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Bacolod City, Philippines Monday, November 13, 2017
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Conservation Matters

Celebrating gains
of connectedness

The Foundation for the Philippine Environment celebrates its 25 th year with the gathering of its officers and staff, members of its regional advisory committees and experts' advisory panel, and partners from various groups all over the country on November 14 to 17, at Nature's Village in Talisay City, Negros Occidental.

The FPE is the first grant provider for civil society initiatives related to biodiversity conservation and sustainable development. FPE executive director Oliver Agoncillo said this event brings together more than 120 participants with the main purpose of celebrating the gains of connectedness of the FPE and its partners over the last 25 years in implementing conservation projects across the Philippines.

Agoncillo added the specific objectives of this event, which is being held every two years, include the provision of updates on the state of the Philippines' biodiversity, climate change, and other emerging issues; recognition of individuals and institutional partners for their exemplary contribution to biodiversity conservation; presentation of accomplishments as well as the progress on the implementation of the FPE 2015-2025 strategic plan; and calibration of the national and regional environment agenda.

He said this is an important gathering of the FPE partners to collectively discuss and assess the progress, gaps, and opportunities that will further enhance their work on biodiversity conservation and sustainable development.

Fr. Edwin Gariguee, former vice chairperson of the FPE and currently the secretary of the National Secretariat for Social Action of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines, is the keynote speaker in the event, while director Mundita Lim of the Biodiversity Management Bureau of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources was invited to talk on the state of the Philippines' biodiversity and the National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan.

Lourdes Simpol, chairperson and chief executive officer of the FPE and at the same time the director of the Tropical Institute for Climate Studies at the Ateneo de Davao, will talk on “The Climate Crisis: An Urgent Call to Action”, and Agoncillo will discuss on the “Civil Society Contributions to the NBSAP: FPE's Experience”. The reactors are Lisa Paguntalan, executive director of the Philippines Biodiversity Conservation Foundation Inc., and Jurgene Primavera, a scientist and member of the FPE board of trustees.

There are break-out sessions during the four-day event that will discuss several topics. The first breakout session is on climate change adaptation and mitigation where Liza Lim, executive director of the Institute of Social Order of the Ateneo de Manila University, will share experiences on surviving climate change in small island communities and a representative from Islands Sustainable Development Alliance will similarly impart related experiences in Gigantes Island, while Denis Librado, executive director of the Tribal Leaders Development Foundation Inc., will be the resource person on innovative river rehabilitation technology.

Two topics on food security and safety will be presented in breakout session 2.

Ramon Peñalosa Jr., owner of the Peñalosa Farms and a member of the FPE BOT, will talk on “Agri-preneurship: No Filipino should go hungry in his own native land”, and Felimon Romero, former FPE BOT member, shall talk on food security from the marine perspective. Meanwhile, the breakout session 3 is on water security and sustainability and it is expected that Jayson Ibañez of the Philippine Eagle Foundation Inc. and Aladino Moraca of the Eco Agri Foundation Inc. will provide inputs on integrating indigenous knowledge systems and practices and science in watershed management and sustaining watershed management through private and public partnership, respectively.

Governor Alfredo Marañon Jr. is the guest of honor during the gala night of the event. During this program, the FPE will present posthumous awards to Danilo Balete, Zenaida Darunday, and lawyer Raymon Salas – the former was a member of the FPE expert advisory panel and the two others were members of the FPE regional advisory committees.

The FPE shall also recognize the contribution in biodiversity conservation of its partners, grantees, and fund managers. Two other awards shall be presented during the gala night – Environment Protectors and Sarihay Media Awards.*

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