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PH elevates biodiversity conservation bid


By Philippines News Agency

The Philippines is elevating further its biodiversity conservation efforts with a new project that aims to promote sustainable mechanism for better conservation, protection, and management of the country’s natural resources.

Through the 2015-2019 Philippine ICCA Project, the Biodiversity Management Bureau (BMB) and its partners will work on institutionalizing indigenous community conservation area (ICCA) as an alternative and sustainable mechanism for better conserving, protecting and managing Philippine protected areas outside coverage of Republic Act 7586 (National Integrated Protected Areas Systems Act of 1992).


BATAD rice terraces in Ifugao / Photo by Ericmontalban [CC BY-SA 3.0] via Wikimedia Commons

ICCAs are traditional governance and conservation mechanisms of indigenous peoples (IPs) in the country.

“We’ll promote recognition of and support for ICCAs,” said project manager Angel Uson.

She noted the project aims meeting such goals by seeking to harmonize public policies relevant to biodiversity conservation.

“IPs will be part of the process,” she said.

The project will likewise seek to strengthen ICCA governance and management capacities of government and communities concerned, she added.

“With the project, we hope a national ICCA registry can be established,” she also noted.

Resource inventory and mapping ICCA areas will be among the project’s activities, she said.

Among BMB’s partners in the $6.8-million project are the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP).

Global Environment Facility (GEF) provided a $1.75-million grant for such project the partners set launching this week.

According to Uson, 10 sites are covered under the project.

She said the sites are Mt. Taungay (Kalinga province), Mt. Polis (Ifugao province), Mt. Imugan (Nueva Vizcaya province), Egongot (Aurora province), Kanawan (Bataan province), Balabac (Palawan province), Mt. Kimangkil (Bukidnon province), Mt. Apo (North Cotabato province), Mt. Diwata (Agusan del Sur province) and Dinarawan (Agusan del Norte province).

Aside from being among NCIP’s priority environment areas, the sites are located within key biodiversity areas and represent seven ethnographic regions in the country.

The sites also collectively cover almost 120,000 hectares, Uson noted.

That’s the additional hectarage the project can bring to the country’s protected area system, she said.

BMB and its partners came up with the project, recognizing that ICCA is one means of addressing gaps in biodiversity conservation nationwide.

In December 2015, the Philippine government received GEF grant funding for the project.

Aside from reinforcing the country’s National Integrated Protected Areas Systems, BMB said the project is in line with the 2011-2016 Philippine Development Plan which promotes conservation, protection, and rehabilitation of the country’s natural resources.

BMB said the project is aligned with the country’s efforts to meet its international commitments under the Aichi Biodiversity Targets.

The targets aim for boosting biodiversity conservation worldwide.

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