By Ibarra C. Mateo
The Philippine campaign to manage sustainably its natural resources, while at the same time deterring environmental criminals received a significant boost from the US government through the US Agency for International Development (USAID).
The Philippines Sustainable Interventions for Biodiversity, Oceans, and Landscapes (SIBOL), a project supporting the sustainable management of the country’s natural resources and combat environmental crimes, has been launched, it was announced on Tuesday, Aug. 11.
The US government, through the USAID, launched the Philippines SIBOL, a five-year project with a budget of Php1.1 billion ($22 million), the US Embassy in the Philippines said.
SIBOL will provide support to the Philippine government to meet its goals of improving natural resource governance and stimulating public and private investments leading to greater ecosystem stability and inclusive green growth, the embassy said in a statement.
The USAID works with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and the Department of Agriculture’s Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources in implementing SIBOL.
RTI International, a US-based nonprofit organization, leads the implementation of SIBOL.
“Effective conservation management and measurement of the value of natural resources contribute to the Philippine economic development and environmental resilience,” Lawrence Hardy II, USAID Philippines mission director, said.
“Through SIBOL, USAID is pleased to support the Philippine efforts to conserve the country’s rich biodiversity while improving the livelihoods of Filipinos whose incomes depend upon these natural resources,” Hardy said.
The new project builds on the RTI International’s three decades of experience in 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) are members of the consortium partnering with RTI.
Juan Miguel T. Cuna, DENR undersecretary for policy, planning, and international affairs, welcomed the “important partnership” with USAID.
“Ensuring ecosystem integrity and human well-being are among the key priorities of the DENR,” Cuna said.
“We look forward to partnering with USAID in advancing our goals of environmental sustainability and strengthening the 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,” Cuna said.
Since 2014, the 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.
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