While borne out of a highly participatory process involving national and local governments, civil society, academe, and the private sector, the implementation of PBSAP and especially the allocation of funds, depend on a clear policy formulation, sustained awareness raising, and integration in related planning process.
Strategic Goal A of the Aichi Biodiversity Targets addresses “the underlying causes of biodiversity loss by mainstreaming biodiversity across government and society”. Specifically, Target 2 of the Aichi Targets indicates that “By 2020, at the latest, biodiversity values have been integrated into national and local development and poverty reduction strategies and planning processes and are being incorporated into national accounting, as appropriate, and reporting systems.” The Philippine Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan (PBSAP) was formulated and formally adopted by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) in June 2016 through an administrative order (i.e., DAO 2016-12). DAO 2016-12 cited a number of Government issued Executive Orders and Presidential Proclamations that provide the legal basis for mainstreaming PBSAP across national and local government agencies, including Government Owned and Controlled Corporations (GOCCs) and the Academe.
To achieve the Aichi Target on mainstreaming, on-going efforts are being done thru the Biodiversity Management Bureau (BMB) of DENR and the project management unit of the NBSAP project. At the national level, NBSAP targets and indicators are being integrated into the Philippine Development Plan 2017-2022 and the Sustainable Development Goals (i.e., SDGs 2, 11, 13,14, 15, and 17) through participation in several meetings and workshops. At the local level, the Palawan Council on Sustainable Development (PCSD) developed its own local biodiversity strategy and action plan and called it the Palawan Sustainable Development Strategy and Action Plan (PSDSAP), which was anchored on the PBSAP.
A civil society-led movement called Zero Extreme Poverty 2030 participated in by sectoral groups, civil society organizations, non-governmental organizations, business, academe and media, organizations from government, is formulating a 15-year Agenda to eradicate poverty and inequality in the country. One of the eight themes in the agenda is environment and with the 20 targets identified in the PBSAP, members belonging to this theme identified activities that they can contribute to and the specific organizations that can and will work on these agreed activities for each target.
Alternatively, the implementation of the PBSAP has been included in the Civil Society Organization (CSO) Development and Reform Agenda for 2016-2019 which is a set of proposed priority actions in the first three years of the newly elected President of the Philippines and the national government agencies. In 2009, in midst of a global economic crisis, mal-governance across all levels of the country and the clockwork devastation brought about by extreme climate change, CODE-NGO and many other CSOs put forward a Development and Reform Agenda (DRA) identifying priority actions in the hope that these will guide the succeeding administration in steering the country towards democratization and development. This agenda was based on four pillars: (a) Ensuring Empowerment and Democratization, (b) Reducing Poverty and Inequality, (c) Building Peace and (d) Promoting a Sustainable Economy and Environment. Sectors have joined hands since and continue to cooperate in pushing for transparency in people’s participation in governance, building and maintaining peace, improving access to social services and the fight against corruption.
At present, BMB-DENR’s priority programs are anchored on the PBSAP.
Mainstreaming the PBSAP targets and indicators into national and local development and poverty reduction strategies and planning processes as well as into national accounting and reporting systems makes biodiversity a priority in national development concerns and will draw attention especially from the policy makers. Mainstreaming biodiversity into national decision-making processes will enable the country to assess the impacts of biodiversity loss, trade-offs and facilitate greater coordination among national and local government agencies.
Biodiversity has been less of a priority in terms of the country’s development agenda. One indicator is the budget of the natural resources and environment sector which consistently constitutes % of the total national budget from 2010-2013 (UNDP BIOFIN, 2016). Another is the low awareness of stakeholders, government agencies, civil society organizations, academe and other institutions concerned on the value of biodiversity and the benefits it provides. To address this, there should be a conducive policy environment for the implementation of the PBSAP and increased investment for biodiversity, including strong advocacy to ensure that all relevant stakeholders participate in the full and effective implementation of policies particularly the PBSAP. Mainstreaming PBSAP targets and indicators into national and local processes enables greater policy support for biodiversity conservation through the implementation of the PBSAP and greater investments.
