Legarda: Protect Biodiversity through Ecosystems-Based Adaptation

May 21, 2018

In celebration of the International Day for Biological Diversity (IDB), May 22, Senator Loren Legarda urged authorities to implement Ecosystems-based Adaptation (EbA), which includes the sustainable management, conservation, and restoration ecosystems, in order to build resilience of our biodiversity against the impacts of climate change.

Legarda, Chair of Senate Committee on Climate Change, UNISDR Global Champion for Resilience, and UNFCCC Adaptation Champion, made the statement in line with the theme for this year’s IDB, “Celebrating 25 Years of Action for Biodiversity,” which marks the 25th anniversary of the entry into force of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and highlights the progress made in the achievement of its objectives at the national and global levels.

“The Philippines is considered as one of the mega biodiverse countries in the world, but this blessing comes with the utmost responsibility of protecting and preserving our environment. Biodiversity loss is mainly caused by habitat destruction and wildlife trade, but is experiencing new levels of damage because of climate change. Ecosystem-based Adaptation is one approach that strives to safeguard our biodiversity, while addressing climate change,” Legarda said.

Legarda supported the call of CBD to implement EbA practices, such as the maintenance and/or restoration of mangroves and other coastal wetlands to reduce flooding and erosion; sustainable management of upland wetlands and floodplains for maintenance of water flow and quality; conservation and restoration of forests to stabilize land slopes and regulate water flows; establishment of diverse agroforestry systems to cope with increased risk from changed climatic conditions; and the conservation of agrobiodiversity to provide specific gene pools for crop and livestock adaptation to climate change.[1]

The Senator also called on national and local officials to strictly enforce laws that protect biodiversity, such as the Wildlife Resources Conservation and Protection Act of 2001 (Republic Act No. 9147), which she principally authored and sponsored that aims to maintain ecological balance and enhance biological diversity through the conservation and protection of wildlife species and their habitats; and the National Integrated Protected Areas System (NIPAS) Act of 1992, which underscores the importance of protected areas in protecting our country’s wildlife species.

She added that local communities and other stakeholders, especially academic institutions, should be able to participate in the management of protected areas and the conservation of wildlife and biodiversity.

“While our government units are mandated to ensure that protection of biodiversity is integrated and mainstreamed into their development projects and programs, we must involve all stakeholders in our cause. Environmental awareness and protection must also be integrated in our education, so that we could cultivate a culture and foster a society that will protect our biodiversity and natural resources for our future,” Legarda concluded.***

[1] Climate Change and Biodiversity. Convention of Biological Diversity. https://www.cbd.int/climate/intro.shtml