The Philippines has received a 4.6 million Euro grant from the German government’s International Climate Initiative which will secure drinking water access for 500 households and irrigation to  3,000 hectares of agricultural land in Negros and Davao region.

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) is implementing the “Ecosystem-based Adaptation in 2 River Basins” or E2RB through a partnership with German-commissioned Deutsche Geselschaft fur Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ).

DENR’s River Basin Control Office (RBCO), implementer of the project, will start the project in 2022 despite delays due to the Covid 19 pandemic.

“A Project Management Committee has already been created.  We can start implementation this year after some delays due to Covid 19,” according to RBCO Executive Director Nelson V, Gorospe.

The E2RB will be carried out in Ilog Hilabangan in Negros and Tagum Libuganon (mainly Davao del Norte) in Davao Region.

E2RB will strengthen the river basins’ ecosystem services, protect their biodiversity, and important, reduce their vulnerability to climate change as destructive flooding have been experienced in the river basins.

“One of the basis for the choice of the site is perennial flooding,” said Gorospe.

E2RB is in line with DENR’s program on Climate Change Adaptation and Mitigation and Disaster Risk Reduction Roadmap 2018-2022. It also aligns with the Philippine Development Plan 2017-2022, Philippine Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan, and enhanced National Greening Program.

“The effective protection of forests in river basins supports the objectives of the Philippine intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDC) in the area of mitigation through the contribution of forest sector to the planned total greenhouse gas reduction of 70% in 2030,” according to the DENR-GIZ agreement.

The project will have the following output:

1. Coordinated implementation of ecosystem-based adaptation for reliable water supply, better water quality, and optimized disaster risk management and targeted biodiversity protection.  It will secure access to drinking water for 500 households and sufficient supply of water for 3,000 hectares of agricultural land

2. Introduction of financial instruments to support the project

3. Use of ecosystem services valuation instruments in government policies, plans and monitoring procedures for conservation financing for protected areas

4. Twenty municipalities around the river basins should have reduced vulnerability to climate change  with improved biodiversity protection (from landslide, flood risk in four watersheds reduced by 10%.

Government has also been arresting extinction of important species in the forests in the river basins.     Among the threatened species in the Ilog Hilabangan watershed are hornbills (Penelopides panini and Aceros waldeni), the endangered Philippine spotted deer (Cervus alfredi), and the Philippine warty pig (Sus cebifrons (WCSP 1997).(MELODY AGUIBA)