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Biodiversity Conservation through Management of Natural Resources (BCMNR)

 

Key biodiversity areas (KBAs) in the Philippines face immense threats from human economic endeavors and overlapping natural resource management mandates, resulting in a situation in which local stakeholders find it difficult to coordinate threat abatement activities and effective management of natural resources. While communities, local governments and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) are open to improved management options, they lack the resources to put these options into practice. Thus, there is a pent-up demand for expertise and capacity-building programs that will allow multi-stakeholder groups to evaluate and access new market opportunities, institute biodiversity monitoring tools and systems, and improve environmental enforcement and governance practices.

EWV, through the “Biodiversity Conservation through Management of Natural Resources” (BCMNR) project, fills this crucial gap, working to conserve three KBAs in (a) Bukidnon, (b) Mt. Diwata and Mt. Hilong-Hilong area, and (c) southern Palawan.

The objectives of the USAID-funded project are to:

  • Improve the management of natural resources and delivery of environmental services through capacity-building of the local organizations;
  • Institute better enforcement mechanisms to uphold environmental laws; and,
  • Broaden opportunities for sustainable enterprise development.

To achieve these goals, EWV supports the endeavors of “emerging champions,” or prominent municipal and provincial multi-stakeholder groups that have a shared mission to conserve key biodiversity, promote economic development and protect ecosystem services. For each project objective, EWV offers a variety of specific activities that can be tailored to the needs and demands of the emerging champions.

Program implementation is a team effort between the various interest groups in the proposed areas, including the regional development councils, provincial and municipal environmental offices of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), Protected Area Management Boards, the private sectors, non-governmental organizations, and other groups working on natural resources management. EWV will convene these groups at the initiation of the project to discuss the proposed activities and re-validate how the activities will address the environmental threats. If needed, EWV will validate identified threats or will make a rapid appraisal of the KBA to ensure that project activities will not duplicate similar on-going efforts. The initial meeting will provide the active participation of the communities, local government and the private sector and will make certain “stakeholders’ ownership” is incorporated from the start of the project. EWV has found that when there is stakeholders’ ownership, the sustainability of project initiated activities will most likely be sustained upon completion of the proposed project.

In the choice of project locations and activities, EWV used a demand-driven approach, such that biodiversity conservation serves the needs of local communities and the Philippines’ long-term economic and environmental security. The three KBA sites requested EWV technical assistance after visiting and learning about similar work done by the organization in other regions.

The strategies implemented as part of the BCMNR project build upon EWV’s 15 years of experience in successfully using an ecosystem-based approach with multi-stakeholder groups to achieve biodiversity conservation and socio-economic and environmental security. Thus, the strategies are based upon past lessons, best practices, and investments made by donors to consolidate the emerging champions into a more effective and organized mechanism which will promote the long-term sustainability of biodiversity conservation interventions in the Philippines.

Anticipated outcomes of the two-year project include:

  • Improved management of 15,000 hectares under community forest management and 225,000 hectares in areas of biological significance resulting in improved water quality and sequestering of green house gases
  • 9 trainings annually to benefit 1,000 trainees of which 45% are to be women with targeted recruitment to include marginalized groups
  • enterprise improvements to increase incomes of 500 beneficiaries
  • Establishment of 12 nurseries
  • Leveraging of $60,000 in environmental financing; and,
  • Feasibility work to prepare for potential public-private sector partnership in land based carbon markets.

With appropriate zoning, improved enforcement, the use of best practices to mitigate environmental damages, alternative income streams from forest and marine areas, and sustainable resource extraction, the Philippines can protect their KBAs, sustainably manage their natural resources and rehabilitate denuded areas. Through this project, EWV aims to support these endeavors—bringing proven conservation and economic development strategies, while tailoring activities to address local needs.