The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) is spearheading an investment forum to encourage companies to invest in businesses that promote sustainable use of marine- and forest-based resources within the country’s key biodiversity areas (KBAs).


Invited to grace the Biodiversity-Friendly Business and Investment Forum slated for February 11 in Makati City include DENR Secretary Ramon J. P. Paje, Senators Loren Legarda and Paolo Benigno Aquino IV, UNDP Country Director Maurice Dewulf, key officials from the Department of Agriculture, and Department of Trade and Industry.


Also expected to attend are local executives and representatives of non-government organizations as well as people’s organizations.


With the theme “Conserving Biodiversity to Promote Inclusive Economic Growth,” the forum will showcase available business opportunities identified by the DENR’s Biodiversity Management Bureau (BMB) in some KBAs.


KBAs are sites that contain one or more viable populations of a globally threatened species that requires immediate conservation action.


The BMB, through its Biodiversity Partnership Project (BPP), in collaboration with the Department of Trade and Industry, Department of Tourism, and Department of Agriculture, has identified a number of business opportunity ventures, which may be supported by potential private sector partners and investors.


These include an ecotourism project and furniture and handicraft production within the 200,155-hectare Malampaya Sound Protected Land and Seascape Area in Taytay, Palawan; community-based coffee enterprises and processed food at the Quirino Protected Landscape in Quirino province;  handicraft production and handloom weaving using the “bakong” plant and a wine, vinegar, jam factory using a local fruit called “Lubeg” inside the Northeastern Cagayan KBA in Cagayan Valley; an eco park project integrating a lemongrass and citronella plantation and essential oils extraction facility and gifts and houseware production using tiger grass, nito, bamboo and abaca in Northern Negros Natural Park in Negros Occidental; houseware products from abaca, bamboo and nito in Central Panay Mountains in the island of Panay; almaciga resin production in Mt. Hamiguitan Wildlife Reserve Sanctuary in Davao Oriental; community-based coffee enterprises and handicraft production in Mt. Kalatungan, a New Conservation Areas in the Philippines Project (NewCAPP) site in Bukidnon province.


Apart from presenting investment opportunities, the DENR will also launch the “biodiversity-friendly” or BF-label branding program. Select people’s organizations (POs) will have the chance to present their respective BF products and enterprises during a plenary session.


BPP also called “Partnership for Biodiversity Conservation: Mainstreaming in Local Agricultural Landscapes,” was launched in November 2012 with a $17-million funding from the World Bank’s Global Environment Facility.


The six-year project, which is being implemented in five biodiversity-important regions, aims to strengthen the capacities of local government units in adopting biodiversity conservations as a priority in their development plans, capacitate POs in pursuing economic activities that enhance biodiversity conservation efforts in their areas, among others.


The project is implemented in KBAs located in Regions 2, 4-B, 6, 10, 11 and 13. It prioritizes the conservation of threatened species and their habitats from threats such as unsustainable agricultural production and incompatible land use.


It also hinges on the convergence of the DENR with the Department of the Interior and Local Government, the Housing and Land Use Regulatory Board, the National Economic Development Authority, and the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples to promote biodiversity conservation in national and local development planning activities.


The BMB said there are now a total of 228 KBAs in the Philippines, consisting of 128 terrestrial and 123 marine sites. Several of these are on protected area status, but majority are outside of protected areas proclaimed under the National Integrated Protected Areas System (NIPAS) Act, thus requiring additional interventions from initiatives like the BPP to complement the DENR’s biodiversity conservation efforts in these areas.

Posted By: Lynne Pingoy


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