The â€œLiving Lakes, Biodiversity, and Climate Project: Stakeholder and Partners Forumâ€ was held on February 24, 2023, at the Wynwood Hotel in Ortigas Center, Pasig City. Mr. Alon J. Velasquez represented the Coastal Zone and Freshwater Ecosystems Research Division (CZFERD). There were also representatives from the Watershed and Water Resources Research Development and Extension Center (WWRRDEC), led by Center Head Helen Maddumba. The forum was organized by the Society for the Conservation of Philippine Wetlands (SCPW).
SCPW President Mr. Celestino Ulep, in his opening remarks, mentioned that the activity was in line with the celebration of World Wetlands Day and the anniversary of the signing of the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands. He also highlighted the importance of wetlands as they provide services such as food, water, habitat, and others.
The projectâ€™s objective is to ensure that the conservation and restoration of wetlands and the protection of their biodiversity are improved in the long run. To achieve this, the major activities to be conducted are capacity building activities, and the implementation of its frontrunner initiatives such as 1) Sustainable Farm Tourism in Paligui Wetlands, Candaba Pampanga, and 2) Establishment of Green Filters in Pangil River Eco Park, Pangil, Laguna. When asked about the Bureauâ€™s role in the project, SCPW Executive Director Amy M. Lecciones said that they will regularly request the technical expertise of ERDB throughout the implementation of the project which is expected to end on May 2027.
Aside from the discussions about the project, video messages from different prominent representatives of involved institutions and offices were shown. Hon. Anke Reiffenstuel, Ambassador of the Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany, stressed the significance of the participation of various stakeholders in the development of nature-based solutions and capacity building in protecting wetlands, while Ms. Marion Hammerl, President of the Global Nature Fund, talked about the importance of wetlands. Also in a video message, DENR Assistant Secretary for Policy, Planning, and Foreign Assisted and Special Projects, Marcial C. Amaro, Jr., mentioned that the DENR strongly supports these kinds of partnerships whose goal is for the sustainable, wise-use, and protection of wetlands and biodiversity.
Other DENR offices present in the forum were the Biodiversity Management Bureau, Region III, and River Basin Control Office. The DENR, whose focal person is Atty. Jonas R. Leones, Undersecretary for Planning, Policy, and International Affairs, is the political partner institution of SCPW in the implementation of the project. Alon J. Velasquez, CZFERD