More funds sought to protect biodiversity

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More than 90 experts from the Asean region and the United States gathered in Pasay City (Metro Manila) on Wednesday to support increased financing to protect the region’s rich biodiversity.

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During the two-day “International Conference on Conservation Finance,” delegates from Thailand, Cambodia, Malaysia, Burma, Indonesia, Vietnam, and the Philippines discussed effective approaches to fund and sustain ecosystems.

The conference, which coincided with World Wildlife Day celebration, highlighted the need for increased resources to help combat wildlife trafficking and stopping wildlife crime, including illegal fishing.

The event was organized by the US Embassy Manila’s United States Agency for International Development (USAID), Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), Economy and Environment Program for Southeast Asia and Asean Center for Biodiversity.

Director Jeremy Gustafson of USAID’s Office of Environment, Energy and Climate Change said the US government supports developing conservation financing programs to sustainably manage Southeast Asia’s protected areas.

“In the Philippines, this aligns with our long-term commitment to boost environmental resiliency and help the country become more stable and prosperous,” Gustafson added.

Southeast Asia is known as a biodiversity hotspot and millions of communities depend on the health of the region’s rich natural resources.

In the Philippines, more than 200 protected areas cover 2.5 million hectares of terrestrial and marine areas, as declared under the 1992 National Integrated Protected Areas System Act.

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