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People, Planet, Prosperity Philippines Pilot Project: Enhancing Integrated Watershed Management With Ecosystem Services Assessment and Valuation

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This pilot within the People, Planet, Prosperity project will focus on training staff in The Philippines in conducting an ecosystem services assessment in two watersheds, and for using the UN-SEEA framework for valuing these services. The team will develop a workflow and roadmap for applying ecosystem service valuation approaches at a national scale as part of the country’s Integrated Watershed Management program. Key collaborators: Asian Development Bank and DENR/ERDB, Philippines. It is funded by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation.

The Challenge

Philippines landscape

The Philippines is an archipelagic country in Southeast Asia, in the western Pacific Ocean. The country’s watersheds provide essential services, including clean drinking water, water for irrigation and energy production, and flood mitigation. Water quality in the country has declined due to sediment and nutrient pollution issues, and landscape degradation is widespread, driven by deforestation, unregulated development, and unsustainable farming practices – exacerbated by rugged, geologically unstable terrain, monsoons, extreme weather, and climate change. 

Significant efforts are being made to guide sustainable development and protection of critical ecosystems, including through the Ecosystems Research and Development Bureau (ERDB). ERDB is the principal research arm of the Department of Environmental and Natural Resources (DENR), and it is providing technical guidance for watershed managers developing Integrated Watershed Management Plans (IWMPs). 

The Solution

DENR has proposed an enhancement to its existing IWMP management approach that incorporates ecosystem service assessment and valuation. This pilot project will focus on training regional and national watershed managers to model and map the critical ecosystem services provided by watersheds. The pilot will also incorporate ecosystem services valuation - aligned with the United Nations System of Environmental Economic Accounting (UN SEEA) framework, to calculate benefits and the net-present value (NPV) of the identified watershed management interventions. This will help DENR with investment prioritization and policy planning. This will feed into a larger, two-year project led by the DENR to create a workflow that uses natural capital assessments and accounting to inform enhanced-IWMPs for watersheds nationally.

Photos credit: Jess Silver

Project Category: Sustainable Development, Secure Freshwater 
Project Status: Current

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