July 29, 2016
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U.S. Secretary of State and Filipino youth leaders discuss protection of oceans
(Top) Sec. Kerry on stage during the YSEALI SEACamp Summit.  (Bottom, L-R photos) USAID/ECOFISH and the USAID-Rare exhibits during Sec. Kerry's visit).  
(Top photo: State Department, U.S. Embassy.  Bottom photos: Dani Newcomb, USAID/Philippines)

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry visited the Philippines on July 26-27 to meet with newly elected President Rodrigo Duterte and Foreign Secretary Perfecto Yasay, as well as to engage with Filipino youth leaders on ocean protection.  Sec. Kerry met with youth participating in a Young Southeast Asian Leaders Initiative (YSEALI) Sea Camp, sharing with them his thoughts on the importance of marine conservation, the growing concern about ocean plastics and garbage, and the need to focus on combating illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing.  Sec. Kerry also discussed the 2016 Our Ocean Conference to be held in DC in September.  USAID/Philippines' projects displayed their work engaging youth in marine conservation.  ECOFISH collaborates with youth groups, including the Sea Camp, to increase awareness on IUU fishing and encourage them to use DALOY to report marine violations.  USAID's partner, Rare, advances conservation through behavior change campaigns that target and mobilize youth to implement sustainable fisheries campaigns. 

Curbing illegal fishing and logging among the priorities in Philippine President's 1st SONA
President Rodrigo Duterte delivers his State of the Nation Address, as Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III and House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez listen.  
(Photo credit: Francis R. Malasig/EPA, Rappler)
On July 25th, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte gave his State of the Nation Address.  During the speech, President Duterte discussed some of the environmental priorities for his administration.  These included strict enforcement of fisheries laws against illegal fishing and intensified military support to combat illegal logging and other destructive practices leading to the devastation of the country's natural resources.  In addition, environmental preservation figured prominently in the new administration's "human approach to development and governance" that cuts across different areas affecting people's welfare.  These priorities are well-aligned with current USAID/Philippines environment programs.  Through various projects, the Environment Office works to strengthen environmental law enforcement, reduce illegal fishing, protect the nation's forests, and improve livelihoods for fisherfolk and communities dependent on natural resources, and looks forward to continuing this work with the new administration. 
USAID grantees win top prizes for papers presented at climate change adaptation symposium
(L-R) COM-FSM's Dr. Murukesan and ADRA's Country Director Julia Wallwork win two of the top prizes for best papers at the Climate Change Adaptation Symposium.
(Photo credit: USAID/PACAM)

Two of USAID’s Pacific-American Fund Climate Fund (PACAM) grantees won the top prizes for Best Papers Awards at the end of the Symposium on Climate Change Adaptation in the Pacific Region held July 26-28 in Lautoka, Fiji. The first prize for Best Paper went to Julia Wallwork of Adventist Disaster Relief Agency Samoa Trust (ADRA-Samoa) for her paper “Coupling Disaster and Financial Management to Reduce Vulnerability; Challenging Traditional Mindset; Experiences from the Community.” Meanwhile, Dr. Murukesan Krishnapillai of College of Micronesia-Federated States of Micronesia (COM-FSM) won second prize for the paper “Climate-Friendly Adaptation Strategies for the Displaced Atoll Population in Yap.” PACAM supported 14 Pacific-based grantee organizations to participate in the international symposium attended by leading scholars, practitioners, and policymakers undertaking research and/or executing adaptation projects in the region and beyond. Six other PACAM-supported organizations also presented papers on their adaptation projects at this gathering: Institute for Sustainable Futures-University of Sydney, Internews, Worldwide Fund for Nature-Pacific, Conservation International, Marine and Environmental Research Institute of Pohnpei, and the University of Fiji (UoF). The symposium was co-organized by UoF together with Hamburg University (Germany), and the International Climate Change Information Programme.

USAID empowers marginalized indigenous communities through DENR-DSWD partnership
(Top) Adimar (left), a Mangyan leader, demonstrates the proper way of handling forest wildlings to other community members during the hands-on training.  (Bottom) Mangyans mix soil, sand, and compost that will be used as potting medium to raise wildlings.
(Photo credit: USAID/B+WISER)

From July 19 to 29, 110 Mangyans, an indigenous peoples group in Mindoro, participated in a series of community orientation workshops on how to set-up tree nurseries, raise native forest, mangrove and fruit-bearing trees, and protecting and maintaining these. The orientation workshop is part of the preparatory activities under the partnership between USAID, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, and the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD). More than 1,400 households will be trained in seedling production and plantation maintenance in the next five months. The partnership is a convergence of the National Greening Program, a massive reforestation program of the Philippine government led by DENR, and the Pantawid Pamilya Pilipino Program, or 4Ps, and the Sustainable Livelihood Program of the DSWD. The partnership aims to restore and maintain a total of 805 hectares of upland forests and mangroves that provide important ecosystem services like water supply for hundreds of thousands of people and to serve as natural protection against strong typhoons in Oriental Mindoro. In addition to protecting forests and watersheds the partnership helps to alleviate poverty among the poorest households in the country, most of them 4P beneficiaries. Beneficiaries’ involved in maintenance activities like ring-weeding, mulching, and replanting are expected to earn around PhP 2,000 and those engaged in maintenance activities, nursery establishment, and seedling production can earn up to PhP 8,000 during the entire duration of the partnership.

