Joint memo on protected areas seeks to identify sustainable investment opportunities in PPPs

The Public-Private Partnership (PPP) Center, together with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources Biodiversity Management Bureau (DENR BMB), and the Biodiversity Finance Initiative (BIOFIN), a project of the United Nations Development Program, seek to promote protected areas (PAs) nationwide that can be developed as economically and ecologically viable and financially self-sustaining areas that champion biodiversity conservation under the PPP Program of the government.

The proposed joint memorandum circular (JMC) between DENR BMB and PPP Center can help identify opportunities for holistic and integrated private sector participation in PA management and development.

“The main purpose why we formulate these guidelines is to attain sustainable financing of protected areas as well as to enhance the technical capacities of our protected area managers. Today, many of our protected areas are generating revenues but it cannot cover or support their overall operations for the protection and conservation of biodiversity. Similarly, these guidelines will enhance technical capacities of PA managers and staff in order to improve their operations that will trickle-down to the communities by creating sustainable livelihood opportunities,” Jobert John Bandol, Senior Ecosystems Management Specialist of the National Parks Division of DENR BMB, said.

The draft JMC also seeks to ensure that tenured migrant communities are prioritized in jobs and livelihood opportunities created by PPP projects.

“We see the significant opportunity of bringing in the expertise and resources of the private sector in helping improve the management of some of our protected areas. PPPs can be a solution. It can help boost the ecotourism industry of these areas, and get more people to appreciate and preserve its unique biodiversity. This will help uplift the lives of our people living within these areas with new jobs and business prospects while safeguarding and protecting our irreplaceable ecosystems,” Jeffrey I. Manalo, Deputy Executive Director of the PPP Center, said.
PAs identified are those designated under the Republic Act No. 7586 or the National Integrated Protected Areas System (NIPAS) Act of 1992, as amended by R.A No. 11038 or the Expanded NIPAS Act of 2018. These PAs are recognized as ecologically rich and unique areas and biologically important public lands that are habitats of rare and threatened species of plants and animals, biogeographic zones and related ecosystems, whether terrestrial, wetland or marine.

The initiative to develop the JMC is part of the Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) between PPP Center and DENR BMB, which was signed on August 9, 2021, that ensures the use of protected areas in developing PPPs is consistent with the principles of biological diversity and sustainable development. The MOA also confirms the PPP Center’s support to building the capacities of the DENR in structuring and designing PPPs for PAs, with a main focus on resiliency, safety, as well as conservation and protection of PAs and natural resources.