Thursday, 02 June 2011 12:57
President Benigno Aquino III has declared 2011 to 2020 the National Decade on Biodiversity to promote the importance of protecting natural resources toward a healthy environment and a sustainable development.
Executive Secretary Paquito N. Ochoa Jr. said on Tuesday that Proclamation No. 178, signed by the President on May 25, recognizes the vulnerability of the country’s biodiversity, touted as one of the richest in the world, and the need to coordinate actions at various levels in the government.
“Our country is one of the top 18 mega-diverse countries in the world, but we are also a biodiversity hotspot or one of the most endangered areas in the world largely due to deforestation. Our biodiversity faces continuous threats of degradation and the government needs the cooperation of everybody to reverse the situation,” Ochoa said.
Proclamation No. 178 directs the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) to coordinate activities and create a national task force that will plan and implement activities for the National Decade on Biodiversity. The task force shall submit annual accomplishment reports to the Office of the President and a final report three months after the culmination of the decade-long event.
The presidential issuance likewise enjoins all branches and agencies of the government, including state universities and colleges and government-owned and -controlled corporations (GOCCs), in cooperation with the private sector, community organizations and civil society groups, to initiate activities to promote the National Decade on Biodiversity.
“Correspondingly with the United Nations (UN) Decade on Biodiversity, we consider this event an excellent opportunity to deepen awareness of the public on the significance of biodiversity, including the social, economic, environmental and cultural impacts of losing biodiversity,” the Executive Secretary said.
The Philippines is a founding member of the UN and a party to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), an international treaty signed by 150 government leaders aiming to preserve the biological diversity around the world.
On Monday, President Aquino launched the UN Decade on Biodiversity for Southeast Asia at the Rizal Hall in Malacañan Palace.
During the launching, DENR Secretary Ramon Paje handed over a copy of Presidential Proclamation No. 178 to UN Assistant Secretary General and Executive Secretary of the CBD, Dr. Ahmed Djoghlaf.###
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