The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) welcomes the strengthening bilateral relations between the Philippines and the United States (US) on various areas of mutual interest. This includes cooperation on areas of climate change, environmental protection, biodiversity conservation, and water security to name a few.

DENR Secretary Antonia Loyzaga was invited by President Ferdinand Marcos, Jr. to be part of the Philippine delegation during the President’s official visit to Washington, D.C. from April 30 to May 4.

The meeting between President Marcos and US President Joe Biden at the White House yielded several new bilateral commitments and reaffirmed the continued partnership between the two countries.

Marcos was joined by Loyzaga in several bilateral meetings, including those with President Biden and US Cabinet Secretaries, Ultra Safe Nuclear Corporation, and Maxeon, among others.

In their joint statement, Marcos and Biden reaffirmed the two countries’ commitment to undertake urgent action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, recognizing that the climate crisis poses an existential threat to the world, and the particular vulnerability of the Philippines to the effects of climate change.

The two leaders further resolved to expand cooperation on environmental protection, including enhanced domain awareness, marine conservation, and protecting coastal areas from environmental degradation.

Together, the DENR and the US Environmental Protection Agency committed to address the health and environmental risks associated with climate change and environmental degradation.

This partnership will apply established best practices and new technologies to address methane reduction, food waste, marine plastic litter, water quality, and environmental justice.

Also, the US Department of Interior intends to partner with the DENR to protect shorelines and ecosystems through “ridge-to-reef” conservation and research efforts.

The Philippines and the US will adopt a “ridge-to-reef” approach on environmental protection, collaborate for sustainable fisheries and marine conservation, combat the illegal lumber and wildlife trade, advance ecosystem-based adaptation, rehabilitate valuable wetlands, and promote good governance in the mining sector.

The two nations will also strengthen bilateral cooperation on space situational awareness and the use of space for maritime domain awareness, including through the first-ever Philippine-US Civil Space Dialogue.

The countries will collaborate on the use of space-based technology in the areas of disaster management and emergency response, healthcare, mapping of resources and accessibility, pollution monitoring, deforestation, land use and infrastructure planning, and maritime awareness.

The Philippines and the US vowed to enhance cooperation on the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s Landsat Program, including the possibility for the Philippines to download images directly from Landsat satellites to its ground stations.

These will support the DENR’s direction of using and developing space science and technology application to support the development of strategies for a science-based, and risk-informed plans, programs and policies.

Under Loyzaga’s leadership, the DENR has institutionalized partnerships with space agencies, including the Philippine Space Agency and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) of the US, and has established the Department’s first Geospatial Database Office.

Meanwhile, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) will mobilize $100 million over the next five years to increase access to safe drinking water for 1.22 million Filipinos and provide sanitation services to 710,000 people, while strengthening water management institutions, increase access to climate-resilient water supply, improve water resource management, and addresse water financing gaps.

The Philippines and the US will also partner to strengthen the security and resilience of Philippine water infrastructure, supply, and distribution systems.

USAID is providing an additional $5.3 million for disaster risk reduction and resilience programming in the Philippines, building national and local capacity to prepare for and respond to disasters, while addressing the long-term needs of at-risk communities. ##