Forest Foundation Philippines, Canada drive climate adaptation efforts, launch partnership on nature-based solutions

Forest Foundation Philippines, Canada drive climate adaptation efforts, launch partnership on nature-based solutions

The Philippines and Canada recently unveiled a new climate change adaptation program that leverages nature to minimise climate impacts.

The Philippines-Canada Partnership on Nature-based Solutions (NbS) for Climate Adaptation (PCP4NbS), an initiative led by Forest Foundation Philippines in partnership with the Embassy of Canada, seeks to enhance the climate resilience of communities, empower women, and ensure that the strategies implemented benefit natural resources and promote healthy ecosystems.

PCP4NbS will pilot good practices on nature-based solutions (NbS) in the Philippines by improving the knowledge base for evidence-based decision-making, creating platforms for learning exchange and capacity enhancement, and conducting research on the nexus between biodiversity, gender, and climate adaptation.

The program will also develop learning modules and implement gender-responsive, community-based NbS, and co-create policy recommendations to mainstream NbS for climate adaptation. These solutions not only address climate challenges but also provide valuable ecological services.

NbS are cost-effective actions that protect, regenerate and enhance ecosystems while responding to the needs of the community and safeguarding biodiversity. The four-year program aims to utilise these solutions by collaborating with communities, civil society, government agencies, private sector, and other stakeholders.

This will involve jointly identifying and implementing innovative NbS initiatives tailored to address environmental and social challenges of climate-vulnerable communities in both terrestrial and coastal areas. Implementation will be supported by a robust monitoring and evaluation framework to ensure that resources will be maximised towards achieving the program’s goal.  

“PCP4NbS offers a chance to recommit ourselves to science, community involvement, and inclusivity in decision-making. Protecting individuals, communities, and biodiversity is at the heart of NbS,” said Edwina Garchitorena, Chairperson of the Board of Trustees of Forest Foundation Philippines.

“This partnership, in championing solutions designed by and for local communities, will make a lasting contribution to the health of ecosystems and livelihoods in areas of high biodiversity in the Philippines,” emphasised David Hartman, Ambassador of Canada to the Philippines.

The Government of Canada has committed P332 million (CA$8 million) for program implementation. This fund will be managed by Forest Foundation Philippines, which will support local organisations in implementing holistic, community-based, and gender-responsive initiatives based on NbS principles.

Pilot projects will be implemented in Batanes, Camarines Sur, Davao Oriental, Davao de Oro, Negros Occidental, Negros Oriental, and the Calamianes group of islands in Palawan. Interventions in other areas that demonstrate NbS for adaptation can also be supported through thematic grants.

Environment Secretary Maria Antonia Yulo-Loyzaga recognised the immense potential of NbS. “Our ecosystem from ridge to reef should be conserved and protected as they are our life support system. Through this program, we expect to craft better policies that will institutionalise the use of nature-based solutions to help build resilience while nurturing our ecosystems and creating sustainable livelihoods,” she said.

Central to the partnership is the empowerment of local communities, particularly rural and indigenous women, in climate resilience efforts. By providing training and capacity-building, the initiative seeks to foster inclusive development and empower marginalised groups to actively participate in climate adaptation initiatives.

The program also identifies economic opportunities and livelihoods in areas such as agroforestry, watershed management, and eco-tourism, showcasing the potential for sustainable development while conserving natural resources.

“With our overarching goal to sustain ecosystem services and enhance forest-related climate action, this program is a reflection of our commitment to the continued protection, restoration, and conservation of our forests and coastal areas, for water, land productivity, and biodiversity,” concluded Atty. Jose Andres Canivel, Executive Director of Forest Foundation Philippines.

About Forest Foundation Philippines

Established in 2002, Forest Foundation Philippines is a non-profit organisation founded under two bilateral agreements between the Philippines and the United States of America through the US Tropical Forest Agreements. This allows Forest Foundation Philippines to use the country’s debt for funding for forest protection and conservation activities, through a ‘debt-for-nature’ agreement.

Forest Foundation Philippines has supported 472 projects between 2005 to 2016 under the First Tropical Forest Conservation Agreement (TFCA I). This effort collectively improved the management of roughly 1.5 million hectares (HA) of forest lands throughout the country, resulting in approximately 4,200 HA of forests that are supported by 40 community-conserved areas and over 60 community enterprises in the process.

The follow-up Second Tropical Conservation Agreement (TFCA II) led to the development of the 2017 - 2021 Results Framework that enabled the Foundation to support over 300 projects focused on the protection and sustainable management of the Philippines’ most critical landscapes. The effort resulted in the restoration of 1,243 HA of forests, and improvement management of over 1 million HA of forestlands while empowering 211 community-based.

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