Across the archipelago of more than 7,500 islands that make up the Philippines, millions of people rely on agriculture, forestry, and fisheries for their livelihoods. Yet, these critical natural resources are under threat from exploitation, overuse, population growth, natural disasters, and climate change. A resilient Philippines is one in which communities, the private sector, and government collaborate to protect the country’s environment.
In July 2020, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) launched the five-year Philippines Sustainable Interventions for Biodiversity, Oceans, and Landscapes (SIBOL) Activity. In partnership with RTI, SIBOL works with the Philippine government to introduce and scale up high-impact environmental interventions that support the sustainable management and governance of key natural resources and reduce environmental crimes and unsustainable practices.
SIBOL is one of USAID’s biodiversity conservation projects working at the national level, and in both terrestrial and marine ecosystems, in the Philippines. To achieve the activity’s aims, USAID and RTI partner with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, and the Department of Agriculture’s Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources. In addition to its national-level work, SIBOL has set up four sites in key protected areas. National policies, programs, and tools are adapted and rolled out at sites, while local interventions and learnings inform national policies.
- Masinloc-Oyon Bay Protected Landscape and Seascape: This coastal area supports thousands of fishers and coastal communities, but is threatened by mining, overfishing, and population growth.
- Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park & Cleopatra’s Needle Forest Reserve: These forest areas of the ecologically important Palawan province are significant habitats for biodiversity.
- Mt. Mantalingahan Protected Landscape: Threats to this forest area—home to abundant biodiversity and more than 12,000 indigenous people—include logging and mining pressures.
- Siargao Island Protected Landscape & Seascape: This marine protected area is surrounded by the country’s largest contiguous mangrove area and is threatened by over-fishing and the exploitation of other natural resources.