• DA initiative a success ahead of completion

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    THE Department of Agriculture (DA) is claiming success with its Environment and Natural Resources Development (EnRD) initiative, which concludes at the end of 2015.

    Convergence works under the initiative help to address issues of grave deterioration of natural resources due to population growth and uncontrolled access to natural resources, specifically on public lands and water, which is worsened by natural disasters and climate change, Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala said in a statement.

    The EnRD advised on policy formulation and review of key rural development policies such as the passage of the National Land Use Act (NaLUA), Integrated Coastal Management (ICM) Act and reforms in the management of protected areas under the National Integrated Protected Areas System (NIPAS) Act.

    The program also provided financial support and local subsidies in the areas of land use and development planning, disaster risk management, community-based forest management, integrated coastal management and income generation as well as food security focusing on Regions 6, 7 and 8 (Panay, Negros, Leyte, Samar) in the Visayas.

    Interventions were also successfully replicated in Region 5 (Albay, Sorsogon), Isabela and the Caraga Region, Alcala said.

    Twenty provinces nationwide received various degrees of EnRD interventions with 186 trained and capacitated LGUs on natural resources management.

    Some 33 Comprehensive Land Use Plans (CLUP) were either updated or formulated with support from the program currently being implemented in over 860 Barangay Development Plans (BDPs).

    In 2005, the Philippines and Germany conceived the EnRD, a joint cooperation of the National Convergence Initiative (NCI)— which includes the DA, the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), and later on, the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG)— and the Deutsche Gesselschaft für Internationale Zussamenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH.

    To showcase the initiative’s success over the past decade, the Agriculture Department held an exhibit of knowledge products (KP) based on criteria that included impact, effectiveness and sustainability.

    The exhibit include KPs from land use and planning, sustainable coastal resources, rural economy advancement through cash-for-work for households, LGU waste management, local flood early warning systems and comprehensive land use.

    According to the Agriculture chief, some of the EnRD tested approaches described in these KPs have found their way into the government’s processes.

    The initiative boosted the NCI by supporting agribusiness clusters in a number of provinces and promoting the “ridge-to-reef” approach, the comprehensive land use plan, the bottom up and top-to-bottom approach that links local experiences with policy reforms in natural resource governance, and the integrated ecosystem management (IEM) at the provincial and municipal levels.

    “EnRD should also be commended for having been among the first to respond when typhoon Yolanda struck,” Alcala said.

    The program also supported the post-Yolanda rehabilitation that prompted quick response from Germany and donor institutions.

    Alcala gave the assurance that as the EnRD program comes to a close, all NCI counterparts will take over the management of all handed-over program interventions.

    He praised the GIZ for being the only development partner that shared and pursued the NCI vision of transforming natural resource management into a truly potent tool for achieving sustainable growth.

    “We in the Philippines thank you for your magnanimous and continuing support. Along the way, we had been at times overwhelmed by the program’s expansiveness and complexity. But encouraged by your support, the LGUs and the grassroots, the program forged ahead to push the frontier of rural development forward,” Alcala said.

    “I earnestly hope that all of you will continue to link arms with us and with one another to further pursue the vision of a truly holistic, sustainable and inclusive, growth in the countryside,” he added.

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