In celebration of this year’s International Day of Biological Diversity (IDBD), the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) on Friday, May 21, reiterated its call to protect wildlife habitats and properly manage the country’s protected areas to restore its biodiversity.

"The DENR’s marching order is the restoration and protection of wildlife habitats and ecosystems through area-based conservation measures, and the management of the country’s protected areas, including caves and wetlands to bring back stability to natural environments," said DENR Secretary Roy A. Cimatu in his speech read by Undersecretary for Special Concerns and Biodiversity Management Bureau (BMB) OIC Edilberto D. Leonardo.

"This includes the strict enforcement of wildlife regulation to ensure that wildlife trade is sustainable, legal, and safe," he added.

The DENR chief highlighted the "immense" benefits that humans gain from nature and their responsibility to take part in the solution to address the source of biodiversity loss.

"Biodiversity provides us with ecosystem services which range from basic necessities such as food and water to purifying the air we breathe, pollination, natural protection from natural disasters, recreational activities, natural healing from our ailments, and provision of livelihood," Cimatu said.

He also echoed this year’s IDBD theme, "We're part of the solution," highlighting the importance of actions from all sectors of society in addressing the source of biodiversity loss while emphasizing that biodiversity conservation is the answer to several sustainable development challenges.

As the coronavirus disease continues to spread globally, the DENR chief also emphasized that the pandemic is "a wake-up call with critical realization of the damage of human activities has done to nature."

Cimatu said that destruction and conversion of natural habitats, including illegal wildlife hunting and trade bring communities into increased contact with wildlife and increases the risk of disease spillover to humans.

Moreover, he emphasized that biodiversity is not limited to rural areas, as cities can also serve as "cradles of biodiversity.”

"We need to bring back biodiversity in urban settlements to regain nature and ecosystem services by incorporating green spaces in public and private places, rehabilitating river systems, and adopting green infrastructures," Cimatu said.

The DENR has also recognized the winners of the BiodiverCity photo contest during the IDBD celebration last Friday.
The contest was conducted to celebrate urban biodiversity and its benefits to the environment and community. ###