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Bacolod City, Philippines Monday, March 26, 2018
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with Errol A. Gatumbato

Negros biodiversity confab set

Rock & Refuge

More than 200 delegates from government and nongovernment organizations and individuals are expected to attend the 1 st Negros Island Biodiversity Strategy and Action Planning Workshop, which shall be held at L’Fisher Hotel in Bacolod City on April 4-5.

Organized by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, Philippines Biodiversity Conservation Foundation Inc., and provincial governments of Negros Occidental and Negros Oriental, the confab aims to develop common strategies and action plan for the conservation and protection of the island’s biodiversity.

The USAID and the DENR’s Biodiversity Financing Initiative support this planning workshop. Some key officials of the DENR and local governments in Negros as well as prominent scientists and conservationists are expected to deliver key messages during the conference.

Negros Island has numerous sites listed as Key Biodiversity Areas of the Philippines, some of which are declared protected areas. The KBAs are sites with diverse ecosystems and habitats and contain numerous endemic species. The two provinces share boundaries of the Mount Kanla-on Natural Park and partly the Tañon Strait Protected Seascape. The protected areas solely found in Negros Oriental are the Balinsasayao Twin Lakes Natural Park and the Apo Island Protected Landscape and Seascape, while the Northern Negros Natural Park and Sagay Marine Reserve are located in Negros Occidental.

Some KBAs in Negros that are not protected areas include the Mount Talinis and Banban Forest in Negros Oriental, and the South Western Negros KBA with boundaries shared between the two provinces. The Negros Occidental Coastal Wetlands Conservation Area in southern Negros Occidental is a Wetland of International Importance under the Ramsar Convention.

Recently, the Provincial Environment Management Office of Negros Occidental has also facilitated and is still facilitating the declaration by local governments of Local Conservation Areas in the different cities and municipalities of the province. These sites include coastal and marine ecosystems, wetlands, and forest patches. On the other hand, the Philippine Reef and Rainforest Foundation Inc. is managing the biologically-important Danjugan Island in Cauayan in southern Negros Occidental. Danjugan is one of the few remaining islands with good and recovering coral reefs.

This 1 st biodiversity conference for Negros Island hopes to strengthen the protection measures of the different species, especially the endemic ones, and their corresponding habitats. The island is host to a good number of terrestrial endemic species of flora and fauna, a number of which is only found in Negros. However, many of these endemic species are already threatened from extinction in the wild and included in the Red List of Threatened Species of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature and DENR, primarily due to habitat destruction and conversion, and hunting.

It is also envision that this conference will draw up specific actions that would further contribute to the compliance of the Philippines to the Aichi Targets of the Convention on Biological Diversity of the United Nations. In Nagoya, Japan in 2010, parties to this convention adopted the world’s strategic plan for biodiversity conservation, covering 2011 to 2020.

These targets include addressing the underlying causes of biodiversity loss by mainstreaming biodiversity across government and society, reducing the direct pressures on biodiversity, and promoting sustainable use of natural resources. Other Aichi targets are the improvement of the status of biodiversity by safeguarding ecosystems, species, and genetic diversity, enhancement of benefits to all from biodiversity and ecosystem services, and the implementation of participatory planning, knowledge management, and capacity building.

The Biodiversity Management Bureau of the DENR shall similarly present the current Philippines Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan to become one of the bases in the formulation of the 1 st Negros Island Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan.

This activity is open to the public with a registration fee of P1,500 for each person, to cover four snacks and two lunches. Those interested may get in touch with Shiella Mae Olimpos (09978250195/09423774599) or Gerrie Mae Flores   (09555081030) of the PBCFI for early registration.*


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