BEFORE the lockdowns, the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) found that one million species are at risk of extinction.
They ranked the main factors from highest impact as follows: changes in land and sea use, exploitation of organisms, climate change, pollution and invasive alien species.
The intertwined web that sustains humans, plants, and animals is at risk of unraveling in a matter of decades.
In November 2020, US former senator Russ Feingold wrote to Senate President Pro Tempore Loren Legarda seeking help regarding the Campaign for Nature, an initiative to protect 30% of the earth’s land and 30% of the earth’s water by 2030.
After several exchanges, Feingold met with Legarda on May 4, 2021, and the latter went on to a full-on campaign with social media, an episode of Stories for a Better Normal, and by reaching out to agencies from then for the Philippines to get on board the campaign.
As of August 2021, the response of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) to the campaign was conditional.
It was only in December 2021 that the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) communicated officially that the Philippines was fully on board the High Ambition Coalition (HAC).
In a speech in 2021, Legarda stated that the demise of one species may not be felt directly. Still, its intricate connection with other species in the wild will reverberate throughout the food chain.
Multiple extinctions will lead to ecosystem spasm, where chains of extinctions will leave the ecosystems we depend on gasping for life.
She also emphasized the role of indigenous peoples, who are owners and nurturers of much of the remaining natural areas in the country, in our attempts to reach these goals.
She said, “Nearly 20% of our lands in the Philippines are covered by ancestral title. Not coincidentally, these are the same lands that have remained wild and natural, the natural capital on which a lot of our lives depend.”
“Armed with the latest science enriched by indigenous knowledge systems, we must deepen our understanding of our ecosystems and what levels of change they can sustain.
We need to ensure equitable access and benefits associated with biodiversity,” she continued.
In a historic turn of events, the Kunming Montreal Framework was reached under the Convention on Biodiversity in October 2022, adopting the 30 x 30 goals, cementing its place among important global targets.
The Philippine delegation worked hard to ensure the Framework contained 30 x 30 goals.
On September 1, 2023, the Philippines launched its initial roadmap to contribute to the 30 x 30 goals.
The DENR also called for comments on a draft order for other effective area-based conservation measures to meet these goals on lands not entirely under DENR’s jurisdiction.
“I am glad we have taken this seriously enough since I made the call to the agencies to make commitments to the High Ambition Coalition.
We have to acknowledge that unless drastic changes are made, the climate and biodiversity feedback loops will threaten what we are trying to protect.
Our battles will be to keep defending what we designate because society still runs on measures of success and development that do not accord enough value to them,” Legarda said during the 1st National Workshop and High-Level Launch of 30 x 30.