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Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Secretary Roy A. Cimatu has lauded the Philippine delegation for winning the “Most Useful Project Resources Award” at the Global Wildlife Programme (GWP) Annual Conference held virtually on November 30-December 2, 2021.

During the conference, Team Philippines presented seven video clips and nine text documents about wildlife, and bested 36 projects in 31 countries across Africa, Asia and Latin America.

With the theme “Working Together for Wildlife Conservation,” the 2021 GWP Annual Conference focused on successfully collaborating, engaging, and empowering stakeholders to support wildlife conservation and sustainable local livelihoods.

The GWP is a World Bank-led, Global Environment Facility (GEF)-funded global partnership that seeks to reduce both the supply and demand that drives the illegal wildlife trade or IWT through various country projects and a broader global project.

“We will leave no stone unturned in our pursuit of illegal poachers, traders, and buyers. We will find and arrest the large-scale syndicates, the middle-men, the financiers, the ‘illegal wildlife lords’,” Cimatu said.

The DENR chief also said that the materials are produced “to encourage the audience to spread awareness about illegal wildlife trade and inspire them to partner with the agency in protecting, conserving, and managing our country’s resources for the present and future generations.”

“We are proud to share to a wider audience the fruits of our hard work and labor of love from the DENR-Asian Development Bank/GEF Project on Combating Environmental Organized Crime in the Philippines,” he added.

Held during the three-day annual GWP Conference, the contest aims to showcase lessons learned, good practices, innovations, and success stories through the knowledge products that they have developed, and to share them with other countries who might find it useful to the work that they do.

The partner countries presented samples of their knowledge products and resources to the organizing team.

The GWP Team, in turn, uploaded the materials in “HowSpace,” a digital collaboration platform open to all conference participants.

At the end of the event, all the conference participants voted for the country with the "Most Useful Project Resources," among other awards.

The award was part of a series of mini-competitions that included “Best Knowledge Market Pitch,” “Best Overall Knowledge Share/Need,” “Most Useful Project Resources,” and “Best HowSpace Collaboration.”

Team Philippines was also nominated in the “Best Knowledge Market Pitch” category and was represented by Atty. Theresa Tenazas, OIC-Chief of the Wildlife Resources Division of the DENR’s Biodiversity Management Bureau (DENR-BMB).

For its prize, the GWP Team will co-design a webinar with Team Philippines.

The DENR-ADB/GEF Project or IWT Project is a three-year initiative managed by the DENR-ADB-GEF on the ground.

The DENR-BMB acts as the executing agency of this project and is also tasked to set the strategic direction and lead implementation.

The bureau is also given enforcement functions through the Wildlife Resource Division and the Philippine Operations Group on Ivory and Illegal Wildlife Trade or Task Force POGI, which is now under the Environmental Law Enforcement and Protection Service.

The IWT Project is also a component of an ADB Regional Knowledge Support Technical Assistance on Protecting and Investing in Natural Capital in Asia and the Pacific and a support project under the GWP.

It aims to combat environmental organized crime in the Philippines through legal and institutional reforms, capacity building in the full law enforcement chain, and reduction of demand for illegal wildlife and wildlife parts and derivatives.

The knowledge products, consisting of seven video clips and nine text documents, can be accessed at DENR-BMB’s eLibrary https://bit.ly/3ymfzrI. The videos can also be viewed at DENR-BMB’s YouTube Channel. ###