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Environment and Natural Resources Secretary Ramon J. P Paje cited the various initiatives of the government in coastal management even as he said that the Philippine hosting of the week-long Global Conference on Land-Ocean Connections (GLOC), including the 3rd Intergovernmental Review (IGR-3) Meeting on the Implementation of the Global Programme of Action (GPA) for the Protection of the Marine Environment from Land-based Activities on January 23-27, 2012 at the EDSA Shangrila Hotel in Mandaluyong City provides an opportunity to showcase the country’s accomplishments in coastal and marine resource management.

“These initiatives are meant to sustain the productivity and health of our coastal areas which are now in various stages of degradation due to human-induced stresses that are caused by land-based activities,” Paje said.

According to him, the increasing demand for bounties from the seas, fueled by the development and economic needs of a growing population and the export market, have severely depleted the country’s coastal and marine resources, resulting in the alarming rate of habitat loss or degradation for biodiversity and poverty for many people.

Paje traced the history of coastal management in the country with the establishment of marine protected areas by local government units (LGUs) in response to the needs of coastal communities.

On a national level, the initiatives include the passage of various legislations and policies on the sustainable management of coastal and marine resources such as the following:

Among the country’s prominent legislations and policies related to coastal and marine resource management are the following:

 

Local Government Code of 1991 (Republic Act 7160), devolving the basic powers of coastal resource management to the local government units (LGUs), within 15 kilometers of their respective municipal waters
The National Integrated Protected Areas System Act (Republic Act 7586), which has led to the declaration of: 30 marine protected areas (MPAs); species protection zones as sanctuaries for turtles, fish, dugong, whales and whale sharks; and marine reserves, parks or sanctuaries to protect vulnerable habitats, depending on the amount of extractive and non-extractive use allowed within the declared areas
Fisheries Code of 1998 (Republic Act 8550), the primary legislation for fisheries and aquatic resources
Presidential Proclamation 1801 of 1978, identifying tourist zones where any development projects or construction is prohibited without prior approval from the Philippine Tourism Authority (PTA)
Executive Order 578 of 2006, declaring a national policy on biodiversity directing government agencies to integrate and mainstream protection, conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity into their respective policies and programs, especially with regard to the Verde Island Passage Marine Corridor and the Sulu-Sulawesi Marine Ecoregion (SSME)
Presidential Proclamation 1028 of 1997, which declared the entire Sulu-Celebes Seas as an integrated conservation and development zone; created the Presidential Commission for the Integrated Conservation and Development of the Sulu and Celebes Seas (PCICDSC); approved an Integrated Conservation and Development Plan and adopted the conservation plan for the SSME
Executive Order 533 of 2006, declaring Integrated Coastal Management (ICM) as the national management policy framework to promote sustainable development of the country’s coastal and marine environment and resources, and which mandated the preparation of a National (ICM) Program led by the DENR
An Integrated Coastal Resource Management Project

According to Paje, his agency, together with the Department of Agriculture’s Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (DA-BFAR) and 80 municipalities across eight partner provinces, are now on the fifth year of implementation of the Integrated Coastal Resource Management Project or ICRMP. The overall goal of the project, according to him, is to enhance the management of the coastal resources in the identified sites, with the end in view of increasing the income of the coastal communities.

 

The ICRMP’s four components are aimed to strengthen policies and implementing institutions; implement a ridge-to-reef management and conservation of coastal and marine resources; promote environment-friendly and sustainable livelihoods through enterprise development and income diversification; and provide social and environmental services and sustainable livelihoods.

Restoring historic Manila Bay

With the identification of Manila Bay as one of three sub-regional sea areas or pollution hotspots in the East Asia region, the Global Environmental Fund, the UN Development Programme, and the International Maritime Organization or GEF/UNDP/IMO Regional Programme on Building Partnerships in Environmental Management for the Seas of East Asia, also known as PEMSEA, launched together with the Philippine Government the Manila Bay Environmental Management Project (MBEMP) in 2000.

