The project “Strengthening Marine Protected Areas to Conserve the Marine Key Biodiversity Areas in the Philippines” of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR SMARTSeas PH) was recognized as one of the 300 World Best Practices on Sustainability and Innovation during the 5th Global Entreps Awards and 5G Citizens International Congress. The project was selected from over 5,000 nominations by 1,000 global jurors.
Entreps, the International Board of Global Actors and Business for Sustainability, is a network of authorities, business actors, associations, researchers, diplomats, innovators, public figures, and influential citizens committed to sustainability and good governance. Part of the network’s initiatives is the Global Entreps Awards that recognizes best practices worldwide promoting or implementing any of the 17 United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), sustainable businesses or industries, breakthrough digital solutions respectful to nature and human beings, good governance and engaged citizenship, and entrepreneurship and science respectful to nature and human beings.
The DENR SMARTSeas PH project was acknowledged for its efforts in improving the financial sustainability of marine protected areas (MPA) and marine protected area networks, particularly through the establishment of biodiversity-friendly enterprises (BDFEs) with people’s organizations (POs). It assisted 33 people’s organizations in Verde Island Passage, Tañon Strait Protected Seascape, Davao Gulf, and Lanuza Bay in developing products and enhancing capabilities to manage BDFEs such as sustainable production of fish sauce and bagoong, creation of fashion accessories from plastic waste, and ecotourism services, among others. Twenty-one of these POs were awarded financial grants amounting to Php 9.96 M to promote their growth and sustainability. The project also led the formulation of a BDFE Toolkit that would guide the DENR and other concerned offices in establishing sustainable BDFEs.
The Project Management Unit is currently preparing materials requested by the Entreps for the video-book of the 300 best practices that will be launched by the body.
The DENR SMARTSeas PH project (2014-2021) is implemented by the Biodiversity Management Bureau and supported by the Global Environment Facility (GEF), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), and civil society organizations (CSOs). The project aims to inhibit the degradation of marine and coastal habitats through effective management of marine protected areas (MPAs) and MPA networks, improvement of financial sustainability, and establishment of enabling environment for marine biodiversity conservation. (FASPS/ Michelle Yu)