Germany backs RP initiatives on climate change
MANILA, Philippines - Encouraged by the Philippines’ determined actions to reduce greenhouse gases and adapt to climate change, the development enterprise German Technical Cooperation (GTZ) has launched innovative environmental protection measures in the country budgeted at almost five million euros (P325 million) for the next two to three years.
GTZ is implementing the 2.7-million-euro “Climate-Relevant Modernization of the National Forest Policy and Piloting of REDD Measures in the Philippines” in partnership with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and in behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety. REDD is the acronym for “Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation,” a concept centered on providing incentives to developing countries to reduce the level of their forest losses. REDD will promote environmental, economic and social benefits while protecting the rights of indigenous peoples and other forest-dependent communities. Potential REDD pilot areas include the endangered forests in Northern Leyte’s Anonang-Lobi mountains, the Philippine Eagle’s known habitats in Samar, and the Caraga region in Mindanao. The Philippine program experience will feed its results back into the international discussions on a global mechanism for avoiding deforestation.
According to GTZ program director Dr. Walter Salzer, land use and land use changes contribute around 20 percent of global CO2 emissions, causing large-scale destruction of tropical forests. “It is essential to find incentives to halt this process and sustain the various globally relevant functions of these forests, ranging from protecting biodiversity to maintaining a healthy climate,” he explained. “REDD is a good opportunity that can be used to address an important cause of climate change in a structured way.” REDD, he added, was already a key component of German development assistance programs in Indonesia, Laos, Brazil, and other countries in Central America and Africa.
DENR and participating LGUs will provide counterpart in-kind contributions of personnel, offices, materials and various operational needs equivalent to 500,000 euros. NGOs will also be tapped to promote discussion of land and user rights, build local capacities in participatory forest protection and rehabilitation, develop local policies and agreements on forest and nature protection, implement information and awareness building campaigns, and support policy dialogues.
Aside from the REDD program, GTZ is also implementing a 2-million-euro, two-year program to support the sub-regional Asean Center for Biodiversity (ACB) based in Laguna. The German contribution will focus on enhancing ACB‘s institutional effectiveness; elaborating and institutionalizing one of ACB‘s core programs, Biodiversity and Climate Change; and launching of an ASEAN-wide communication strategy. The REDD and ACB initiatives will be synergized with ongoing German-supported programs that include the Adaptation to Climate Change and Conservation of the Biodiversity in the Philippines (ACCBio); the Environment and Rural Development Program (EnRD) involving participatory forest management and improvement of policy, legal and administrative frame conditions; and the Community Based Forest and Mangrove Management Project Panay and Negros co-managed GTZ, German development bank KfW and German Development Service (DED) that lays emphasis on the decentralization and devolution of responsibility to LGUs.