USAID trains over 200 Filipino researchers, environment leaders in ecosystem valuation

Published October 24, 2021, 4:19 PM

by Betheena Unite

More than 200 researchers from Philippine public universities and natural resource managers were trained by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) on how to properly track the changes in value and contribution of natural resources to the country’s economy.

ECOSYSTEM VALUATION — The USAID builds the capacity of Filipino natural resource managers in generating information needed to track the changes in value and contribution of natural resources to the Philippine economy through a three-month training. (Photo courtesy of the US Embassy in the Philippines)

Through its Sustainable Interventions for Biodiversity, Oceans, and Landscapes (SIBOL) project, USAID trained nearly 275 Filipinos over a three-month period to promote economic growth through the conservation of the country’s ecosystems.

Natural resource managers and researchers from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR), National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA), Palawan Council for Sustainable Development, and six public universities learned various methods for measuring the value of benefits derived from the environment such as food, water and fuel, soil conservation, and coastal protection.

According to USAID Philippines Environment Office Director John Edgar, the training aims to provide understanding on the drivers of natural resource depletion in an attempt to identify proper interventions.

“When we have competent natural resource managers who are able to account for and monitor the economic value of ecosystem services in the Philippines, the country is in a better position to understand the drivers behind natural resource depletion and develop necessary interventions that will preserve the country’s biodiversity, oceans, and landscapes,” Edgar said.

The training, he added, serves as a foundation for incorporating environmental valuation into the design of economic plans at the local level.

Environment Undersecretary Edilberto Leonardo, said that the knowledge and skills learned in the training “will be applied in the actual implementation of natural capital accounting activities,” which include updating the country’s asset accounts, or the value of resources found in Philippine forests, coral reefs, and fisheries.

According to the World Conservation Monitoring Centre, the Philippines is one of 17 megadiverse countries in the world, which account for 70 percent of the entire planet’s species of flora and fauna.