 

The project aims to plan, develop and manage the marine and coastal resources of this historic bay as well as those of its surrounding areas. Since the Bay’s numerous problems cannot be solely addressed by government, the Manila Bay Coastal Strategy serves as a common framework that guides all concerned stakeholders in addressing both environmental and economic development issues in the bay area.

To mainstream the initiatives of the MBEMP to the three surrounding regions – Central Luzon, CALABARZON, and the National Capital Region – the DENR established the Manila Bay River Basin Coordinating Office in 2007. The office was later reorganized into the Manila Bay Coordinating Office to fully implement the Operational Plan for the Manila Coastal strategy.

With the Pasig River basin identified as source of around 60 per cent of the pollution load of the bay, the DENR has also embarked on partnerships with the business or industry sector, local government units, other agencies and stakeholders to clean up tributaries.

The DENR, through the Environmental Management Bureau and the Laguna Lake Development Authority, have also strengthened their water quality monitoring, ensuring the compliance of industries to effluent standards.

The world’s center of marine biodiversity

With the world’s center of marine biodiversity known as “Coral Triangle” falling within the exclusive economic zones of six countries, namely: the Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands and Timor-Leste or the CT6 formed a multilateral partnership called the Coral Triangle Initiative on Coral Reefs, Fisheries and Food Security (CTI-CFF). The initiative safeguards the region’s rich marine and coastal resources through protection from overfishing, destructive fishing practices, unsustainable coastal development, pollution and impacts of climate change.

 

The Philippines organized its own CTI-CFF National Coordinating Committee (NCC) in 2009 to provide guidance for the overall implementation of the country’s National Plan of Action or NPOA. The NCC is led by the DENR and the DA-BFAR, and its members include representatives from the Departments of Foreign Affairs and Finance, the National Economic and Development Authority, the League of Municipalities of the Philippines, non-government organizations, academic institutions and the business sector.

The NPOA has six cross-cutting themes in implementing the goals and targets of the CTI-CFF. These include research requirements; enabling policy; planning based on practices and lessons learned; capacity-building; enforcement of environmental laws; and information and education campaigns.

The Philippines is clearly not a neophyte in the field of coastal and marine resource management. It has had over thirty years of experience in coastal management. With its 36,289 kilometers of coastline as one of the longest in the world, and with its abundant marine and coastal resources serving as a source of livelihood for 70 per cent of Filipinos, it is only imperative for the country to seek for and implement better ways to manage the ecosystem, enhance fisheries, and arrest rapid deterioration of valuable coastal habitats.

 

  

 

A high-level discussion on the protection of marine environment against land-based activities is slated on January 25-27, 2012 at the Third Intergovernmental Review Meeting (IGR3) on the Implementation of the Global Programme of Action (GPA) for the Protection of the Marine Environment from Land-based Activities at EDSA Shangri-la Manila in Mandaluyong City.

Prior to IGR3, a Global Conference on Land-Ocean Connections (GLOC), with the theme: Towards a Greener Coastal Economy, shall be held on January 23-24, 2012, also at EDSA Shangri-la.

Around 500 participants, 200 of whom from different countries around the world, are expected to attend the twin events organized by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). The participants will include representatives from over 70 governments, as well as scientists and marine experts.

Former President Fidel V. Ramos will give the keynote address, while Director Ibarahim Thiaw of UNEP will deliver a message during the opening ceremony of GLOC on Monday.

Secretary Ramon J. P. Paje of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), lead agency in the Philippine hosting of the conference, will deliver the welcome remarks.

Other activities scheduled on the first day of the conference include a presentation by Prof. Joe Alcamo of UNEP’s Foresight Process in Identifying Emerging Global Issues, and group discussions on the following issues: Managing the Global Nutrient Cycle; Marine litter: The role of Global Partnership; Coastal Ecosystems: Values and Services; Wastewater; and Deltas in relation to the declaration of 2013 as the International Year of Deltas.

A side event that concerns SIDA-supported Spatial Planning in the Coastal Zone will also be conducted during the day.

