PHL to participate in ASEAN program to jointly manage large marine ecosystems

THE Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) said it is preparing to participate in an ASEAN collaborative project on large marine ecosystems (LMEs), which is funded by the Global Environment Facility (GEF).

“The project is expected to complement our existing efforts in the Philippines towards productive partnerships with the neighboring countries in terms of scaling up management under the regional marine protected area network approach,” DENR Foreign-Assisted and Special Projects Service Director Al O. Orolfo said.

According to the DENR, ASEAN coastal and marine areas are home to 20% of the world’s seagrass beds, a third of worlds mangrove forests with 45 to 75 true species, and a third of the world’s coral reefs, with more than 75% of coral species and 40% of fish species.

The project aims to manage networks of marine protected areas in LMEs, which are a source of livelihood for fishermen. LMEs are marine areas extending beyond national boundaries.

“It aims to develop and improve the management of networks of marine protected areas (MPAs) and marine corridors within selected LMEs in the ASEAN region for the conservation of globally significant biodiversity.  It will support sustainable fisheries and other ecosystem goods and services,” the DENR added.

The collaboration will involve the Philippines, Indonesia, and Thailand, with ultimate participation targeted at least five ASEAN members.

Mr. Orolfo said the collaborative management approach hopes to address climate change, marine pollution and biodiversity loss.

The GEF tallies about 66 LMEs worldwide, with the program supporting the sustainable governance of 23. — Luisa Maria Jacinta C. Jocson