The Department of Environment and Natural Resources plans to strengthen its engagement in research and development initiatives focused on sustainable and climate-resilient watershed management.
These initiatives encompass climate adaptation and resiliency, biodiversity conservation, indigenous knowledge systems, community-based approaches, and recognition of gender roles.
The DENR, through its principal research arm, the Ecosystems Research and Development Bureau (ERDB), has been mandated to follow through on the agency’s commitment after the latter’s successful hosting of the 2023 Asia Pacific Watershed Congress, where more than 200 scientists, researchers, and experts in the region gathered to exchange information and experiences in watershed management, acquire knowledge about innovations in climate-resilient watersheds, and provide inputs for the improvement of integrated watershed management.
The congress showcased a total of 54 studies from across the region.
The APAC Watershed Congress underscored nature-based solutions as the primary intervention for addressing watershed management issues, encompassing a variety of natural processes that safeguard, manage, and restore ecosystems while addressing concerns related to climate change, disaster risk, food and water security, biodiversity loss, human health, and economic development.
The ERDB described nature-based solutions as the “blueprint for protecting our most valuable natural resources.”
DENR-ERDB Director Maria Lourdes G. Ferrer considers the integration of nature-based solutions as a profound and forward-thinking approach with regards to watershed management. “It is a recognition of the fact that nature is not merely a resource to exploit but a partner in our journey towards a more sustainable, resilient, and equitable future. By harnessing the power of nature, we can ensure that watersheds continue to provide essential services, protect communities, and support a thriving ecosystem,” she said.
In addition, watershed management requires holistic and integrated approach in the atmosphere of good governance and science-based information, actions, and policies. The harmonization of plans in the whole watershed area can reduce flooding, enhance biodiversity and increase the sustainability of water in the river.
Under the leadership of Sec. Maria Antonia Yulo Loyzaga, the DENR is committed to upholding scientific and technical excellence, ensuring that legislation is evidence-based, and involving stakeholders in the formulation of policies and programs. Research and development have a crucial role in creating fresh knowledge and tools, shaping policies, involving the public, and improving capacities in integrated watershed management.
The ERDB reaffirmed its commitment to strengthen engagement in research and development initiatives to sustainable and climate-resilient watershed management, maintaining its dedication to research collaboration, strengthening scientific cooperation, and promoting best practices and initiatives within the Philippines and the Asia Pacific region.
The ERDB further vows to participate in pertinent research and development activities to generate new information and instruments and to craft policies that will promote informed and scientifically grounded decision-making, widespread public participation, and improved capacities.
The bureau also pledged to explore funding mechanisms to support collaborative projects addressing common watershed management issues, taking into account climate change risks, hazards, impacts, population pressures, and cross-boundary socio-economic considerations. – Press release