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23 FEBRUAry 2011
PH UNVEILS AMBITIOUS REFORESTATION PROGRAM AT UN FORUM ON FORESTS
22 February 2011United Nations, New York Underscoring the gains in forestry management achieved at its national and in regional levels and the positive impact on communities, the Philippines unveiled an ambitious national reforestation program grounded on a sustainable development strategy.
Speaking at the UN Forum on Forests’ 9 th session concluded earlier this month, Department of Environment and Natural Resources Undersecretary Demetrio Ignacio, Jr. stressed how forests positively impacted the lives of people, providing basic needs, a healthier environment and a life support system that protects biodiversity and production areas, and lessens risks to disasters.
“Forests affect the lives of all our people. Yet while people are dependent on forests, our forests are also dependent on people,” Undersecretary Ignacio said.
In his statement at the UN Forum on Forests, Undersecretary Ignacio pointed out that, to further bolster Philippine efforts in managing its forests, the country has developed a more sustainable strategy for its reforestation program in “a way that will create jobs, livelihood and income.”
“The Philippine government has a convergence strategy with our agriculture and our agrarian reform program. We are actively promoting private investments in our forestlands, especially projects with low-carbon footprints, under our Public-Private Partnerships or PPP. We are using the portfolio approach whereby government does all the preparations for investors. For this to work, we are pursuing good governance. We have decentralized and devolved authorities and decision-making at the lowest possible level, with the necessary transparency, accountability and checks and balance,” Undersecretary Ignacio explained.
“To maximize benefits for our forest dwellers, we have expanded our tenurial system. Presently, more than 9 million hectares are under some form of tenure, especially ancestral lands, representing 62% of our forestlands and benefiting roughly 11.4 million people,” Undersecretary Ignacio added.
Ignacio likewise revealed that, in line with the commemoration of International year of Forests in 2011, the Philippines is “embarking on the biggest reforestation efforts in our history.”
Ignacio explained that, “In the next five years, we intend to plant 500 million trees in 1 million hectares, involving roughly 50 million people, mostly students. Tree planting is now part of our school curriculum and is a requirement for graduation. This year alone, we intend to plant 50 million trees in 100,000 hectares, to be participated in by about 5 million people.”
Ignacio pointed out that to optimize sustainable forestry, a comprehensive and wholistic approach was essential and that international policy coordination and cooperation – particularly through the UN Forum on Forests – were essential in sustaining the gains made by nations and regions. END
Reference:Robert E.A. Borje
Philippine Mission to the United Nations
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