World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) Philippines stands with the whole nation in calling for a just and lasting peace amidst all the hostilities in Marawi City and other conflict-affected areas in Mindanao. Home to more than 24.28 M people, Mindanao is rich in biodiversity and contributes to the country's food security. Prolonging conflict will take a heavy toll on local communities and the environment. In fulfilling the promise of change for the whole nation, there is a need to restore peace and order to sustain our nation's development gains and to maintain our environment’s capacity to support our needs. Leading an inclusive and low carbon development will help boost our country’s economic potential.
WWF-Philippines President and CEO Joel Palma states, “If we are to tread a low carbon future, we also have to check how extractive activities compromise the cost of natural capital on the provision of water and food for the welfare and well-being of the marginalized sectors. We need to stop the destructive extraction of natural resources that further fuels decades of exploitation and conflict.”
Ongoing hostilities prevent farmers, fishermen and laborers from working and providing food for their children and families. To stave off hunger, they will be forced to hunt for food and cut trees for wood and fuel. This poses additional pressure on our natural resources. Displaced families fleeing conflict zones now have to share scarce resources with nearby host communities. Vulnerable communities will have to reshape their environment as they rebuild their homes, roads, schools, markets, health centers, and other assets that were destroyed.
“We need to understand the environmental dimension of conflict and disasters. Assessing and restoring natural resources and its management should be part of peace building measures as we transition to recovery and rehabilitation,” Palma explained.
WWF-Philippines supports President Rodrigo Duterte’s call to strengthen environmental protection as a top priority and to enforce government policies that would help protect communities, watersheds, forests and aquatic resources. The prescription to Congress to enact the National Land Use act which has been pending since the last two administrations is a welcome relief, as once and for all this will settle, define and secure our natural systems for sustainable production of food, water and energy. We all need clean water, food, and energy; breathable cities and thriving communities -- these life essentials can only come from nature’s strong resource base that helps us cope with the devastating impacts of climate change, conflict and big disasters.
However, yesterday’s SONA has fallen short in defining the directions of the country towards a cleaner low carbon future. The country’s ambitious infrastructure investments must be climate smart and resilient --- ensuring that infrastructure plans, projects and policies are in place to address the present and future impacts of climate change and disasters. Government, businesses and communities must all work together to make this possible.
For more information, please contact:
Atty. Angela Consuelo Ibay
Head, Climate and Energy Programme
Mr. Dan Ramirez
Communications and Media Manager
WWF is one of the world’s largest and most respected independent conservation organizations, with over 5 million supporters and a global network active in over 100 countries. WWF's mission is to stop the degradation of the Earth's natural environment and to build a future in which humans live in harmony with nature, by conserving the world's biological diversity, ensuring that the use of renewable natural resources is sustainable, and promoting the reduction of pollution and wasteful consumption.
WWF-Philippines has been successfully implementing various conservation projects to help protect some of the most biologically-significant ecosystems in Asia since its establishment as the 26th national organization of the WWF network in 1997.