Tawi Tawi municipalities mark their marine protected areas
Marine protected area guards from Ipil Ipil fish sanctuary in Bongao, Tawi Tawi sort out the market buoys donated by the BFAR-ARMM as they prepare for installation.
(Photo credit: USAID/ECOFISH)

USAID's Ecosystems Improved for Sustainable Fisheries (ECOFISH) Project, in collaboration with the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources –Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, assisted three municipalities in Tawi Tawi Bay area demarcate their marine protected areas (MPA) also known as fish sanctuaries through the use of plastic buoys and concrete sinkers. MPAs are bodies of sea water set aside by law to be free from any human activity. Most communities in Tawi Tawi Bay complain that the MPAs are not known to many and therefore violations continue to occur. Laying of marker buoys physically indicates the metes and bounds of the MPA to help communities comply. All MPAs in Tawi Tawi prohibit fishing, swimming, diving and navigating in the core zone but allow extraction activities in the peripheral zone.  ECOFISH and BFAR-ARMM tapped divers from the Philippine National Police Maritime Group (PNP-MG) and Mindanao State University to help communities install the buoys. Prior to installation, community members were trained by the PNP-MG on the use of Global Positioning System. The BFAR-ARMM donated the buoys and the sinkers. There are six MPAs being supported by ECOFISH with an average size of 10 hectares each, belonging to the municipalities of Bongao, Panglima Sugala and Simunul.

Facebook Live event on "Water Management 101" features USAID water experts
(Left photo) The Philippine Star Facebook Live event featured USAID/Be Secure experts engaging the public to talk about water.  (Right photo) Live tweet updates were also done to reach a wider audience.
(Photo credit: USAID/Be Secure)
USAID's Water Security for Resilient Growth and Stability (Be Secure) Project experts discussed the Philippines’ current water situation and answered questions from the public in a 90-minute Facebook Live session co-organized with the Philippine Star news portal. The discussion was aired real-time on Philippine Star’s Facebook page and was viewed 8,407 times within the first 24 hours. Mr. Ramon Alikpala, Senior Technical Adviser for Water, Ms. Elisea “Bebet” Gozun, Climate Resiliency Team Leader, and Ms. Valerie Pape, Water Demand Management Expert, talked about the state of water and sanitation in the country, climate change impacts on water, and water demand management. Viewers posted comments and questions on Facebook and Twitter, and questions were asked my members of the live audience, which included Philippine Star newspaper rookie reporters and journalism students from major universities. This event was part of USAID/Be Secure and Philippine Star’s ongoing social media campaign on water awareness, which aims to inform, educate, and transform Filipinos’ thinking about water.
USAID-supported research presented in international mangrove conference
(Left photo) Dr. Severino Salmo and Dr. Ilka Feller during the conference.  (Right photo) Kayla Castro explaining their poster to a conference participant.
(Photo credit: USAID/PEER-NAS)
Dr. Severino G. Salmo III, professor of environmental science at the Ateneo de Manila University and principal investigator of the USAID-NAS PEER Science project entitled, “Enhancement of Philippines’ research capability in understanding the role of mangrove ecosystem health in the adaptation and mitigation against natural disasters,” presented his findings at the Mangrove and Macrobenthos Meeting 4—an international mangrove conference held every four to six years. This year's conference was held at Flagler College in St. Augustine, Florida on July 18-22 where Dr. Salmo discussed the damage and regeneration patterns exhibited by planted and natural mangrove stands after catastrophic typhoons.  His research assistant, Kayla Castro, through a poster, talked about the multidisciplinary approach their team utilized in assessing typhoon-damaged mangrove forests. Their research abstracts are available in here.  They also took the opportunity to discuss the status of their PEER project with their U.S. collaborator, Dr. Ilka Feller of the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center, who also served as the conference chair, and to visit her research sites in St. Augustine. After the conference, on July 24, Dr. Salmo traveled to Washington, D.C. to present the progress of his PEER project with USAID and NAS officers. More information about the project can be obtained at the project website, mangroveecology.com.
USAID technical support facilitates launch of 12MW biomass power plant in the Philippines
Private investors, Vendivil and Panlilio families, DOE Director Mario C. Marasigan, Talavera Municipal Mayor Nerivi S. Martinez, and representatives from USAID/B-LEADERS during the launch of GIFT's 12-mW biomass power plant
(Photo credit: USAID/B-LEADERS)
On July 22, the 12-megawatt biomass power plant developed by the Green Innovations for Tomorrow Corporation’s (GIFT)  was inaugurated in Talavera Municipality in Nueva Ecija. USAID's Building Low Emission Alternatives to Develop Economic Resilience and Sustainability Project (B-LEADERS) provided mentoring on project development and financing to GIFT Corporation. The biomass power plant was financed through private investments from the Vendivil and Palilio families with equity financing from Land Bank of the Philippines. It uses waste rice husks as feed stock and is expected to generate 92,000 MWh of electricity annually. The biomass power plant is estimated to avoid at least 40,000 tons of carbon dioxide equivalent GHG emissions every year which is comparable to 10,000 passenger cars out of the road annually. USAID, through B-LEADERS, continues to work with the DOE and various renewable energy developers to advance the growth of investments in the clean energy sector. 
For more information visit:
USAID Philippines 
http://www.usaid.gov/philippines/energy-and-environment
USAID Pacific Islands http://www.usaid.gov/pacific-islands/environment-and-global-climate-change

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