P334B needed for biodiversity conservation

by Riza T. Olchondra – 10:58 PM December 13th, 2015

from Philippine Daily Inquirer

THE PHILIPPINES’ roadmap for conserving biodiversity needs P334 billion or P24 billion in financing annually over the next 13 years for critical ecosystem services.

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources-Biodiversity Management Bureau (BMB), with support from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), other national government agencies, academe, civil society and development partners, recently developed the Philippines Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan (PBSAP).

Through the UNDP’s Biodiversity Financing Initiative (BioFin), the DENR-BMB determined that the financing needed to implement the PBSAP is about $7.4 billion over the next 13 years.

This covers actions on forest, coastal and marine, inland wetlands, caves and cave systems, protected areas, invasive alien species, agrobiodiversity, access and benefit-sharing and urban biodiversity.

“This may sound like a huge impost on the budget but it really is not. It should be seen as an investment in conservation and also as an economic investment with significant financial returns to the country. It is an investment that needs to be made by both government and the private sector. This could see a minimum return of $10 billion per year from fisheries, eco-tourism and pharmaceuticals derived from genetic resources,” UNDP Philippines Country Director Titon Mitra said.

The results of the study were presented by UNDP and BMB in a briefing attended by Guillermo Zuñiga, former Minister of Finance, Republic of Costa Rica, now UNDP BioFin Team Leader in Costa Rica, and representatives from the Philippines’ Departments of Finance and Environment and Natural Resources, and the National Economic and Development Authority.

The Philippines is one of 17 mega-diverse countries, harboring more diversity of life per hectare than any other country in the world. Yet encroachment in forested areas, pollution, overfishing, poor land management practices, are leading to biodiversity loss at an alarming rate.

BioFin is a global partnership seeking to address the biodiversity finance challenge through building a sound business case for increased investment in the management of ecosystems and biodiversity. The Philippines is one of 29 countries involved in the initiative