• World Bank approves PH ecosystems project grant

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    THE World Bank has approved a $700,615 technical assistance grant for the Philippine government’s Wealth Accounting and Valuation of Ecosystems (Phil-WAVES) project, which aims to provide data on the current state of the country’s natural resources.

    The Phil-WAVES project seeks to promote the integration of principles of sustainable development into country policies and programs and ensure sustainable use of natural resources that could improve the lives of the poor, who are usually highly dependent on natural resources for their livelihood.

    “Having sufficient data on natural resources and analyzing this properly is crucial to making decisions that will help the country reach the twin objectives of ending extreme poverty and increasing shared prosperity,” World Bank Philippines Country
    Director Motoo Konishi said in a statement on Wednesday.

    Konishi said that the World Bank is optimistic that the Phil-WAVES project will help engender a better appreciation of the interactions between the economy and the environment.

    “Knowing the total value of natural capital like mangroves and minerals can help policy makers address poverty issues,” he added.

    The Washington-based lender noted that the Phil-WAVES grant will focus on capacity-building and generating data and indicators for key natural resources, in order to support the government in institutionalizing the use of selected System of Environmental and Economic Accounting (SEEA) modules.

    Phil-WAVES will use the 2012 SEEA, an internationally accepted framework for the accounting of natural resources, to measure the country’s mineral and mangrove resources.

    The Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) will use this information to develop macroeconomic indicators that will assess the value of these key natural resources and their contribution to the gross domestic product.

    Meanwhile, the World Bank said it will also administer a second grant, amounting to $800,000, which will support the policy analysis of the data and indicators produced by the minerals and mangroves accounts.

    The government, through the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA), said that the implementation of natural capital accounting (NCA) in the Philippines is well timed.

    “Phil-WAVES will help provide quality data on the current state of natural resources in the Philippines using an internationally accepted methodology. It will help us plan for pro-poor, inclusive growth through the sustainable use of key natural resources,” said Socioeconomic Secretary and NEDA Director General Arsenio Balisacan.

    NEDA will be the lead agency of Phil-WAVES and a country coordinator and assistant will also be recruited under the grant to support the agency with the overall coordination of the Phil-WAVES work.

    Members of the Phil-WAVES Steering Committee include the Department of Budget and Management, PSA, Department of Finance, Department of Environment and Natural Resources, Department of Agriculture, Climate Change Commission, Office of the Presidential Advisor for Environmental Protection, and Union of Local Authorities of the Philippines.

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