Four ASEAN member states implementing the regional project, “Capacity Building on the Application of Landscape Approach to Support the Sustainable Natural Resources Management in Brunei Darussalam, Indonesia, Philippines, and Singapore (AFoCO BIPS Project)” convened for an assembly at the AG New World Manila Bay Hotel, Manila on October 25, 2017.
This event marked the first Project Coordination Committee (PCC) meeting of project focal persons from the four countries to discuss the status of and updates on the implementation of the Project.
For over a year, the project implementers have been employing different sustainable resource management strategies while adhering to the principles of the landscape approach. These are adapted to the conditions of their respective country environments.
Director Nonito Tamayo of the DENR Forest Management Bureau set the tone of the meeting with his welcome message, stressing the importance of having regular PCC meetings to serve as platform for discussion of monitoring and improving the implementation of the Project’s activities.
Forester Orlando Panganiban presented the adoption of the agenda, formally opening the session.
During the meeting proper, the physical and financial progress of these in-country activities was reported by each country representative.
Ms. Liyana Yahya of Brunei Darussalam described their progress in the rehabilitation and restoration of a degraded ecosystem in their country. At the time of reporting, they had already identified and surveyed a project site where a demonstration plot would be established.
Mr. Agustinus Tampubolon, focal person from Indonesia, enumerated the ongoing development of restoring a degraded peat swamp forest ecosystem. An agroforestry model site had been established in which continuous maintenance and protection activities were undertaken. Capacity building activities to provide livelihood options were carried out to support communities involved in the Project.
While all other countries focus on the restoration of their degraded natural environments, Singapore has adopted activities for urban forest management and biodiversity conservation.
As reported by Ms. Holly Siow, Singapore organized trainings relative to these themes using case studies from technical officers of the island nation to help capacitate other ASEAN member states.
The Philippines, on the other hand, is on par with Indonesia in implementing its activities.
Forester Emma Castillo of the Philippines reported the progress of establishing demonstration plots/learning sites where Assisted-Natural Regeneration (ANR) was employed as a strategy to restore denuded forestlands. Trainings on ANR and vegetation assessment were conducted to capacitate the people’s organization tapped to implement on-site development activities.
Various indigenous species to support ANR were planted, while maintenance and protection activities were ongoing.
Forester Marlon Atienza of the Philippines concluded the discussion with the consolidated progress of the AFoCO BIPS Project, showing the status breakdown of each implementing countries with respect to their work and budget plans. The consolidated proposed CY 2018 work and financial plan was also presented.
Implementers of the AFoCO BIPS Project have scheduled cross-country visits in 2018 to share their best practices in project implementation. (AFoCo BIPS Project/ Paolo G. Balderia)