Fifth National Report of Philippines

Document type
National Report

Symmetry in strategies and synergy of efforts at the national and local levels are key goals that the
Philippines has continuously endeavored to achieve as it aims to give flesh to its own action plan, the
Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020 and the 2020 Aichi Biodiversity Targets.

Since the 4th National Report to the Convention on Biological Diversity was published in 2009, the
Philippines has taken steps to strengthen political, legal and institutional responses to the problems of
resource depletion and exploitation even as it takes on the challenges of climate change, cross-border
smuggling and inequitable land use. Much remains to be done to harmonize and monitor these efforts,
however and to ensure that national targets and local objectives are in synch.

The 5th National Report to the CBD captures the efforts introduced at different stages of governance to
create a more cohesive approach in addressing threats to the country’s biodiversity- at the ecosystems,
species and genetic levels. The Report, which covered actions and changes initiated from the period of
2009-2013, analyzes the value and robustness of these initiatives, as well as the deficiencies and gaps
that derail their effective implementation.

Gathering of information for this report was anchored on regional and national consultations, which
were conducted in line with the government’s aim to also update its Philippine Biodiversity Strategy
and Action Plan. Having multisectoral inputs signals a positive direction towards making the processes
of evaluation and assessment participatory, with the ultimate aim of increasing the credibility and
extensiveness of the report.

The report delved on how different branches of the government – from the executive to the judicial
branch – have come up with actions to enforce biodiversity conservation and sustainable use.. President
Benigno Aquino III has issued executive orders that aimed to curb deforestation and prohibit mining
activities in protected areas. The Supreme Court introduced the Writ of Kalikasan, a legal remedy for
citizens who aimed to stop projects and programs that could harm the environment.

It also showed how partnerships between and among the national and local governments, civil society
organizations, academic and research institutions and the private sector helped shape conservation
programs for rivers and forests, with the provision of economic and livelihood benefits also incorporated
in the design of these projects. Injecting energy and resources to this partnership is critical in the
successful implementation of the National Greening Program, the passage of the Land Use bill into law
and the inclusion of biodiversity conservation and sustainable use in local land use plans. Coordination,
communication and resource-sharing between these actors as well as other stakeholders is also vital in
making the National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan work.

There is also recognition of the importance of traditional knowledge and the role of indigenous peoples
and local communities in the development of biodiversity-friendly businesses in conserving critical
habitats and protected areas. What is needed is the right mix of incentives and an exhaustive exploration
of a possible system for valuating and financing biodiversity to encourage similar efforts.

A review of issues affecting sectors and areas of biodiversity showed improvements such as an
increase in mangrove cover, the discovery of new species, the development of river basin master
plans and the emergence of additional key biodiversity areas, and indigenous and local community
conservation areas. Gains, however, have yet to fully cut across sectors and themes – three of which,
urban biodiversity, agrobiodiversity, and genetic resources have yet to be fully studied, assessed and
contextualized.The lack of nationally-agreed targets and indicators, which has already been raised in the 4th report, has also posed problems to identifying trends and attaining an accurate measurement of developments, but the updated Philippine Biodiversity and Strategy Action Plan report has taken steps to address this.

Persistent problems affecting biodiversity include overexploitation, the existence of invasive alien species, pollution, habitat loss and degradation and climate change. Building the capacity of local government units in fostering biodiversity-related programs and integrating them in economic and development plans is essential to creating a holistic approach in combating these drivers of biodiversity loss.

Mainstreaming policies and programs , increasing the awareness of stakeholders and establishing
accounting and monitoring mechanisms are also necessary in securing more funding and pushing the
passage of policies for biodiversity conservation.

Actions for biodiversity conservation and sustainable use must also be linked with disaster risk reduction,
climate change mitigation and adaptation. These could help the citizenry prepare for the impacts of
extreme weather events such as a decrease in natural resources and its corresponding socioeconomic