DENR to pursue green recovery, build sustainable communities

January 22, 2023, 5:01 pm

MANILA – The Philippines, through the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), will build resilient, inclusive and sustainable communities post-pandemic as it prepares its portfolio of environmental projects for consideration under the 8th funding replenishment of the Global Environment Facility (GEF-8).

The Philippines is allocated over USD52 million in funding support, the country’s largest allocation so far.

DENR Secretary Antonia Loyzaga, in her welcome remarks during the kick-off ceremony of the two-day GEF National Multi-Stakeholder Dialogue in Taguig City on Jan. 18-19, said the Philippines continues to face more complex challenges toward achieving ecosystem integrity and enhancing climate and disaster resilience.

Loyzaga considers the holding of the GEF National Multi-Stakeholder Dialogue as an opportunity to develop projects that respond to the country's environmental challenges and priorities.

“The healthy planet, healthy people framework, as the heart of the overall global GEF-8 architecture, emphasizes the critical connection between humanity and the environment – thus the importance of urgent environmental threats reduction and protection of our natural resources to improve human well-being (cannot be overemphasized),” said Loyzaga, a climate and disaster resilience advocate.

Before the dialogue, the GEF Secretariat paid a courtesy visit on the DENR Secretary on Jan. 17.

Loyzaga said the Philippines deeply values the consultative process in designing integrated approaches necessary to address the intersectionality of development, climate change, biodiversity, and disaster resilience and adopt a comprehensive risk management approach that integrates a system lens and optimizes the resources available to improve quality of life, which the DENR chief said “will ensure that no community and ecosystem is left behind.”

She said the Philippines shall work with the GEF in strengthening national commitments and institutionalizing capacities to translate these commitments into meaningful actions to support sustainable development since the GEF-8 calls for a systematic and transformational strategy that responds to the urgency of raising global climate ambition.

In GEF-8, member countries are encouraged to move more their programming through 11 Integrated Programs, including food systems, landscape restoration, clean and healthy ocean, circular solutions to plastic pollution, elimination of hazardous chemicals from supply chains, net-zero, nature-positive accelerator, sustainable cities, greening infrastructure development and wildlife conservation for development.

The multi-stakeholder dialogue was designed to stir discussions toward finalizing the Philippines GEF-8 portfolio in accordance with the GEF-8 strategic positioning and programming directions.

Following a whole-of-society approach, the projects under GEF-8 will be implemented by national government agencies, local government units, development partners, non-government and people’s organizations, scientific institutions and academe and other stakeholders during the four-year cycle covering 2023 to 2026.

The implementation shall be in coordination with the DENR’s Foreign Assisted and Special Projects Service and the Office of the Undersecretary for Finance, Information Systems and Climate Change, the country’s national focal point for the GEF.

By implementing these projects, the DENR hopes to advance the country's efforts to address environmental challenges by tackling the drivers of ecological degradation, supporting integrated approaches, ensuring that programs are inclusive and prioritizing the most vulnerable, strengthening the country's commitments to multilateral environmental agreements and contributing to global environmental benefits.

The GEF-funded projects are expected to realign private sector capital to achieve a wider scale and impact empowering local communities to harness their resources and capacities to protect livelihoods, uplift socio-economic conditions and enhance resilience.

Since 1992, the GEF has become one of the major driving forces supporting the country to achieve global environmental benefits embodied in various international environmental agreements.

In the Philippines, a total of 128 GEF-funded projects across the five focal areas of biodiversity, climate change mitigation, land degradation, chemicals and waste and international waters have been approved since the pilot phase up until its Seventh Replenishment Cycle (GEF-7). (PNA)