The Cagayan de Oro leg completes the agency’s nationwide consultations for a whole-of-society approach to environmental resilience

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY, MISAMIS ORIENTAL – The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) continues its nationwide consultations with more than 300 industry and sector leaders in a two-day forum in Cagayan de Oro City to refine and craft adaptive, inclusive and sustainable development pathways built on strategic partnerships and sound science for the agency’s Resiliency Framework for Environment and Natural Resources (ENR).

Beginning on February 2, 2023, the forum will gather insights on environmental governance, as well as other pertinent issues such as ecotourism, agriculture and food security, forest and land management, climate and disaster resilience, and mining.

The Mindanao leg follows the Luzon and Visayas legs of the forum, which commenced in Manila last October 2022, with President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. in attendance who said that “The preservation of the environment is the preservation of life. If we cannot mitigate climate change, all our plans for the economy, all our plans for the future will be for naught.”

The forum aims to produce evidence-informed actions for the protection, conservation, enhancement and regeneration of the Philippines’ ecosystems.

DENR Secretary Antonia Loyzaga stressed that the Mindanao region “requires a localized and contextualized approach” and assured stakeholders that the DENR will continue its extensive consultations across all speech with local communities.

“The Mindanao region is blessed with a rich, complex, social and natural history. It is in the intersection of this social and physical geography that both risk and opportunities reside. Creating and building these opportunities and mitigating the risks require partnerships that lead to a new type of agency based on competent and committed leadership that prioritizes human development, sustainable local economies, resilient infrastructure, and underpinning all of these ecosystems that support human security, food, water, energy, peace and equity,” Secretary Loyzaga said.

Echoing the statement of Department of the Interior and Local Government Secretary Benjamin Abalos Jr. during the DENR Multistakeholder Forum-Visayas to “commit to our advocacy for our next generation of Filipinos for sustainable development,” the DENR is committed to ensuring that extensive consultation with local actors will be done across all interventions and at all stages. With the conclusion of the nationwide multistakeholder consultations, the DENR endeavors to uphold its mandate of protecting, conserving, and managing the environment and natural resources.

Over the course of the two-day forum in Mindanao, speakers representing key areas in the region including Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao Ministry of Environment, Natural Resources and Energy ((BARMM MENRE) Minister Akmad Brahim–will contribute their knowledge and expertise in conserving and defending the rich resources of Mindanao, ensuring that the DENR’s policies are culturally sensitive to the needs of the diverse communities and indigenous groups on the island.

According to the 2022 World Bank Country Climate and Development Report, Mindanao is expected to become drier in the coming decades, while flooding has also “increased markedly” in the region. This endangers the rich resources and food security of Mindanao, and threatens the livelihood of Filipinos in the south.

With this, the DENR, led by Loyzaga, and the BARMM MENRE, led by Minister Brahim, signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to foster continuous collaboration, and to strengthen and promote the Mindanao Climate Resilience Plan.

In partnership with the National Resilience Council, Philippine Business for Social Progress, Peace and Equity Foundation, Zuellig Family Foundation, and Energy Development Corporation, the DENR will also launch Project TRANSFORM (Transdisciplinary Approach for Resilient and Sustainable Communities) on February 3, 2023 for Siargao Island, Surigao del Norte to preserve its natural resources and support its ecotourism.

First launched on January 18 for Ormoc City, Project TRANSFORM aims to aid in the social and economic development of vulnerable communities, provide immediate livelihood to families, reduce illegal logging, enhance forest cover and ensure water availability in Siargao through capacity development and financial assistance. To name a few, the project will support the DENR’s Resiliency Framework for ENR by delivering environmental, social and economic gains for local governments nationwide.

The nationwide forums have provided an avenue for a wide range of stakeholders to raise pertinent environmental issues in the country and how these can be addressed by the Resiliency Framework for ENR. ###