THE US government, through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), has launched a P1.1-billion ($22 million) biodiversity project with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).
Dubbed the Philippines Sustainable Interventions for Biodiversity, Oceans, and Landscapes (SIBOL), the project is designed to support the continuing management of the country’s natural resources and combat environmental crimes and hazards.
Lawrence Hardy II, Mission Director of USAID Philippines, said: “Through SIBOL, USAID is pleased to support the Philippines’ efforts to conserve the country’s rich biodiversity while improving the livelihoods of Filipinos whose incomes depend upon these natural resources.”
DENR Policy and Planning Undersecretary for International Affairs Juan Miguel T. Cuna welcomed this important partnership with USAID, saying: “Ensuring ecosystem integrity and human well-being are among the key priorities of DENR,”
The five-year project will provide support to the Philippine government to achieve its goals at improving on natural resource governance and stimulating public and private investments, leading to greater ecosystem stability and inclusive green growth.
The USAID will work closely with the DENR as well as the Department of Agriculture’s Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources in implementing the SIBOL project.
“Effective conservation management and measurement of the value of natural resources contribute to the Philippines’ economic development and environmental resilience,” Hardy II explained.
RTI International, a US-based non-profit organization, will lead the implementation of the SIBOL project, building on its three decades of experience providing technical assistance, institutional strengthening, programmatic support, and research in a variety of sectors in the Philippines.
The Center for Conservation Innovations, Forest Foundation Philippines, Internews, Zoological Society of London, and the Resources, Environment, and Economics Center for Studies (REECS), comprise the consortium in partnership with RTI.
Cuna said: “We look forward to partnering with USAID in advancing our goals of environmental sustainability and strengthening DENR’s capacity to combat environmental criminals, enhance the adaptive capacities of communities against natural disasters, as well as improve the economic conditions of affected local people,” he added.
Since 2014, USAID has provided more than Php5 billion ($100 million) in assistance to the Philippine government in conserving the country’s biodiversity and protecting its landscapes and seascapes.