THE United States government, through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), launched the Philippines Sustainable Interventions for Biodiversity, Oceans, and Landscapes (SIBOL) project that will support the sustainable management of the country’s natural resources and combat environmental crimes.
The five-year, P1.1 billion ($22 million) project will provide support to the Philippine government to achieve its goals of improving natural resource governance and stimulating public and private investments, leading to greater ecosystem stability and inclusive green growth. USAID will work closely with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and the Department of Agriculture’s Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources to implement the SIBOL project.
“Effective conservation management and measurement of the value of natural resources contribute to the Philippines’ economic development and environmental resilience,” explained Lawrence Hardy II, Mission Director of USAID Philippines. “Through SIBOL, USAID is pleased to support the Philippines’ efforts to conserve the country’s rich biodiversity while improving the livelihoods of Filipinos whose incomes depend upon these natural resources.”
RTI International, a U.S.-based nonprofit organization, will lead the implementation of the SIBOL project, building on its three decades of experience providing technical assistance, institutional strengthening, programmatic support, and research in a variety of sectors in the Philippines. The Center for Conservation Innovations, Forest Foundation Philippines, Internews, Zoological Society of London, and the Resources, Environment, and Economics Center for Studies (REECS), comprise the consortium partnering with RTI.
DENR Undersecretary for Policy, Planning, and International Affairs Juan Miguel T. Cuna welcomed this important partnership with USAID. “Ensuring ecosystem integrity and human well-being are among the key priorities of DENR,” he said. “We look forward to partnering with USAID in advancing our goals of environmental sustainability and strengthening DENR’s capacity to combat environmental criminals, enhance the adaptive capacities of communities against natural disasters, as well as improve the economic conditions of affected local people,” he added.
Since 2014, USAID has provided more than Php5 billion ($100 million) in assistance to the Philippine government in conserving the country’s biodiversity and protecting its landscapes and seascapes.
: “We have no choice but to adapt to the new normal. The soonest time possible, the better. We have to act decisively. Not tomorrow, but today.“