By: Carlo Carlos
The OML Center participated in a multistakeholder forum entitled “Forum on Pushing Forward the Mangrove Agenda in the Yolanda Corridor” held last 14 April 2015 at Balay Kalinaw Internasyonal in University of the Philippines Diliman. The said event was attended by the different representatives from national government agencies, civil society organizations, multilateral organizations and academic institutions, among others. This event was organized by the Office of the Presidential Adviser on Rehabilitation and Recovery (OPARR) and in partnership with the Rehabilitating Ecosystems and Livelihoods After Yolanda (RELAY) Consortium. OML Center is member of the RELAY Consortium.
Following up on the round table discussion held last November 2014, the forum aimed to: (1) Provide a venue to present the Principles on Mangrove and Beach Forest Protection and Rehabilitation which was the output of the November 2014 round table discussion; (2) Signing ceremony of the Principles on Mangrove and Beach Forest Protection and Rehabilitation; (3) Turn-over of the signed document to the DENR; (4) Share information on the various activities of the participants related to mangrove and beach forest protection and rehabilitation across the Yolanda coastal areas; (5) Discuss points of cooperation/collaboration/complementation/coordination in the implementation of mangrove and beach forest protection and rehabilitation; and (6) Gather initial commitments from the participants on the specific areas/sites where they will contribute expertise, resources and time in protecting and rehabilitating the damaged mangroves and beach forests.
Highlights of the event include the signing of the Principles on Mangrove and Beach Forest Protection and Rehabilitation by the different stakeholders. This shall serve as guidance in implementing on the ground activities as well as in developing mangrove policies that are grounded on science. The event also provided a venue for the various organizations to share their on-going activities as well as further opportunities in improving the rehabilitation process of the mangrove and beach forest ecosystems.
The event concluded with remarks from the Philippine Disaster Recovery Foundation (PDRF) and Conservation International – Philippines that contained messages of continuing partnerships, commitment to science-based approach on rehabilitation activities, ensuring ecosystem stability, and adherence to the principles. Further, the challenge to encourage everyone for more innovative, integrated adaptation apporaches to extreme climate events was also conveyed. Finally, they urged everyone to support and collaborate on the DENR’s mangrove rehabilitation project to assure that the resources used will be maximized and provide long-term gains.