In observance of this year’s International Biological Diversity (IBD) on May 22, the Climate Change Commission (CCC) called on national and local authorities to strictly implement laws for the conservation of Philippine biodiversity, such as the Wildlife Resources Conservation and Protection Act of 2001 and the National Integrated Protected Areas System (NIPAS) Act of 1992.
With the theme of “Celebrating 25 Years of Action for Biodiversity”, this year’s IBD coincides with the 25th anniversary of the entry into force of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and highlights the progress made in the achievement of its objectives at the national and global levels.
“As the inevitable impacts of climate change are becoming more and more intense, the need for adaptation measures through our laws and other initiatives has also become more urgent. The Philippines is a mega biodiverse country, with millions of Filipinos dependent on our rich natural resources. It is therefore an imperative for us to build the resilience of our biodiversity against climate and disaster impacts,” said Climate Change Secretary Emmanuel De Guzman.
De Guzman also placed importance the value of convergence among various governance spheres at all levels and sectors in ensuring that our biodiversity, natural resources, ecosystems, and protected areas are sustainably developed and managed.
De Guzman also supported the call of Senator Loren Legarda to implement Ecosystems-based Adaptation (EbA), which includes the sustainable management, conservation, and restoration ecosystems, in order to enhance the resilience of our biodiversity against the impacts of climate change.
Among these EbA practices include the maintenance and/or restoration of mangroves and other coastal wetlands to reduce flooding and erosion; sustainable management of upland wetlands and floodplains for maintenance of water flow and quality; conservation and restoration of forests to stabilize land slopes and regulate water flows; establishment of diverse agroforestry systems to cope with increased risk from changed climatic conditions; and the conservation of agrobiodiversity to provide specific gene pools for crop and livestock adaptation to climate change.
“Let us consider the case of Boracay, which was once considered as one of the world’s most beautiful islands but has fallen under serious threat because of human degradation and climate change. With the strong resolve from our government, we are slowly rebuilding Boracay back to its pristine state. When our country succeeds in enforcing our laws and maximizing our action in protecting our environment and addressing climate change, we can be certain that the Philippines will remain a natural wonder in the years and generations to come,” De Guzman concluded.