MANILA, June 26, 2007– The World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors today approved a US$50 million loan for the National Program Support for Environment and Natural Resources Management (NPSENRMP). The project aims to help the Department of Natural Resources (DENR) finance and carry out its priority activities to meet its core mandates and strategic goals in managing, conserving and protecting the country’s environment and natural resources. The Global Environment Facility (GEF) will provide additional grant funding of US$7 million to assist the collaborative efforts of the National Government (NG), Local Government Units (LGUs) and Peoples’ Organizations (POs) in implementing an integrated approach to watershed and wetlands management.
“This project comes at a very opportune time for the DENR. Much needs to be done and much funds are needed to protect, conserve and manage the coastal, forest, soil, water, mineral, and biodiversity resources of the Philippines. Through this project, the efficiency and effectiveness of the department’s service delivery will greatly improve,” said Environment Secretary Angelo Reyes.
World Bank Country Director Joachim von Amsberg said, “More effective environmental management is crucial for growth in sectors such as tourism, mining and modern services. The Philippines is home to a rich diversity of natural resources, yet a lot of these are threatened by environmental degradation and acute pollution problems. For instance, abandoned mining areas continue to pollute surrounding bodies of water, threatening the health and physical environment of nearby communities.” He added, “We also hope to see the effective use of the GEF’s additional funding, which is intended to assist the LGUs successfully carry out their devolved environmental services, with the help of the DENR.”
The project has a nationwide scope with three components.
Component one (Policy Development, Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation) will facilitate the implementation of the DENR’s Rationalization Plan by improving the efficiency of the department’s organization and operations, and by strengthening its service delivery functions. It will also develop various maps (e.g., land use and demarcation maps, geohazard, groundwater) for watershed management and land use plans, and for interim risk remedial measures related to abandoned mines, geology, and ground water protection. It will prepare comprehensive mine rehabilitation and remediation plans for priority abandoned mine sites. The Bagacay mine in the island of Samar in the eastern Visayas has been identified for rehabilitation and remediation.
Component two (Integrated Ecosystem Management) will carry out a collaborative program involving the DENR, local government units (LGUs) and People’s Organizations (POs) for integrated watershed and wetlands management strategies. This will help priority watersheds areas facing severe risk of further degradation and those located in sensitive ecological areas. It will promote participatory and integrated watershed ecosystem planning and management; and raise integrated ecosystem awareness among the stakeholders. It will also support sustainable livelihood improvement sub-projects that enhance the ecosystems, conserve biodiversity and increase farmers’ income. This component will be implemented in the priority watersheds located within the Southern Sierra Madre Watershed Cluster that includes the Angat watershed reservation, Ipo watershed, Doña Remedios Trinidad-General Tinio watershed forest reserve, Umiray watershed forest reserve and Kanan watershed all in the island of Luzon. The other two areas will include the Libmanan-Pulantuna watershed in the Bicol Region (Region V) and the Liguasan Marsh in Mindanao.
Component three (Strengthening Environmental and Natural Resource Management) will strengthen DENR’s regulatory and oversight functions and its capacity to implement environmental regulations related to air and water quality, waste management and environmental impact assessment. It will also strengthen participatory integrated watershed management monitoring systems at the LGU and community levels.