PH and US agree to protect the environment

Published February 7, 2021, 5:57 PM

by Johannes Chua

If two countries join hands and walk toward a common goal, then no amount of challenge can hinder them from taking the right steps. This is what transpired when the US government, through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) signed an agreement with the Philippine National Economic Development Authority (NEDA). The agreement is a new, five-year bilateral assistance valued at more than P7.25 billion ($150 million) to protect the Philippine environment.

“Through this agreement, the US and the Philippines deepen their commitment to protect the environment by promoting the sustainable use of natural resources, expanding access to renewable energy, and reducing risks from natural disasters,” according to an online announcement by the US Embassy.

In partnership with national, provincial, and local governments, USAID will “implement projects to increase access to clean energy and water; improve natural resource management; and protect the Philippines’ landscapes, wildlife, and fisheries. These projects support the Philippines’ and the US’ shared goal of preserving the Philippines’ world-renowned natural treasures while improving the lives of Filipinos and ensuring sustainable jobs.”

“This new agreement with NEDA, which includes partnerships with the Departments of Natural Resources, Energy, and Agriculture—Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources, marks a new era in our longstanding support to the Philippines. We will work together to address many environmental challenges. Together, we will strengthen government and community efforts in responding to environmental challenges to achieve our shared vision for safer and more resilient Filipino communities,” said USAID Philippines Mission Director Lawrence Hardy II in the statement.

The new USAID-NEDA agreement helps protect the Philippines’ world-renowned natural treasures while improving the lives of Filipinos who promote sustainable natural resource management, expanding access to renewable energy, and helping communities reduce the effects of natural disasters.

“Our assistance will help protect the forests, fisheries, and water and energy resources for millions of Filipinos, increase livelihoods, and promote nature as an engine of sustainable growth.”

This bilateral agreement is one of four new, five-year USAID-Government of Philippines Development Assistance Agreements launching in 2020 and 2021, with an anticipated total value of P32.7 billion ($675 million) over the next five years.

Other new agreements include those with the Department of Health, the Department of Finance, and the Department of Education. Over the past 20 years, USAID has provided over P216 billion ($4.5 billion) to advance the country’s development goals.