Issues involving Regional Seas the Global Environment Facility (GEF) and UN agencies; water resources management; and ecosystem-based coastal planning and management will be discussed on the second day of the conference, with two side events on addressing nutrient reduction and hypoxia through GEF’s catalytic action, and demonstration of policy toolbox in support of making right policy choices to address nutrient of coastal waters by UNEP.

 

Meanwhile, the succeeding 3-day IGR3 will be comprised of two segments. The technical segment will look into the progress on the implementation of the program of action to protect coastal and marine environment, including the policy issues to further the program’s implementation. The high-level segment will engage ministers to review and decide on the global program of action for 2012-2016, and the adoption of the Manila Declaration, which becomes the body’s input to the Rio+20 Summit in June.

Three side events slated on Wednesday (Jan. 25) include the launching of Green Economy in a Blue World by UNEP, Marine Spatial Planning as an Area-based Management Tool using the Ecosystem Approach, and the GEF International Waters Support for the GPA, including the launch of UNEP-GEF Project on Global Foundations for Reducing Nutrient Enrichment.

Presidential Adviser for Environmental Protection Sec. Nereus O. Acosta is scheduled to speak on Land-Water Connections: Building Resilience and Climate Change Adaptation as a side event on Thursday, Jan. 26, along with the presentation of the UN-Water Report: Water Resources Management for Rio+20.

 

  

 

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) today joined other government agencies in launching a green public procurement project that will promote the use of environment-friendly products and services in the supply chain.

The launch was capped with the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MOU) for the “Pilot Project for the Implementation of Green Public Procurement among selected Government Institutions” at the Quezon City Hall.

Signatories to the MOU include Undersecretary Analiza Teh for DENR, Executive Director Estanislao Granados for the Department of Budget and Management (DBM), Undersecretary Zenaida Malaya for Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), Undersecretary Loreta Ayson for the Department of Energy (DOE), Industrial Technology Development Institute Dir. Nuna Almanzor for the Department of Science and Technology (DOST), Dr. Nereus Acosta for the Philippine Center for Environmental Protection and Sustainable Development, Inc. (PCEPSDI); Dr. Lilia De Lima for the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA); Antonio Kalaw, Jr. for the Development Academy of the Phlippines (DAP); Mayor Herbert Bautista for Quezon City local government, and Shantanu Roy for the International Green Purchasing Network (IGPN).

The DENR, DTI, DOST, DOE, PCEPSDI, DAP and IGPN form part of the Board of the National Eco-labelling Program of the Philippines-Green Choice Philippines (NELP-GCP), which promotes Green Procurement by educating institutional and individual consumers on using environment-friendly products and services.

In a speech read by Teh, DENR Secretary Ramon J. P. Paje expressed optimism that the signing of the MOU would hasten the implementation of the Green Procurement Program in the public sector, which he described as the country’s biggest consumer of goods and services.

“With the MOU, and with government being the country’s biggest consumer of goods and services, we hope to encourage more companies, especially small and medium enterprises, to shift to environment-friendly business practices, provide choices by making green products and delivering green services not only for the government’s supply chain but for every consumer in the country as well,” Paje said.

The Green Procurement Program of the government was established by virtue of Executive Order No. 301 issued in 2004. However, Paje noted the difficulty of government agencies in implementing the directive “due to inadequate supply of environmentally-preferable products and services.”

Green procurement refers to patronizing goods and services that have less environmental impact, aside from considering their price and quality. The project is also seen to form part of government’s long-term solutions in adopting and mitigating the destructive effects of climate change.

Under the MOU, the DENR, DBM, PEZA, DTI, DOST, DOE and QC will undergo training on Green Procurement and enlist the participation of all officials, related offices, businesses and other stakeholders involved in their supply chain. They will also assist the PCEPSDI, which acts as the NELP-GCP Secretariat, in data gathering, report preparation, and promotion and advocacy campaign for the Green Procurement Program.

Meanwhile, the PCEPSDI, DAP and IGPN are tasked, among others, to conduct training on Green Public Procurement, ecolabelling, and other sustainable consumption and production tools; assist the participating government institutions in developing their Green Procurement Program; and document project implementation.

