DENR, USAID planning biodiversity, water conservation projects

DENR, USAID planning biodiversity, water conservation projects

THE Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) said over the weekend that it has partnered with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) to implement P1.97 billion worth of projects that aim to protect biodiversity and improve access to water.

Last week, the department signed the memorandums of understanding (MoU) with the USAID to embark on the P1.1-billion Sustainable Interventions for Biodiversity, Oceans and Landscapes (SIBOL) project and the P870-million Safe Water initiative, according to a statement issued Sunday.

SIBOL hopes to improve governance over natural resources, curb environmental crime and encourage public and private sector investment in conservation efforts. Meanwhile, the Safe Water initiative aims to increase access to resilient water supply and sanitation, improve management of water resources, and enhance regulation.

The DENR-USAID partnership for both projects will run for five years.

“Given the current pandemic, the DENR is committed more than ever to address the country’s environmental challenges.  We can easily attain this goal if we have partners like USAID,” Environment Secretary Roy A. Cimatu was quoted as saying.

The DENR will be in charge of delivering the programs’ results, while the USAID will provide technical assistance for SIBOL and Safe Water.

The DENR said its Biodiversity Management Bureau and Forest Management Bureau, various regional DENR field offices, the National Economic and Development Authority and the National Water Resources Board will carry out the projects in the next five years.

SIBOL and Safe Water are among the projects funded by the P7.25 billion provided under a USAID-Philippines agreement seeking to enhance ecosystems and community resilience in the Philippines. — Angelica Y. Yang

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