­dress at the project’s com­ple­tion cer­e­mony.

Among the part­ner­ship’s key mile­stones in­clude DENR’s im­ple­men­ta­tion of the Lawin For­est and Bio­di­ver­sity Pro­tec­tion Sys­tem through­out 16 out of 17 re­gions of the coun­try. De­vel­oped by DENR and USAID, this tech­nol­ogy equips for­est pa­trollers and man­agers with the tools to mon­i­tor for­est con­di­tions and make ev­i­dence­based de­ci­sions for pro­tect­ing the coun­try’s forests and bio­di­ver­sity.

These ini­tia­tives helped im­prove the man­age­ment of over 90 per­cent of forests in the Philip­pines. Re­for­esta­tion and for­est con­ser­va­tion work con­trib­uted to re­duc­ing about 10 mil­lion met­ric tons of car­bon diox­ide in six years, the equiv­a­lent of nearly 2 mil­lion cars off the streets. The part­ner­ship also di­rectly ben­e­fit­ted nearly 30,000 peo­ple who de­pend on forests for their liveli­hood.

The com­ple­tion cer­e­mony gath­ered over 300 par­tic­i­pants, in­clud­ing part­ners from the pri­vate sec­tor, indige­nous peo­ple com­mu­ni­ties, and youth. USAID and DENR also awarded plaques of recog­ni­tion to in­di­vid­u­als and groups that con­trib­uted to the suc­cess of the for­est and bio­di­ver­sity con­ser­va­tion part­ner­ship.

Min­doro Eco-Rangers Rain Abanador and Charles Cruzat pre­sented na­tive tree seedlings to U.S. Am­bas­sador to the Philip­pines Sung Kim and De­part­ment of En­vi­ron­ment and Nat­u­ral Re­sources (DENR) Un­der­sec­re­tary Ernesto Adobo Jr., joined by en­dan­gered species mas­cots Isa the Is­abela Ori­ole from Is­abela prov­ince and Pa­pan the Duck from Min­doro.

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