Ecosystem-based Adaptation in River Basins
Title: Ecosystem-based management and application of ecosystem values in two river basins in the Philippines
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry of the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU) through the International Climate Initiative (IKI)
Lead executing agency: Department of Environment and Natural Resources
Overall term: 2019 to 2023
River basins provide habitats and resources for endangered species and at the same time livelihood for people within the basin and beyond. These include different sectors, such as domestic water supply, agriculture, energy, environment and health. However, river basins face degradation through uncontrolled and excessive exploitation caused by the increasing population and unsustainable management of natural resources. This poses a threat to the country’s economy, social and human well-being, and environment. Deforestation and the large-scale transformation of the original vegetation to non-forestry purposes, coupled with inappropriate land use practices, threaten biodiversity and disrupt the hydrological conditions of the watersheds, resulting in flash floods and prolonged drought. Other adverse consequences are accelerated soil erosion, siltation of water bodies and reservoirs, and poor water quality. Moreover, sedimentation has reduced the storage capacity of major reservoirs. These situations cause considerable reduction in the productivity of forests, agricultural lands and fisheries, and decreased returns from major investments in domestic, hydroelectric power generation and irrigation systems.
The use of biodiversity and ecosystem services as part of an overall adaptation strategy to help people adapt to the adverse effects of climate change, or Ecosystem-based Adaptation (EbA), together with effective governance and integrated ecosystem-based management of watersheds and their resources are an overarching solution to these problems. It is therefore important that the Philippines enhance their national strategies for watershed management and biodiversity protection.
The ecosystem services and biodiversity protection have been strengthened under the project, and it has contributed to the reduction of climate change vulnerability and natural disasters in two river basins through integrated management and ecosystem-based adaptation measures.
The project supports national policies and contributes to improve the coordination and integration of sectors through an ecosystem-based approach. Key outputs will be the reduction of hazard prone households, improved water availability and quality and biodiversity conservation in the Ilog-Hilabangan River Basin in the Visayas Region and the Tagum-Libuganan River Basin in Mindanao. The project will provide impetus for improving the fragmented water governance regime and aims at using the values of ecosystem services as a basis for the private sector buy-in, to contribute to the financing of conservation and protection measures that help to maintain ecosystem services and protected areas and thereby reducing vulnerability to disasters and climate change.