Vice President Jejomar C. Binay said Wednesday that a close partnership between the national and local governments, and non-government organizations is crucial to the protection of the Philippine's natural resources.

            The Vice President told participants of the launch of the Partnerships for Biodiversity Conservation: Mainstreaming in Local Agricultural Landscapes that the partnership paves the way for setting up "a more effective policy and implementation platform".

            "Through our Biodiversity Partnerships, we can truly define our roles, educate participants and constituents, discover and recommend best biodiversity-conscious and sustainable business practices, while not upsetting local livelihood, and finally eradicate doubt and cynicism that never help," he added.

            He also declared that the Biodiversity Projects Partnerships (BPP) must come up with biodiversity-friendly investment opportunities, products and services like eco-tourism, handicrafts, and food processing.

            The BPP is a partnership among the national and local governments, NGOs, local communities and indigenous peoples, funded by the United Nations Development Programme-Global Environment Fund. The Department of Environment and National Resources through the Protected Areas and Wildlife Bureau (PAWB) is the implementing agency. 

            According to Binay, the housing sector, particularly the Housing and Land Use Regulatory Board (HLURB) and Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council (HUDCC), has partnered with the PAWB-BPP in mainstreaming the concept of biodiversity conservation in the local level.

            "With the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council (or HUDCC) at the helm, HLURB and the LGUs will integrate such sector plans as forest land use, coastal land use, biodiversity, climate change and disaster risk concerns."

            He also said that the HLURB will assist LGUs in updating their Comprehensive and Land Use Plans, as well as in equipping them with technical skills and tools needed in protecting the environment and pursuing sustainable development.

            The tools referred to by the Vice President include: biodiversity overlays for land use plans to delineate corridors and buffer zones; fiscal and economic tools to promote biodiversity conservation; transfer payment; local tax incentives for biodiversity-friendly business development; and financing and market incentives.

            "The LGUs’ involvement is crucial as they are ultimately responsible for planning, budget, monitoring and evaluating their respective areas, which encompass at least 1.6 million hectares in five key biogeographic regions," furthered the Vice President.