Groups assail corruption as major factor in environmental degradation
Civil society groups consisting of non-government organizations (NGOs), grassroots and indigenous peoples (IPS) movements, youth and women’s groups, and small farmer and fisherfolks cooperatives cited ineffective governance and government corruption as gravely exacerbating the alarming rate of environmental destruction.
This, as they called for a consolidation of efforts in protecting the rich biodiversity of the Philippines.
Together with national government agencies and local government units, national and international development agencies, media, academia and the business sector, these civil society groups recently attended the four-day Small Grants Programme (SGP) National Conference.
During the event, a manifesto that is anchored on several principles foremost of which is that a livable, healthy and climate resilient environment is a human right was also signed.
Around 250 delegates signed this manifesto which called for, among others, the effective and full implementation and enforcement of the Republic Act 11038: Expanded National Integrated Protected Areas System Act of 2018 (ENIPAS), and Wildlife Conservation Management Act (RA 9147) by national government agencies and local government units, which should guarantee the rights of indigenous and local communities to the management of their conservation areas and to participate in the management of NIPAS.
The manifesto also cited the importance of Biodiversity-Friendly Enterprise (BDFE) as a social enterprise model that promotes the sustainable use of biological wealth and contributes to increasing biodiversity. It must be supported through the provision of free assisted developmental recognition scheme which incorporates support on value chain development, feasibility/valuation study, marketing linkage, and policy development.
“Government should increase its investments in biodiversity friendly livelihoods to support communities in biodiversity conservation areas. A simpler and free certification scheme will boost community-based BDFEs,” the joint statement said.
Moving forward, they said the government should increase investment in research, studies, projects and programs on biodiversity assessment, conservation, ecosystem goods and services, among others.