|National Biodiversity and Strategy Action Plan: Section 1|
Article 6 of the Convention states that Parties are to develop national strategies, plans or programs for the conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity or adapt existing strategies, plans or program that indicate measures to implement the Convention, including integrating them into relevant sectoral or cross-sectoral plans, programs and policies.
In compliance to and consistent with this provision, the Philippines started formulating its biodiversity strategy and action plan in 1994 with the formulation of the Philippine Strategy for the Conservation of Biological Diversity (PSCBD). In 1995, the Philippines undertook an assessment of the country’s biodiversity through the UNEP-assisted Philippine Biodiversity Country Study. As a result, the National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan (NBSAP) was developed and published in 1997.
The NBSAP identified 6 strategies and 17 major thrusts anchored on the framework of resources, humans, the interaction between the two, and the need to balance utilization and conservation (Table 16). Then President Fidel Ramos directed the integration of these strategies into the sectoral plans and programs of various government agencies.
From its publication and implementation in 1997, significant progress has been made to meet the goals of the strategies through several programs/plans/activities that were implemented. However, the lack of targets and indicators, including lack of monitoring has made it difficult to quantitatively assess progress in implementation.
A review of the NBSAP identified constraints and limitations in implementation, among them: (1) lack of a clear cut mechanism that defines tasks, sources of funds, institutional arrangements, indicators for monitoring, and monitoring schemes; (2) inadequate capacity to implement biodiversity conservation initiatives (i.e., funding, overlapping jurisdictions, conflicting policies, lack of implementation support from other sectors); (3) lack of database development and information sharing; and, (4) lack of specific geographical priorities (PAWB, undated).
New information, approaches and analyses from several conservation initiatives saw the need to revisit the NBSAP. Five years later in 2002, the NBSAP was subjected to extensive review by multi-stakeholder groups including natural and social scientists from government, research and academic institutions, civil society organizations, donor communities and the private sector. This resulted to a broad-based consensus on 206 conservation priority areas and species conservation priorities collectively known as the Philippine Biodiversity Conservation Priorities (PBCP). The PBCP is considered as the second iteration of the NBSAP. Six major strategies were identified and immediate actions recommended, with the NBSAP providing as a firm foundation from which priorities were based (Table 17). The PBCP was also meant to further refine related strategies identified in the NBSAP.
Like the NBSAP of 1997, the PBCP identified broad strategies to serve as a framework for the country’s biodiversity programs, plans and activities, without identifying time-bound objectives, specific targets and indicators. A cursory examination of the strategies and recommended immediate actions shows that except for some tasks that require national government intervention such as the formal adoption of the PBCP through executive issuance, majority of these strategies and immediate actions have been implemented in varying degrees. However, the lack of a concrete monitoring and evaluation system as well as targets and indicators has made difficult quantitative assessment of progress in implementation, except in areas where data are available.
In both initiatives, agricultural biodiversity failed to figure as prominently as forest, inland waters and marine and coastal biodiversity. This may be due to the approach used in the formulation of the strategies and actions. For instance, in the 2002 priority-setting program, there was no working group devoted specifically to agricultural biodiversity. The lack of knowledge, understanding, and appreciation may have also contributed to the exclusion of this thematic area.
In 2006, the PBCP was reinforced with the identification of KBAs (sites or network of sites that are critical to the conservation of globally important biodiversity). All 128 sites are terrestrial KBAs. The marine KBAs are currently being discussed. Again, areas important for agricultural biodiversity were not addressed.
There are many ongoing conservation programs in KBAs that are within and outside protected areas and these contribute significantly to arresting biodiversity loss. However, the lack of monitoring mechanisms is a constraint in determining the outcomes of the activities, some of which have been mentioned in other chapters of this Report.