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PH wants to protect and restore biodiversity: DENR

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The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) stated on Monday that the Philippines sees a future in which biodiversity is restored and preserved to support the development of strong, healthy Filipino communities.

DENR Secretary Maria Antonia Yulo Loyzaga stated that the post-2020 Global Biodiversity Fund (GBF) must ensure clear linkages to national policy mechanisms and implementation that recognize the intersections between climate change, biodiversity, and sustainable development. This was in a country statement to the 15th Meeting of the Conference of Parties to the Convention on Biodiversity (CBD COP).

In order to come closer to our development goals and 30-by-30 targets, Loyzaga continued, “on conservation, we have planted and maintained over a million hectares of degraded forestlands, and more prospective protected areas have been discovered.

Her statement read, “We consider these activities as a source of nature-based solutions to reduce and adapt to the impacts of climate change.” She mentioned that these regions include scientifically recognized ecologically or biologically significant marine areas (EBSAs).

Jobs in ecotourism, which promotes activities, goods, and services that improve biodiversity, have more than doubled in the previous five years.

Agricultural practices that are favourable to biodiversity and systems of agricultural history that are significant nationally have also been subject to regulations.

Our desire to strengthen the Nagoya Protocol’s implementation in order to complement practical bilateral and multilateral benefit-sharing mechanisms for the utilization of genetic resources, associated traditional knowledge and Digital Sequence Information (DSI) is driven by our high endemism and rate of species discovery, she said.

Despite these initiatives, Loyzaga claimed there is still much to be done in order to maintain a balance between fostering human development and safeguarding biodiversity.

Recent estimates indicate a more than three-fold increase in public spending for biodiversity, with agrobiodiversity expenditures rising nine-fold, she continued.

These projections, however, also showed that there is a budget need for the biodiversity of at least PHP14 billion annually, notably for protection and restoration.

“We anticipate that this difference will stay extremely big, if not become even more so than estimated. We want to reach our highest objectives while upholding the rights of women, children, local communities, indigenous peoples, and everyone else who has a right to a clean, healthy, and sustainable environment added Loyzaga.

She pointed out that if the weak are neglected, development cannot be sustained.

President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. is quoted by Loyzaga as saying that “the protection of the environment is the preservation of life.”

We join the appeal for the implementation of pledges, specifically for the creation of a global biodiversity fund that will mobilize resources for biodiversity, she said, “mindful of our common but varied duties.”

She expressed gratitude for the support received for capacity building, scientific collaboration, and technology transfer from the ASEAN neighbors of the Philippines, especially the ASEAN Center for Biodiversity and other bilateral, regional, and international partners.

According to her, the help the nation receives makes it possible to do the following: 1) assess the risk to ecosystems, 2) build a geospatial database of biodiversity resources, 3) set up a system for natural capital accounting, 4) calculate the loss and damage caused by climate change, and 5) take precautions to ensure fair benefit-sharing from traditional knowledge and genetic resources.

We are guardians of one of the most biodiverse nations in the world, which also happens to be home to the core of the world’s marine biodiversity. To achieve resilient and sustainable development, we must, however, address the interconnected crises of biodiversity loss, climate change, and inclusion, she said.

In order to someday host a COP CBD in Manila, the nation would invest in urgent and revolutionary change, she continued.

“Common values, coordinated efforts, and the persistent commitment of all must be made in order to realize our vision of living in harmony with nature and creating a shared future for all life on earth,” she said.

In order to create a world that values nature, she continued, “We must now look beyond restoration and jointly strive towards investing in the regeneration of life on land and below the sea.”

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