The Philippines is hosting the first-ever international conference on conservation financing in a bid to scale up funding for ongoing efforts to conserve Southeast Asia’s rich biological diversity.
Slated for March 3-4, 2015 at the Hotel H2O in Manila, the International Conference on Conservation Financing in Southeast Asia will bring together conservation finance experts, key government officials and environmental policymakers, park managers of conservation areas, and noted resource and environmental economists in the region.
The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) is organizing the conference, in collaboration with the Biodiversity and Watersheds Improved for Stronger Ecosystem Resilience (B+WISER) Program of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the Economy and Environment Program for Southeast Asia (EEPSEA), and the Asian Centre for Biodiversity (ACB).
Among the objectives of the conference are to seek innovative financing schemes that mobilize funding and community action needed to provide the long-term sustainability, and secure healthier ecosystems and improved livelihoods for forest dependent communities.
The event is also expected to provide an avenue for the formation of Conservation Financing Knowledge Network as community of practitioners.
Among the expected resource persons include Dr. Herminia Francico, director of economy and environment program for Southeast Asia, WorldFish and Dr. Gem Castillo, president of the Resource and Environmental Economics Association of the Philippines. Dr. Francisco will present the overview of conservation financing schemes while Dr. Castillo will tackle fiscal gap and financing of Southeast Asia’s protected areas.
The 2-day event is divided into four sessions. Session 1 will focus on conservation finance mechanisms for global goods; Session 2 will cover conservation financing for ecosystem services with local benefits and as inputs to production; Session 3 will deal on conservation financing for consumption goods and nature-based recreation while Session 4 will be on conservation financing for coastal and marine ecosystems.
Two roundtable discussions on conservation fund and park management experiences in the ASEAN region will also be conducted during the event. ###
Environment Secretary Ramon J.P. Paje has lauded the record-breaking “TreeVolution: Greening MindaNow” as a big step forward in restoring Mindanao’s rapidly dwindling forest cover and fighting climate change.
“More than setting the now-confirmed world record, we will always consider TreeVolution as a big step taken by Mindanao residents themselves in re-greening their landscape to help mitigate climate change and protect themselves against its adverse impacts,” the environment chief said.
Records tally-keeper Guinness World Records has recently confirmed Mindanao, through the TreeVolution – a massive tree-planting activity held in various locations in the region in September last year – as the new title holder for the most number of trees planted within an hour.
Paje congratulated the DENR’s partner organizers, the Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA) led by its chairman Lualhati Antonino , the Department of Agriculture, the Department of the Interior and Local Government, and those who actively participated for the success of the activity.
“We are hoping that this move will inspire others, as collaboration and unity among stakeholders is the key to address the adverse impacts of climate change,” he said.
He noted how in recent years Mindanao had been battered by strong typhoons and huge floods in what could only be attributed to climate change impacts, and said that the sheer number of trees planted under the TreeVolution program, if properly cared for to maturity, would benefit the people of Mindanao and the environment.
Paje cited the sequestration of carbon, which greatly contributes to global warming and climate change; recharging of aquifers; stabilization of the soil; food security; and livelihood creation as only some of the benefits that the project would bring to surrounding communities and the environment.
During the TreeVolution, more than 122,000 participants simultaneously planted 2.29 million seedlings, across 29 locations in Mindanao on September 26 last year, surpassing the previous record of 1.9 million trees planted by India in 2011.
Paje lauded the commitment of Mindanao’s local government units who contributed five hectares each for the planting sites, through a resolution passed by the Confederation of Provincial Governors, City Mayors and Municipal League Presidents of Mindanao or Confed-Mindanao.
He reiterated that the TreeVolution was in support of the government’s National Greening Program, which aims to cover 1.5 million hectares with trees by 2016.