The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), through the Biodiversity Management Bureau (BMB), will lead the Philippine celebration of the 2022 International Day for Biological Diversity (IDBD) on May 23, 2022, with protected areas (PAs) as the highlight of this year’s celebration.

Acting Secretary Jim O. Sampulna said the DENR continues to “work together with partner agencies and organizations to manage the PAs to ensure that the remaining biologically rich areas and the various ecosystem services they provide will be sustained.”

“PAs are sites for nature recreation and a water source for irrigation and households. They regulate the climate, mitigate the impact of climate change and reduce risk of disasters, critical for human survival in this modern age,” Sampulna said.

The theme for this year’s celebration, “Building a shared future for all life,” highlights the need to act for nature towards a future where people and biodiversity thrive.

It will feature two main events—the launch of the Year of the Protected Areas (YoPA) and the Kabahagi: An IDBD 2022 Capture Quest.

The YoPA will commemorate the 90th anniversary of the enactment of Republic Act No. 3915 or the National Parks Act, which established the national parks system in the Philippines in 1932.

With the theme “Protected Areas for a Protected Future,” the YoPA campaign will launch a massive information drive that will highlight the need to conserve and protect PAs, encourage people to travel locally and consider PAs as travel destinations.

“The series of PA promotions can greatly help in generating additional revenues from tourist visits which will help boost not only the financial aspect of PA management but also ensure the continuity of conservation efforts within these biodiversity-rich areas,” said DENR-BMB Director Natividad Bernardino.

The DENR will spearhead the signing of a joint declaration that will support the celebration of YoPA, a year-long awareness raising-campaign to promote Philippine national parks.

The YoPA campaign kick-off will feature six PAs in different regions namely, Bongsanglay Natural Park in Masbate, Apo Reef Natural Park in Occidental Mindoro, Samar Island Natural Park in Northern and Eastern Samar and Samar, Balinsasayao Twin Lakes Natural Park in Negros Oriental, Mt. Hamiguitan Range Wildlife Sanctuary in Davao Oriental, and Mt. Timpoong Hibok-Hibok Natural Monument in Camiguin.

The Philippines has so far named 246 PAs across the country under the National Integrated Protected Areas System (NIPAS).

Meanwhile, the Kabahagi: An IDBD 2022 Capture Quest which started on May 20, 2022 gives DENR regional, field, and protected area management offices staff the chance to showcase the beauty of their chosen protected areas in their regions, as well as their photography skills.

The photo contest is the DENR-BMB’s first simultaneous one-day shoot photo contest where the participants in different locations will set their cameras to the same date and time and take photos in their respective PAs interpreting the five given categories namely, flora and fauna, symmetry, movement, details, and creative.

DENR-BMB has partnered with Canon Philippines, USAID- Investing in Sustainability and Partnerships for Inclusive Growth and Regenerative Ecosystems (INSPIRE), Gerry Roxas Foundation along with USAID-Sustainable Interventions for Biodiversity, Oceans and Landscapes or SIBOL project, DENR-UNDP-Biodiversity Finance Initiative (BIOFIN) project and DENR-UNDP/GEF Project on Integrated Approach to Management of Major Biodiversity Corridors in the Philippines (BD Cor) project for the photo competition inspired by Canon’s Photo Marathon contest.

Since the year 2000, the IDBD has been annually celebrated every 22nd of May around the world to raise awareness on the values, relevance, and importance of biodiversity to human lives and all life forms.

As a member state of the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity, the Philippines is one of the 196 countries around the world that celebrates IDBD. ###