Quezon City – In celebration and observance of the Climate Change Consciousness Week, the Forest Management Bureau (FMB) of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), the Climate Change Commission (CCC), and the German Agency for International Cooperation (GIZ) GmbH, supported by the International Climate Initiative (IKI) of the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety (BMUB), launched the Philippine REDD+ Safeguards Framework and Guidelines (SFG) together with the Safeguards Information System (SIS) prototype during the Implementing the Climate Agreement in the Forestry Sector: National Conference on REDD+ and Forest Protection at the Eastwood Richmonde Hotel, Libis, Quezon City on 24 November 2016.

reddplus social safeguards 600px L-R: ASec Amaro Jr., USec Teh, Rep Corazon T. Nuñez-Malanyaon, GIZ Climate Program Director Bernd-Markus Liss, and FMB Director CalderonTo highlight the importance of the SFG, First District of Davao Oriental Congressional Representative Corazon T. Nuñez-Malanyaon, Vice Chairperson on Committee for Appropriations & Vice Chairperson on Committee on Constitutional Amendments, shared how safeguards ensure that the interest of communities and indigenous peoples (IPs) are respected and protected.

“During the field testing of the SFG, the social dimension of the Social Safeguards, particularly the employing of the Free and Prior Informed Consent (FPIC) process under the Indigenous Peoples Rights Act (IPRA), has been adhered to. Following the rights-based principle or approach, the process made sure that the implementation of the REDD+ project has been understood, and thus has been endorsed by the indigenous peoples who own most of the forestlands,” she said.

The SFG aims to assess the implementation of REDD+ in the country and ensures compliance with governance, ecological and social safeguards for the benefit of communities and indigenous peoples (IPs) living in and around our forests. A set of principles, criteria and indicators with the corresponding means of verifications were established and agreed upon through a highly consultative and participatory manner. These safeguards should be considered and enforced in the implementation of various REDD+ interventions.

The development of the SIS is a requirement as decided under the Warsaw Framework of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), which specifies that developing country Parties must develop a “system for providing information on how safeguards... are being addressed and respected throughout the implementation of [REDD+] activities...” This system should be able to (1) provide transparent and consistent information that is accessible by all relevant stakeholders and updated on a regular basis; (2) be transparent and flexible, to allow for improvements over time; and (3) be country-driven and implemented at the national level.

Both the SFG and SIS are important requirements to fully implement REDD+, through which forest protection efforts will feed in to the Philippines’ Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC) roadmap towards implementing the Paris Agreement. In the Philippines, the forestry sector plays a major role in absorbing carbon and in lowering carbon emissions. REDD+ also contributes to the country’s climate actions in adaptation to climate change.

Following President Rodrigo Duterte’s decision to support the ratification of the Paris Agreement and as part of his agenda for poverty alleviation, REDD+ and forest protection initiatives ensure the sustainable management of our forests and effective governance of natural resources, at the same time conserving biodiversity and providing livelihoods and incentives to communities and IPs who help conserve and preserve the environment. With the full implementation of REDD+, more funding and performance-based payments for the protection of our forests and reduction of emissions will further encourage local communities to stop destroying forests and instead take care of them.

“It is a welcomed development [that the President supports the Paris Agreement]. The Philippines may have a small contribution globally, but we are a legitimate party in the international negotiations and we influence others for significant change,” DENR Assistant Secretary Marcial Amaro Jr. said.

REDD+ is strongly supported by the DENR and other national agencies, local government units, local communities, people’s organizations (POs) IPs, development partners, civil society organizations, and the private sector. The collective agreement was shown through the signing of the Declaration of Support for the National Implementation of REDD+ as a strategy for achieving sustainable forest management during the first National REDD+ Congress held in Southern Leyte on 12-16 September 2016. #


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