Closing the Philippine Environment Month, the Forest Foundation Philippines and Foundation for the Philippine Environment (FPE) signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA), committing PHP 30M over four years to implement the Enhancing Capacities of Indigenous Peoples (IPs) for Stronger Forest Governance and Biodiversity Conservation Program (StrongIPs4Forests&Biodiversity Program).
The StrongIPs4Forests&Biodiversity Program will combine the resources and expertise of Forest Foundation and FPE to enhance the capacities and capabilities of IPs to govern their ancestral domains and natural resources, and to strengthen inclusive leadership, including the youth.
It will cover the critical forest landscapes and ancestral domains of the provinces of Aurora, Palawan, and Bukidnon. It will support projects related to ancestral domain management for biodiversity conservation and sustainability, IP youth identity and engagement formation, IP-based knowledge products, tools, modules development and application, and sustainable and biodiversity-friendly production system and livelihood enterprises.
Harnessing Indigenous Leadership
According to the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), an estimated 85% of the country’s key biodiversity areas are within ancestral domains. Greenprint.ph reports that 60-65% of the remaining forests in ancestral domains serve as our first line of defense against natural hazards. On the other hand, 90% of the country’s watersheds are in ancestral lands, where 25 million Filipinos benefit from. Hence, the IPs’ knowledge, systems, and practices play a central role in the protection and conservation of the country’s most critical forests.
Since its founding, Forest Foundation has been supporting projects to recognize and support the IPs in their governance and sustainable management of the forests. In support of the Indigneous People’s Rights Act of 1997, the Foundation recognizes the roles of IPs as effective biodiversity and forest managers in conservation, especially in their Indigenous Community Conserved Territories and Areas (ICCAs). As owners and stewards of the land, the IPs should lead the protection, conservation, and management of their areas, as documented in their Ancestral Domain Sustainable Development and Protection Plan (ADSDPP).
Some recent projects of Forest Foundation include:
Sierra Madre Mountain Range:
1. Enabling Environment for Forest Protection of Dimasalang Ancestral Domain project with Dimasalang Egongot Tribe Farmers and Weavers Association
2. Initiating a Network of Indigenous Communities Conserved Areas in the Central Sierra Madre Forests project with Daluhay Daloy ng Buhay
3. Empowering Community-based Forest Management and Indigenous Peoples’ Organizations as Forestland Managers in Nagtipunan,Quirino project with Community Forestry Foundation Quirino
1. Community and Forest-based Social Enterprise Development for Palawan project with Bayan Academy
2. Preparing the Communities of Victoria Anepahan Mountain Range for REDD+ Engagement project with Center for Conservation Innovations Philippines
3. Documenting and Communicating the Traditional Ecological Knowledge and Systems of Indigenous Peoples in Palawan project with PANLIPI
4. Finding a Common Ground for the Conservation of Victoria Anepahan Mountain Range project with Institute for the Development of Educational and Ecological Alternatives
Bukidnon and Misamis Oriental:
1. Indigenous Governance at the Forefront of Conservation project with The Samdhana Institute
2. Empowering the Coffee Value Chains of Forest Communities via Community-based Social Enterprises project with Philippine Coffee Alliance
3. Piloting REDD+ in the Kimangkil-Kalanawan-Sumagaya-Pamalihi Mountain Range project with NTFP-EP Philippines
4. Enhancement of Community Capacity for Sustainable Ecological and Economic Development project with Xavier Science Foundation
5. Recognizing Ecological Services, Institutional Leadership, and Livelihood Initiatives for Environment and Community Enhancement in Mt. Kalatungan Range Natural Park project with Mindanao Integrated Management Foundation
6. MILALITTRA Ecological Project with Miarayon Lapok Lirongan Talaandig Tribal Association
In 2020, Forest Foundation also entered into a partnership with the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) to strengthen indigenous governance to protect and conserve the forests.
Apply for a Grant
Interested proponents may submit their proposals athttps://grants.forestfoundation.ph