BUTUAN City, PH, August 30-31 — Sharing of the different efficient, sound and peaceful management and governance practices of protected areas from the experiences and perspective of the government’s Environment department, local government units, civil society organizations, academe, and indigenous peoples communities highlighted the conference of the different Protected Area Management Boards in Mindanao.
“The Mindanao PAMB Network was established to provide a platform of learning and exchange of experiences among protected area practitioners and as a venue for collective action for protected area management,” said DENR-9 Regional Executive Director Felix Mirasol, who is considered as ”the father of the Mindanao PAMB Network.”
The Mindanao PAMB Network is supported by the Conflict Sensitive Resource and Asset Management (COSERAM) Programme, which is being implemented by the Deutsche Gesellschaft fur Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) in behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and in partnership with the Philippine government.
Adonis “Bong“ Gonzales, COSERAM senior advisor for Indigenous Peoples and Biodiversity and the other half of the COSERAM Regional Tandem for Region 10, helped RED Mirasol in the establishment of the Mindanao PAMB Network, which he conceptualized while still the award-winning Protected Area Superintendent (PASu) of Mt. Kitanglad in Bukidnon province, a post Mirasol held for 18 years that were highlighted by 79 cases filed against PA violators.
GIZ supports the Convention on Biological Diversity for Sustainable Development, an international convention that “recognises that humans are a major force in changing nature“ that was ratified by the Philippines on 12 June 1992.
“The focus of our cooperation with the PAMB is how to promote and foster a more inclusive and more participatory way of managing protected areas, meaning, including the poeple who are living within the protected areas, like the indigenous peoples,“ said COSERAM Programme Principal Advisor Peter Hauschnik.
Hauscknik said that this cooperation also recognizes the important roles of “all those who are concerned with the protected areas“ like the local governmet units, civil society organizations, and the academe.
During the two-day conference, the more than 200 participants — led by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources‘ (DENR) top three regional directors in Mindanao, namely Regional Executive Director Charlie Fabre of DENR-13, Regional Executive Director Edwin Andot of DENR-10, and Mirasol — exchanged knowledge and experiences on the utilization of new technologies, application of recommendations of academic researchers, and the active participation of indigenous peoples‘ communities for the protection and conservation of protected areas especially during the small group discussions or breakout sessions.
According to Mirasol, the main issues tackled during the conference were “how to strengthen our research collaborations will academic institutions; how to strengthen our partnership and collaboration with the indigenous peoples in protected areas; and how to ensure the establishment of mechanisms by which protected areas can operate using its own resources.“
The Philippines is very rich in natural resources and biodiversity as proven by the 240 proclaimed protected areas, 41 of which are in Mindanao; all under the National Integrated Protected Areas System (NIPAS).