IPs To Get Incentives for Protecting Forests  

Dr. Klaus Schmitt presented the info graphics of the REDD PLUS Project during a press conference in the Provincial Capitol on April 26.

DAVAO ORIENTAL- Indigenous Peoples Communities in three highly-forested towns in the province, which are actively helping in biodiversity conservation will receive monetary incentives through the National REDD PLUS System Project of the German Federal Ministry in partnership with the Provincial Government.

During the project’s Closing Program on April 26, Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Office (ENRO) Head, Dolores Valdesco, said that the towns of Caraga, Manay, and Tarragona were chosen as the project recipients in consideration to contiguity, total land area, and large number of IP inhabitants.

The officials behind the National REDD PLUS Philippine System Project (From left to right) Principal Advisor Dr. Klaus Schmitt, Provincial ENRO Head Dolores Valdesco, Chief Advisor Dr. Jurgen Schade, and Senior Advisor Forester Shali Antonio.

With the German Government serving as the principal funding institution for the project, various agencies are among the active partners in its implementation, namely: the Municipal Environment and Natural Resources Office, Department of Interior and Local Government, Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resource, National Commission on Indigenous Peoples, Philippine Eagle Foundation. These agencies are driven by the program’s vision of “providing value to forests by offering incentives for developing countries to reduce emissions from forested lands and invest in low-carbon paths to sustainable development.”

“The main purpose of the project is climate change mitigation and adaptation as the Philippines ranks fifth in the Climate Risk Index identified by the German Watch in 2017,” said Dr. Klaus Schmitt, the Principal Advisor of the National REDD PLUS Philippine System Project.

The forest area in Manay which is one of the protected area under REDD PLUS Project as it has contributed to more than seven million tons of carbon stock, as shown by the result of Forest Resource Assessment.

“Sustainable forest management is a key element of reducing greenhouse gas emissions and you can stop it at the local level. This initiative makes a contribution to eventually formulating a national policy because Philippines intends to contribute 70% greenhouse gas emission reduction and out of this 70%, 58% can be achieved through the forest sector,” Schmitt explained.

A project that goes beyond economic assistance, Schmitt said that this scheme promotes livelihood sustainability among its beneficiaries. “This program is not a dole-out system, therefore it ensures continuity of the structure,” Schmitt added, citing the capacity building and enhancement training conducted by the Provincial ENRO to the recipients.

Dr. Klaus Schmitt is one of the speakers during the closing program of the REDD PLUS Project in Blue Bliss Beach Resort on April 26, 2017.

Dr. Jurgen Schade, Chief Advisor of REDD PLUS Philippine System Project, said that the scheme governs the action of IPs on their ancestral domains as he describes IP communities as “homogenous” who “do not have rules and regulations how to manage their resources”.

“This collaboration with the provincial government provides opportunity for both government and non-government organizations, and the IP communities in achieving global initiative which is the climate change adaptation and mitigation. Carbon stock must be looked at from national scheme. It’s not area based, but it pays if all areas preserve its forest,” Forester Shali Antonio said, the Senior Advisor of the REDD PLUS Project.

As the province is fully prepared for REDD PLUS strategy, Governor Nelson L. Dayanghirang said in a speech delivered for him by Chief of Staff Ednar Dayanghirang that the project is a good opportunity in protecting and conserving the province’s forest resources. Governor Dayanghirang has been continuously pouring support in continuing implementation of the REDD PLUS project after it was launched during the previous administration under Former Governor now First District Representative Cong. Corazon N. Malanyaon.

“This is an opportunity for us to enjoy the ecological services of the forest that we are preserving– the carbon and non-carbon benefits. Carbon benefits because we may avail of carbon funds when the appropriate policy for this undertaking is finalized; non-carbon benefits when we will be able to harness the ecological services of our forest resources as opportunity for livelihood, such as ecological tourism, agro-forestry production and others,” he said.

An environment advocate himself, the governor further vows to support the other eight component LGUs in formulating their own forest land use plan in support to the said greenhouse gas emission and biodiversity conservation project. By Riza M. Golez

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