All parties to the MOU are also tasked to designate focal persons who will closely coordinate with each other on the implementation of the project.

Earlier, the PCEPSDI, a non-government organization acting as the NELP-GCP Secretariat, entered into a partnership with the IGPN, through the Japan Fund for Global Environment, to fund the five-month pilot project to train the DBM, PEZA and the Quezon City local government on the establishment of Green Public Procurement programs.

  

 

A total of P2,619,892.00 has already been raised by employees of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) to aid some 249 co-workers in Cagayan De Oro City (CDO) affected by typhoon “Sendong” last December 17, 2011.

DENR Secretary Ramon J. P. Paje turned over the initial amount of P2 million in manager’s check to DENR-Region 10 employees union president Felixberto Capadocia in simple rites held Monday (January 9) during the flag raising ceremonies at the DENR Central Office grounds in Quezon City .

“More relief goods and cash donations are still coming in and these will be turned over to ease the suffering of our co-workers in Cagayan de Oro City,” said Paje.

Some 40 boxes containing of essential daily items like clothings, footwear, toiletries, and beddings have already been either shipped or are ready for transport to CDO for distribution to the victims.

"We do hope that our modest contribution would go a long way in easing the suffering of our affected co-workers and their families,” Paje said, lauding the humanitarian gesture of the members of the K4-DENR Employees Union (DENREU) who pooled together their resources in response to the fund-raising campaign he launched last December 21, 2011.

K4-DENREU is the association of all union chapters of the department’s employees, numbering around 18,525 nationwide.

Paje likewise cited the response from the DENR’s staff and line bureaus which pooled a total donation of P1,198,850.

“The outpouring of aid spawned responses even from private loan and saving cooperative body organized by some DENR employees,” Paje said, referring to the Forestry Saving and Loan Association (FOSLA) which gave P8,000.

  

 

Environment and Natural Resources Secretary Ramon J. P. Paje on Monday inks an agreement with Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) Gov. Mujiv S. Hataman for the reforestation of some 2,500 hectares of denuded and open forestland in the region under the National Greening Program.

At the same time, Paje committed some PhP49.6 million in financial assistance to enable the ARMM government to carry out a massive tree planting program within its five provinces, to include Basilan, Lanao del Sur, Maguindanao, Sulu and Tawi-tawi.

“This collaboration sets a critical milestone in ecological governance for the region and bodes well for addressing the social and economic challenges which the region undoubtedly faces,” Paje remarked during the signing ceremonies.

He also said that the NGP collaboration between ARMM and the DENR was in compliance with President Aquino’s instruction to assist in the management of the region’s natural wealth, particularly its forest-based resources which he “considered as its foremost natural asset as yet.”

“The fuel that powers ARMM’s economic engine is resource-based and we in the national government will assist our brothers and sisters in ARMM in the resource management of the region,” Paje noted, adding that he plans to send his key senior officials there “for us to gain a front seat view of how resource management is undertaken there and how we can contribute in improving it.”

For his part, ARMM Gov. Hataman said the MOA signing marks his first collaborative undertaking with the national government.

“Typhoon Sendong struck exactly two days after I assumed office,” Hataman said, noting that NGP is now a major tool he can use in addressing illegal logging in ARMM since the program offers alternative livelihood to forest-based communities that are usually enticed to engage in illegal logging activities due to lack of livelihood opportunities in the uplands.

Hataman said priority will be given to upstream areas inside ARMM where the NGP activities will be implemented with guidance from the DENR-national government.

“Pipilitin naming maipatupad ang lahat ng expectations ni President Aquino for ARMM,” Hataman stressed, noting that he already received “verbal commitments” from rebel groups involved in the peace negotiation to help in stopping illegal logging in ARMM and in the NGP implementation.

Under the agreement, ARMM will implement the NGP according to the guidelines set by the DENR central office. It shall also allow DENR personnel that will be designated to monitor and evaluate ARMM's implementation, including its financial management and utilization.

Aside from financial assistance, the DENR shall also provide ARMM with technical assistance and ensure the timely provision of funds based on the approved work and financial program of ARMM.