The Protected Area Management Enhancement (PAME) Project successfully held a National Learning Exchange at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Ortigas Centre, Pasig City, on 6-7 September 2017. The learning exchange summit provided the venue for sharing the knowledge and experiences of project partners from over 160 PAME-supported sites all over the Philippines.
“The Philippines is a focus country for Germany in the fight against climate change. The Philippines and Germany have already established a strong partnership in the areas of climate change adaptation and mitigation, as well as biodiversity conservation,” Dr. Gordon Kricke, German Ambassador to the Philippines, said.
The PAME Project is a partnership between the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH and the Biodiversity Management Bureau (BMB) of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR). The project has supported a global record of 160 protected areas in the country. Fifty-six new terrestrial and marine protected areas covering 170,000 hectares were also established, including a wetland in Negros Occidental which has been acknowledged as a special wetland area under the RAMSAR convention as well as a major East Asian-Australasian Flyway site.
Overall, the PAME project reached its goal to improve the state of management effectiveness of more than 60 National Integrated Protected Areas System (NIPAS) areas as shown by the average increase in the management assessment scores by more than 30%. In addition, the capabilities of more than 17,000 representatives of communities, national and local government units, the DENR, civil society organizations, and the academe to manage protected areas were enhanced under the project.
The event drew together more than 200 participants from different partner government units and organizations across the country to share their stories and experiences in the management and conservation of their respective environmental protected areas. Among these experiences are the effective cooperation among the national and local governments, communities, NGOs, indigenous peoples, and other stakeholders; empowerment of communities to take the lead in developing their culturally unique approaches to protected area management; inclusion of sustainable tourism and other livelihood projects in the management approaches; and empowerment of women to play important roles in protected area management.
The learning summit also featured poster presentations and creative ways of promoting and highlighting the importance and uniqueness of biodiversity in protected areas. For example, partners from Catanduanes used butterflies as mascots.
The Philippines is one of the world’s 17 most biodiverse countries, which together host 70% of the world’s biodiversity. However, it is also a global biodiversity hotspot due to its continued population growth, overexploitation of resources, pollution, and extreme vulnerability to climate change. Under the PAME Project, the German government, through GIZ, worked with the Philippine government to develop the capabilities of the Filipino people to sustainably manage their biodiversity for food security, sustained livelihoods, health, and protection from the disastrous impacts of climate change.
“It’s impossible to tackle climate change without addressing loss of biodiversity. Protecting and restoring ecosystems can help us reduce the extent of climate change and cope with its impact,” Berthold Schirm, PAME Principal Advisor, said. (PAME/ Frances Mara Mendoza)