Thirty-five policymakers and key opinion leaders from the government, academe, civil society and private sector in the Philippines gathered recently for the USAID-hosted roundtable discussion on security and governance of natural resources. The discussion helped synthesize multi-sectoral and multi-disciplinary perspectives, insights and recommendations from environment and natural resources experts to provide inputs to USAID-Philippines’ Country Development Cooperation Strategy.
Despite having the abundant and megadiverse natural capital that can provide long-term, sustainable sources of ecosystem goods and services, the Philippines’ environment sector is seen as a minor contributor to the national GDP, with fisherfolk, upland farmers and indigenous communities relegated as among the poorest of the poor. The situation is further exacerbated by species loss and ecological imbalance that affect food and environmental security. In this context, the roundtable discussion tried to answer the pressing question of, “Why does the Philippines continue to face the same issues in managing the environment and natural resources?”
In-depth, small-group discussions tackled the issues of governance and missed opportunities in addressing forest fragmentation, food security, inclusion in extractive industries, and community-based environmental defense; and resource gaps in environmental conservation and its impact on countrywide planning and programs. (Protect Wildlife)