THE United States Agency for International Development (USAID), through its Sustainable Interventions for Biodiversity, Oceans, and Landscapes (SIBOL) project, trained nearly 275 government staff and researchers from Philippine public universities on how to properly account for environment-provided benefits. The recently completed three-month training supports the Philippine government’s work to promote economic growth through the conservation of the country’s ecosystems.
Natural resource managers and researchers from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources, National Economic and Development Authority, Palawan Council for Sustainable Development, and six public universities learned various methods for measuring the value of benefits derived from the environment such as food, water and fuel, soil conservation, and coastal protection.
“When we have competent natural resource managers who are able to account for and monitor the economic value of ecosystem services in the Philippines, the country is in a better position to understand the drivers behind natural resource depletion and develop necessary interventions that will preserve the country’s biodiversity, oceans, and landscapes,” said USAID Philippines Environment Office Director John Edgar.
The training serves as a foundation for incorporating environmental valuation into the design of economic plans at the local level. “The knowledge and skills that you have learned in this activity will be applied in the actual implementation of natural capital accounting activities. These include updating the country’s asset accounts, or the value of resources found in Philippine forests, coral reefs, and fisheries,” said DENR Undersecretary Edilberto Leonardo.
According to the World Conservation Monitoring Centre, the Philippines is one of 17 megadiverse countries in the world, which account for 70 percent of the entire planet’s species of flora and fauna.