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"Partnerships for Biodiversity Conservation: Mainstreaming in Local Agricultural Landscapes" otherwise known as Biodiversity Partnerships Projects (BPP)

By Engr. Evangeline F. Dacumos – December 03, 2012

The Biodiversity Partnerships Projects (BPP) is an initiative of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources-Protected Area and Wildlife Bureau (DENR-PAWB) and the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) funded by UNDP-Global Environment Facility for a period of six (6) years (2010-2016). The project partner-agencies include the Department of Agriculture (DA), Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), National Commission of Indigenous People (NCIP), Department of Tourism (DOT), Philippine Commission on Women (PCW), League of Provinces, Cities and Municipalities, Conservation International (CI) Philippines, Haribon Foundation, Flora and Fauna International (FFI), Philippine Eagle Foundation (PEF), Lake Mainit Development Alliance (LMDA), and Philippine Biodiversity Conservation Foundation, Inc. (BCFI). The Project aims to assist Local Government Units (LGUs) in critical eco-regions of the Philippines to better incorporate the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity resources in their development planning systems and economic growth strategies.

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BPP Launching cum Consultation Workshop in Sablayan, Occidental Mindoro
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BPP DA-TWG met with RED Lucrecio R. Alviar, Jr. and staff at the DA-RFU II, Tuguegarao City
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BPP Consultation Workshop in Sta. Ana, Cagayan
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BPP DA-TWG and DA staff after the BPP Consultation Workshop and Project Site Reconnaissance in Cagayan Valley

Along with mining and logging, agriculture expansion has been noted by the 4th National Report to the Convention on Biodiversity, as one of the major causes of forest fragmentation and biodiversity loss. With this observation, the role of the agriculture sector is fully recognized to contribute in providing long-term solutions and arresting these environmental threats by making certain activities in the production landscape to conserve species assemblages and maintain ecosystem functions. Thus, the DA and its concerned offices and bureaus are considered partners in the implementation of this Project particularly in achieving a national level policy, program and technical capacity to support biodiversity-friendly agricultural practices. Likewise, the Local Government Units (LGUs) play an important role in determining the direction of resource use and conservation within their jurisdictions.

The eight (8) pilot area coverage of the DA Component in the BPP is confined to areas around and within identified Protected Areas (PAs) and Key Biodiversity Areas (KBAs) of the DENR, being the habitat of threatened and endemic species which are globally significant for biodiversity conservation. These are: (1) Luzon – Magapit Protected Landscape/Northeastern Cagayan Key Biodiversity Area and Quirino Protected Lanscape; (2) Mindoro-Mt. Siburan; (3) Palawan- Malampaya Sound; (4) Negros Panay- Central Panay Mountains and Northern Negros Natural Park; (5) Mindanao – Lake Mainit and Mt. Hamiguitan.

The DENR-PAWB established a Project Management Unit (PMU) to oversee the project implementation. On the part of the DA, the Undersecretary for Policy and Planning directly supervises the performance and completion of the BPP and seats in the Project Board. A BPP DA- Technical Working Group (TWG) was created to spearhead the project implementation and coordinate with other DA concerned agencies, bureaus and regional offices, as well as with DENR- PAWB. It is chaired by Engr. Samuel M. Contreras of BSWM, co-chaired by Assistant Director Evelyn A. Esquejo and Ms Amparo C. Ampil of Agricultural Training Institute (ATI) and DA-Policy Research Service (DA-PRS), respectively. The members are representatives from concerned DA offices and bureaus such as ATI, BAFPS, BAR, BAI, BFAR, BPI, BSWM, DA-Planning Service, DA- FOS-SPCMAD and DA-PRS.

The expected outputs from the DA include: (1) Development of a national policy for biodiversity-friendly agricultural practices within and around the above project areas: (2) Enhanced capacity of the DA at the national and regional levels to provide technical support to LGU MAOs in biodiversity-friendly practices; (3) Enhanced DA-BAFPS existing certification schemes; (4) Conservation and utilization of indigenous crops through a national policy and program; and (5) DA protocols for in-situ/on farm conservation by the BAR-BAR in partnerships with LGUs, academe, research institutions and farmers.

The initial activities conducted since the inception are the following: (1) National & Regional Orientation on the BPP for DA relevant attached agencies and bureaus, identified focal persons per concerned DA Regional Field Units (DA RFUs) and provinces; (2) Development of workshop design focused on policies, practices, and current initiatives/capability interventions undertaken to promote biodiversity-friendly agricultural practices by different governmental (both national and local levels) and non-governmental organizations; (3) Enumeration of initial relevant agricultural practices; (4) Compilation of indigenous crops; (5) Development of templates on policies, good practices, capability development and training needs, certification schemes and inventory of indigenous crops to harmonize documentation processes and to facilitate workshops in the region; (6) Project launching cum workshops on biodiversity-friendly agricultural practices in Sablayan, Occidental Mindoro; Sta Ana, Cagayan; and Mati, Davao del Norte. These activities will pave the way for the successful implementation of the Project through the convergence of partners and the local stakeholders. The target beneficiaries and on-site partners of the Project are the Provincial and Municipal LGUs, Indigenous People’s Groups, local communities and other local stakeholders.

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