THE Philippines is ready and able to go for the global “30×30” target as part of its commitment to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), an official of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) said.
Theresa Tenazas, one of the country’s delegates and one of three chief negotiators at the ongoing UN Biodiversity Conference in Montreal, Canada, told the BusinessMirror in a telephone interview that the Philippines, one of the mega-diverse countries in the world but also a biodiversity hotspot, is on track in protecting and conserving its rich biodiversity.
Tenazas is the officer-in-charge of the Wildlife Resources Division of the DENR’s Biodiversity Management Bureau (BMB).
“The Philippine delegation is here to negotiate a legally binding agreement for the preservation of at least 30 percent of the land and ocean on the planet by 2030,” Tenazas told the BusinessMirror.
According to Tenazas, the economic benefits of conserving “30×30” are strong. An independent study prepared by more than 100 economists and experts found that meeting the 30 percent target will generate financial and ecosystem services benefits at least five times the cost.
She added that the Philippines stand to benefit in meeting the “30 x 30” target, being a country besieged by natural calamities. The Philippines receives an average of 20 typhoons every year. It is also vulnerable to climate change-triggered extreme weather events and impacts like drought, storm surge and sea-level rise.
The Philippines is the first member-country in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) to officially support the global target. The latter is one of the goals that will be decided upon at the 15th Conference of the Parties (COP 15), which is referred to as the “Paris Agreement” for nature and people.
The Philippines has recently joined Cambodia, Japan, India, Bhutan, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Papua New Guinea and the Maldives as Asian members of the “High Ambition Coalition (HAC) for Nature and People.”
“As a member of the [HAC], we will definitely support and pursue the 30 x 30, (targets),” Tenazas said.
Co-chaired by Costa Rica, France and the United Kingdom, the HAC is an intergovernmental coalition of more than 100 countries that have committed to championing the “30×30” target.
The HAC eyes to help confront an escalating crisis facing the natural world that threatens up to one million species with extinction within decades.
The Philippines boasts of having a good number of protected and conserved areas in the Asean. It also has 10 Asean Heritage Parks which represents the so-called “cream of the crop” of protected areas in the region.
Establishing protected and conserved areas are among the most effective ways to prevent the destruction of wildlife habitat, which is the biggest driver of biodiversity loss around the world.
The DENR, the state agency mandated to manage the country’s natural wealth, is also required to implement the National Integrated Protected Areas System (Nipas) Act and the Expanded-Nipas, the Philippine Wildlife Act, National Caves Act, among other environmental laws.
Scientific evidence shows that conserving at least 30 percent of the planet’s land and the ocean is crucial in addressing global biodiversity loss on top of storing carbon, preventing future pandemics, bolstering economic growth, increasing fisheries’ production and advancing Indigenous rights.
With Tenazas are fellow negotiators lawyer Rosette S. Ferrer and Jorace Tupas, DENR Undersecretary Ernesto D. Adobo Jr. is their adviser. Ferrer is also OIC chief of the DENR’s Legal Research and Opinion Division.
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