The Philippines is among the top 10 most vulnerable countries in the world to climate change but it has exceptional levels of biological diversity that, if properly managed, can provide resiliency to adverse climate change impacts.

Along this line, numerous strategies grounded on lessons learned and best practices gathered from past projects implementation have been advanced to counter catastrophic climate change impacts – both real and imagined – by leveraging the relative abundance of the country’s biodiversity. As a matter of fact, the Philippine Climate Change Action Plan (NCCAP) has identified integrated ecosystem-based management measures such as the Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM) and the like to protect, maintain, and enhance integrity of upland biodiversity; regulate water extraction and pollution; and protect coastal ecosystems.

Notwithstanding all these measures, conditions such as inadequate human capability and insufficient financial resources still persist to impede their full implementation. In addition, services provided by ecosystems are not well quantified and understood resulting to conservation measures receiving relatively little support vis-à-vis development investment.

To address these issues, a project entitled “Improved Ecosystem Services and Reduced Vulnerability to Climate Change through Ecosystem Based Management and Application of Ecosystem Values in Two River Basins in the Philippines” has been proposed. Spanning five years of project implementation, it sees the active involvement of the Department of Environment and Natural Resource (DENR), local government units (LGUs), and indigenous communities as critical factors to improve water quality and supply, reduce disaster risk, and protect biodiversity in two selected river basins or major watersheds.

The project proposal was jointly endorsed by the Climate Change Commission (CCC) and BMUB-IKI in a bilateral meeting in Bonn, Germany on October 22, 2015. To date, several meetings and a writeshop have been conducted with members of the Technical Working Group (TWG) and GIZ to straighten out the project proposal, which is set to be submitted by the first week of February 2016.

The Implementation Agreement, which will serve as the basis for the implementation of the Project, is calendared to be signed within September of the same year. #

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