The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has identified Central Mindoro and Eastern Mindanao as pilot areas to become the country’s “biodiversity corridors” in what is considered as the government agency’s biggest foreign-assisted project.

In a statement, DENR said the Global Environment Facility (GEF) will help fund its Biodiversity Corridor (BC) project, which requires an investment of US$74.961 million.

Of the investment requirement for the BC project, US$12.26 million will be financed by the GEF Trust Fund, making it the government agency’s biggest foreign-assisted project.

The rest of the funding requirement for the BC project will come million from various Philippine government agencies, DENR said.

GEF is based in Washington DC, United States, and is a partnership of 18 agencies, including United Nations agencies, multilateral development banks, national entities, and international NGOs.

It is currently working with 183 countries, including the Philippines, to address the world’s most challenging environmental issues.

To start the BC project, the DENR will first create the two pilot corridors, namely Central Mindoro and Eastern Mindanao, as part of government efforts to strengthen the management of 11 Protected Areas (PA) in the Philippines.

The “biodiversity corridors” will be defined as “terrestrial, marine and coastal ecosystems that promote conservation of biodiversity with sustainable use”.

The two pilot areas were chosen based on their importance. Criteria include flora and fauna endemism, biodiversity threats, and economic significance.

The project will then establish at least 200,000 hectares of key biodiversity areas (KBAs) that are now outside of the PA system through Indigenous People management.

Right now, a total of 16 KBAs are located in the aforementioned two biodiversity corridors, with a total combined area of 1.026 million hectares.

Meanwhile, the project will also implement a new framework in biodiversity conservation called integrated ecosystem management (IEM), which will promote regional development, investment planning, and the creation of municipal local government comprehensive land use plans (CLUPs).

DENR said the project will benefit the environment with a carbon sequestration of 44.3 million metric tons over 20 years.

“At least 65,000 individuals, 30 percent of which are Indigenous People belonging to 15,000 households will directly benefit through sustainable natural resource management and livelihood improvement,” it added.

Source: Manila Bulletin (