Philippines Biodiversity and Watersheds Improved for Stronger Economy and Ecosystem Resilience (B+WISER) Program

Philippines Biodiversity and Watersheds Improved for Stronger Economy and Ecosystem Resilience (B+WISER) Program

Natural resources provide goods and services needed for economic growth and human development and welfare. They provide food, water, energy sources, income from nature-based tourism, raw materials for shelter and medicines, cleaner air and even help in flood control. Watersheds are one of the country's key sources of natural capital.

In 2010, the country's environment and natural resources sector contributed 16 percent to the country’s Gross Domestic Product. Critical watersheds support various hydro and geothermal power facilities that supply at least 35 percent of the country's energy requirements. Philippine forests also provide timber and non-timber forest products totaling US$100 million in net benefits yearly.

Globally known for its rich biodiversity, the Philippines has more than 20,000 endemic species of plants and animals. Many of these are found in the country's forests that are being depleted at an alarming rate, threatening the Philippine economy and human well-being.

KEY EXPECTED RESULTS

Designed by USAID in collaboration with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, B+WISER expects to deliver the following results by 2017: • Improve management of 780,000 hectares of forests/watersheds; • Place 78,000 hectares of forests, including 6,000 hectares of mangroves under forest restoration initiatives; • Enhance biodiversity, forest and watershed conservation monitoring; • Leverage $5 million from public-private partnerships (PPP); • Reduce 3.4 million metric tons of greenhouse gases (GHGs); and sequester 1.9 million metric tons of GHGs.

PROGRAM SITES

The B+WISER Program covers seven priority protected areas/watersheds:

Northern Sierra Madre Natural Park (Region 2); Kaliwa-Upper Marikina Watersheds (Region 4a); Naujan Lake National Park (Region 4b); Quinali “A” Watershed (Region 5); Bago Watershed Forest Reserve (Region 6); Mt. Kitanglad Range Natural Park (Region 10); and Mt. Apo Natural Park (Region 11/12).

KEY ACTIVITIES

Conduct of ecological surveys for identification of high conservation value areas. B+WISER will conduct ecological surveys in various sites to validate initial assessments of habitat value. This will enable B+WISER to present a consolidated ecological assessment review to contribute to science-driven policy reform interventions in the enhancement of management of protected areas.

Enhancement of natural resource management and local development and implementation plans. B+WISER will facilitate the enhancement of existing general management plans for protected areas and watersheds as well as local development and implementation plans in priority sites based on the results and findings of the different assessments to be conducted by the Program.

Formulation of forest restoration plans and initiation of the implementation of these plans. The Program will help formulate forest restoration plans that include activities aimed at reducing forest degradation and in support of Program initiatives on REDD+ readiness for both the terrestrial forest ecosystems and mangrove areas. Not only do these activities provide intrinsic ecological and carbon sequestration benefits, but they also, particularly in the case of mangroves, contribute to disaster risk reduction. Efforts will be aligned with DENR’s reforestation efforts, particularly the National Greening Program.

Stimulation of incentives and private sector investments for biodiversity conservation and sustainable forest management. B+WISER intends to play an active role in stimulating incentives for biodiversity conservation and sustainable forest management by assisting in the formulation and passage of key protected area financing policies: crafting the Implementing Guidelines of Republic Act (RA) No. 10629, and adoption and approval of an Executive Order to institutionalize and mainstream Payment for Ecosystem Services in policy and investment programs. RA 10629 amends Section 16 of the National Integrated Protected Areas System Law by providing for the retention by the Protected Area Management Board of 75 percent of revenues accruing to Integrated Protected Areas Fund. The Program also aims to tap the private sector through establishing PPP arrangements in the context of natural resource management, such as joint ventures in ecotourism activities.

Development of demonstration sites for REDD+ readiness. B+WISER will develop the Northern Sierra Madre Natural Park (Region 2) and the Upper Marikina/ Kaliwa Watersheds (Region 4a) into demonstration sites for REDD+ process implementation. The Program will work closely with the DENR’s REDD+ Unit and other REDD+ actors in conducting the following activities: establishment of Reference Emission Level (REL); design and implementation of a Measurement, Reporting and Verification (MRV) System; and establishment of a National Forest Monitoring System. In addition, B+WISER will also assist in building the capacities of DENR counterparts in the conduct of carbon assessments based on accepted standards.

GOAL

Contribute to improving natural and environmental resource management and reducing risks from disasters in the Philippines

PROGRAM OBJECTIVES

The B+WISER Program aims to:

1) Conserve biodiversity in forest areas; 2) Reduce forest degradation in targeted priority watersheds; 3) Build capacity to conserve biodiversity, manage forests, and support low emissions development; and, 4) Contribute to disaster risk reduction at the subnational level.

IMPLEMENTATION PERIOD
December 2012 – December 2017

Contact Information

Joseph Foltz
Acting Director, Office of Environment, Energy and Climate Change
U.S. Agency for International Development
Annex 2 Building, U.S. Embassy
1201 Roxas Boulevard 1000
Ermita, Manila
Email: jofoltz@usaid.gov

Last updated: April 28, 2014

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