- Updated the PBSAP and ensured that the updating process is a widely consultative process and participated in by multi-sectoral agencies and organizations to promote ownership of the plan and its implementation
- Issuance of DENR Administrative Order 2016-12 adopting the PBSAP and authorizing BMB-DENR to “coordinate the implementation and mainstreaming of the PBSAP with the plans and programs of concerned national government agencies and local government units, including government-owned and controlled corporations and government financial institutions, and state universities and colleges.”
- Ensure integration of PBSAP targets and indicators in the new PDP and the formulation of SDG indicators as well as CSO-led action plans and agenda
- Implement awareness raising activities (consultation meetings and roundtable discussions, cascading workshops, press conferences, press releases, opinion editorials, social media visibility, etc.) to identify new biodiversity champions and allies and strengthen current partnerships between and among stakeholders
- Identification and pilot testing of resource mobilization strategies for the implementation of the PBSAP
- BMB and the PBSAP PMO were given an opportunity to localize the PBSAP by providing technical assistance to the PCSD in formulating their version of the PBSAP. The coordination for this was made easier given that the former Assistant Director of BMB was appointed as Executive Director of the Palawan Council for Sustainable Development (PCSD)
- Including the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA), the country’s central planning agency, in the PBSAP updating process was a strategy to enable mainstreaming of the PBSAP into the Philippine Development Plan as well as in the SDGs and enlisting their assistance and support in the implementation of the PBSAP. Their active involvement was a good opportunity to strengthen biodiversity conservation advocacy within the government agenda at all levels of administration.
- The regional consultations during the updating process were excellent opportunities for raising awareness on biodiversity conservation as the participants were a diverse mix of representatives from various government agencies and sectors of society, most of whom work outside of biodiversity conservation.
- Prior to the issuance of DAO 2016-12 adopting the Plan, there was lack support/buy-in on the PBSAP given the varying levels of appreciation and understanding on biodiversity conservation by various offices and bureaus of the DENR. The contentious issue that prevented the PBSAP adoption by the DENR was how the PBSAP deals with the management of key biodiversity areas (KBA). Raising this issue came late in the Project timetable thus, had compelled the Project to draft a Memorandum Order for the Secretary’s signature clarifying the management of KBAs. There was a substantial amount of support that has been generated from other agencies and sectors but extra effort was employed to obtain the same level of support from the DENR as it was viewed by a few that it was a duplication of already existing action plans. For example, the Philippine Council for Sustainable Development extended an invitation for the PBSAP to be presented and recommended for adoption in one of its regular meetings. To address this issue, the PMO conducted several small meetings/consultations/round table discussions (RTD) with concerned DENR bureaus and attached agencies to raise awareness on the PBSAP and explain the context on how the concept of KBA was used in the Plan. While the current DENR administration has been very vocal in supporting biodiversity conservation, continuous and extensive social marketing of the PBSAP within the DENR as a whole as well as with other stakeholders will be pursued to generate support and mainstream biodiversity conservation in their respective plans and processes.
- Mobilizing resources for PBSAP implementation is crucial, thus, BMB is now working closely with the Department of Budget and Management and the Department of Finance in this aspect. By doing this, awareness on biodiversity and its role in national development is highlighted in these government agencies.
- Although a DENR administrative Order has been issued, the issuance of an Executive Order should be pursued to ensure that all levels of governance will take part in the execution of the PBSAP in their respective areas of jurisdiction. This issuance will serve as the legal reference of all relevant agencies other than the DENR in providing investments in the full implementation of PBSAP.
- The Provincial Government of Palawan has developed its own biodiversity strategy and action plan (i.e., PSDSAP) which enables for greater appreciation and ownership of the plan at the provincial level.
- Mainstreaming PBSAP into national, regional and local development plans allows for the implementation through existing institutional and coordination mechanisms and mandatory allocation of budget among offices across institutional levels • Contributes to the attainment of the PDP, Aichi Targets, and SDGs
- BMB adopted the PBSAP priority programs as the Bureau’s priority programs
- Anchoring on the PBSAP targets and actions, the Environment cluster of the Zero Extreme Poverty 2030 developed a concrete action plan to address challenges on poverty and environment and have committed to help by identifying the activities they can implement and areas of collaboration with government agencies
- Mainstreaming PBSAP into the CSO Development and Reform Agenda for 2016-2019 ensures that the CSOs will help implement the PBSAP actions and activities and that it is one of the priorities