By Charissa Luci
The Philippines has called on United Nations member-countries to adopt a “bayanihan” or “whole of government approach” in mobilizing financing for global biodiversity conservation programs and initiatives.
Speaking during the recent third United Nations Environmental Program (UNDP) Biodiversity Finance Initiative (BIOFIN) workshop in Almaty, Kazakhstan, Occidental Mindoro Rep. Josephine Ramirez-Sato batted for bigger funding for global biodiversity conservation and protection.
“Recognizing the urgent requirements to address the continued biodiversity loss in the Philippines and particularly recognizing the massive requirement to secure resources to finance biodiversity plans, programs and projects – a concept comes to my mind – Bayanihan,” Sato said in her keynote speech.
She cited the need to improve ‘whole of government’ approach in terms of mobilizing financing for biodiversity conservation.
In the Philippines, “bayanihan” is a time-honored tradition in rural villages where almost the entire community is mobilized to help a family literally move their home to another place, she explained.
“The spirit of bayanihan is exactly what we want to serve as model for our ‘whole of government approach’ to ﬁnancing biodiversity conservation,” said Sato, a member of the House of Representatives ecology committee.
“Being one of the 17 mega-diverse countries in the world, the Philippines has much to gain in working with its neighbors to strengthen the protection and conservation of biodiversity,” she pointed out.
An archipelago composed of over 7,500 islands and islets, the Philippines hosts more than 52,000 known species of plant and animal wildlife, more than 50 percent of which are endemics or species that can only be found in the country and nowhere else in the world.
Sato laments that Philippine biodiversity is seriously threatened, noting that a report by international nongovernment organization (NGO) Conservation International in 2014 showing that the Philippines is among the world’s 35 biodiversity hotspots.
Biodiversity hotspots refer to countries that harbor vast numbers of plants and animal species found nowhere else in the world.
“To me, there is no one formula for biodiversity financing. We should continuously identify new and additional sources and mechanism for cooperation and financing biodiversity conservation,” Sato said.
“As what we, a community of nations, collectively, did when we started veering from business-as-usual mode in climate-change adaptation and disaster-risk-reduction financing, the same urgency must be accorded to financing conservation,” she said.
Sato earlier expressed support to a plan to localize the Philippine Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plans (PBSAP) 2015-2028, as well as effort to close the biodiversity financing gap in the Philippines.
The PBSAP is the country’s blueprint to protect and conserve its rich biodiversity.
While the Philippines is committed to protecting and conserving its rich biodiversity as a signatory to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD).
Implementing the PBSAP will cost the government P24 Billion/year from 2017/2028. Current spending of the Philippines for biodiversity conservation stands at P5 Billion/year, leaving a financing gap of P19B/year.
BIOFIN is testing finance mechanism such as budget realignment, private sector engagement and accessing earmarked funds.
Tags: biodiversity, Biodiversity Finance Initiative, BIOFIN, conservation, Josephine Ramirez-Sato, Manila Bulletin, PH bats for bigger funding for global biodiversity programs, UNDP, United Nations Environmental Program