The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) is hoping to expand nationwide a highly acclaimed forest and climate change protection project, which resulted in the sustainable management of resources in areas surrounding a mountain range on Panay Island.

According to DENR Secretary Roy A. Cimatu, the recently completed Forest and Climate Protection Panay Project (ForClim)—an eight-year initiative funded and implemented by the German and Philippine governments—is worth replicating in other parts of the country.

“ForClim has proved successful in integrating biodiversity conservation, climate change mitigation and poverty alleviation through sustainable management of forest resources. With the right support from our partner organizations, hopefully we can bring this kind of success to other areas in the country in the near future,” Cimatu said.

Cimatu issued the statement after the implementation of ForClim’s second phase was finally completed this year. A simple closing ceremony held recently at the DENR central office was led by DENR Undersecretary for Policy, Planning and International Affairs Jonas Leones and Cimatu’s chief of staff Undersecretary Rodolfo Garcia.

ForClim II, which ran from June 2014 to February 2018, was financed through a grant of 5.95 million euros from the German Ministry for the Environment, Natural Conservation and Nuclear Safety, with a local counterpart funding of 250,000 euros from the DENR. The first phase was implemented from 2010 to 2014.

Just like the first phase, ForClim II was implemented by German development agency Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit or GIZ and DENR. The project covered the Panay Mountain Range and 23 adjacent municipalities.

Throughout its implementation, ForClim II effectively managed and governed over 30,000 hectares of forest and connected systems of protected areas in Panay.

It made sure that Panay Mountain Range, given its globally significant biodiversity, was protected and natural resources in the adjacent areas were managed and used by local communities in a sustainable and climate-friendly manner.

The project introduced innovations and approaches in forest land use planning, including the establishment of critical habitats, forest conservation and management, forest rehabilitation, agroforestry, and income generation for local communities.

It followed a conservation and development approach providing incentives for sustainable resource management such as agroforestry, upland agriculture and use of bioenergy.

ForClim II also worked towards the protection of natural forests and rehabilitation of degraded forests, resulting in reduced carbon emissions of 453,353 tons from 2011 to 2017.

The project had trained more than 813 people, hired 725 forest guards, and produced forest protection agreements covering 18,732 hectares.

Garcia, in accepting on behalf of the DENR the document containing the project’s outputs, said those accomplishments “encapsulate” the department’s Program for Environment and Natural Resources for Restoration, Rehabilitation and Development or PRRD.

PRRD, which matches the initials of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte, is a five-year roadmap that aims to “protect the country’s natural resources from naturally occuring and human-induced degradation.” ###