The Philippine ICCA Project (Full title: Strengthening National Systems to Improve Governance and Management of Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities Conserved Areas and Territories Project) conducted back-to-back consultations with leaders of indigenous peoples (IP) from Luzon and Mindanao on certain provisions of the recently signed Expanded National Integrated Protected Area System (ENIPAS) Law.
More than 60 IP leaders from areas covered by the projects Indigenous and Community Conserved Areas (ICCA) and the completed New Conservation Areas of the Philippines (NewCAP) attended the consultations held in Subic, Zambales and Davao City on August 21-23, 2018 and August 28-30, 2018, respectively.
Among the issues discussed were the role of indigenous peoples in Protected Area Management Boards (PAMB); the mechanisms to ensure that IP voices are heard in a diverse, multi-sectoral body such as the PAMB; and the extent of coverage of Special Use Agreement of Protected Areas (SAPA) within ICCAs.
The ENIPAS Law expands the list of protected areas with funding in the national budget from 13 to 107. It is believed that most of the newly established protected areas have IPs residing within them.
Currently, the law calls for a “mechanism for cooperation and complementation” between the indigenous traditional leadership and governance structures and the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP), Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), government agencies, concerned local government units and civil society.
The proceedings from the consultations will be submitted to DENR-Biodiversity Management Bureau, the lead agency drafting the law’s Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR).
Apart from their participation in the ENIPAS Law consultations, the IP leaders and their second-liners also trained in paralegal processes and techniques as part of the project’s capacity building initiatives. Subnational consultations on the proposed National ICCA Registry were also held.
Implemented by the Biodiversity Management Bureau and funded by the Global Environment Facility (GEF) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the Philippine ICCA Project aims to strengthen the conservation, protection, and management of biodiversity sites in the Philippines by institutionalizing ICCAs as a sustainable addition to the national protected areas (PA) estate. (Philippine ICCA Project/ Garie Rigor)