Today is: Sun, May 26, 2013
The Philippines suffers from severe deforestation, deteriorating coastal resources, declining fish production and overflowing trash. This environmental state threatens the country’s remaining important global terrestrial and marine biodiversity. While total forest cover has increased in recent years, natural forests—habitats for most valuable plants and animals continue to be depleted and fragmented by illegal cutting and conversion to other uses. About 70% of coral reefs are already destroyed—overfishing and destructive fishing practices threaten the country’s food security. Less than 40% of solid waste is collected, the rest clog rivers and waterways. Almost 58% of all ground¬water is contaminated and unfit for aquatic life. Only 7% of domestic effluents are managed.
The Philippine Environmental Governance Project Phase 2 (EcoGov), a collaborative effort resulting from the bilateral agreement between the United States Government through USAID and the Government of the Philippines through DENR and DILG focuses on strengthening LGUs within key biodiversity areas to respond to these challenges through localized but strategic actions that aim to:
- Reduce overfishing and the use of destructive fishing practices;
- Reduce illegal logging and conversion of natural forests; and
- Improve the management of solid wastes and wastewater.
EcoGov provides technical assistance to more than 150 strategically located municipal and provincial LGUs across the country, many are in Mindanao, to enable them to plan and implement locally-financed environmental programs, while observing the principles of transparency, accountability and people’s participation in all their decisions, transactions and actions.
Effective strategies, practices and experiences from EcoGov-assisted LGUs are concurrently disseminated. This allows neighboring LGUs that share common natural resources, like watersheds and coastal areas, to address interlocking concerns of resource management and law enforcement. LGUs opting to share the costs and benefits from common disposal sites for solid waste are being assisted.
EcoGov helps local governments improve the management of their coastal ecosystems and fishery resources, particularly in the areas of coastal zoning, awareness campaigns, biodiversity conservation, networking, capacity building, and enforcement. The project helps LGUs link the issuance/ renewal of licenses with sound and sustainable coastal and fisheries management. It also helps local governments and communities establish and operate marine protected area networks so that depleted fish populations can regenerate on a wider scale supported by effective “bantay dagat” operations.
EcoGov works with the DENR and LGUs to rationalize forest land use, strengthen property rights, assist tenure holders improve their forest management practices, improve local support systems for marginalized indigenous populations and upland farmers, and promote investments in forest lands. Through training and on-site assistance, the project expects to put in place a functioning system that will reduce illegal logging, conserve biodiversity, and improve productivity of remaining production forests and bare forest lands. The focus is on improving local incentives so that LGUs and local communities with property rights will be motivated to help realize these objectives.
EcoGov assists urbanizing LGUs in key biodiversity areas plan and implement solid waste management programs that shift emphasis from the traditional collection and dumping of solid waste to segregated collection, followed by suitable composting and recycling activities, and disposal that can intercept up to 80% of the waste. Inter-LGU collaboration is encouraged to establish common disposal facilities, sustained by user fees. LGUs are assisted in preparing and implementing sustainable, enterpriseoriented solid waste and wastewater sanitation programs. This includes reviewing and enacting ordinances for septage management, and promoting investments that include private sector participation to establish and operate wastewater treatment facilities.
EcoGov assists LGUs improve the basis and processes in decision making so that these are consistent with the principles of good environmental governance—employing various communication, advocacy, and social marketing tools so that decision makers and their constituents become aware of the costs and benefits of their decisions and actions. The project helps LGUs and stakeholders in analyzing the basis of those decisions, in making informed decisions, in carrying out responsible and accountable actions, in formulating and enforcing rules, and in resolving disputes among different Stakeholders.
Contractor: Development Alternatives Inc.
Arunkumar Abraham, Chief of Party
Unit-2401 Prestige Tower
F. Ortigas Jr. Road (formerly Emerald Ave.)
Ortigas Center, Pasig City
Tel. Nos. 635-0747. 635-6260
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