ENVIRONMENT Secretary Ramon Paje on Sunday lauded Palawan after it was recently named by international travel magazine Conde Nast as “the best island in the world.”
In a statement, Paje said Palawan’s success is a resounding testament to the province’s effective environmental governance as he noted that the country’s last ecological frontier is fast becoming the benchmark for environmental best practices and sustainable tourism development around the world.
Environmental governance is a concept in political ecology and policy that advocates sustainable development as the supreme consideration for managing all human activities—political, social and economic.
Under this concept, the management of the environment is a shared responsibility among the stakeholders.
“The Palawan model is a sterling example that protecting the country’s biodiversity and natural wonders are key elements of effective local governance,” Paje said.
The DENR chief said Palawan’s strength as a unit of local governance “resides in the alliances forged between the local government and the people to develop a system of best practices that they can undertake within their jurisdictions without harming nature.”
He added that other local governments in the country could draw inspiration from Palawan, which he described as a “living laboratory of sustainability.”
In being chosen as the best island, Palawan edged out some of the most popular international destinations like the Great Barrier Reef, Kangaroo and Whitsunday Islands in Australia; Maui, Kauai and Big Islands in Hawaii; and Santorini and Cyclades in Greece.
Palawan is home to many important ecological sites, including El Nido, Coron Islands Cave, world-renowned Tubbataha Reef and the Puerto Princesa subterranean river natural park, also chosen as one of the seven wonders of nature.