USAID builds the capacity of Filipino natural resource managers in generating information needed to track the changes in value and contribution of natural resources to the Philippine economy. (Photo from Public Affairs Office of the U.S. Embassy in the Philippines)

The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) trained nearly 275 government employees and researchers from Philippine public universities on how to properly account for environmental benefits through its Sustainable Interventions for Biodiversity, Oceans, and Landscapes (SIBOL) project.

The recently completed three-month training supports the Philippine government’s work to promote economic growth through the conservation of the country’s ecosystems, said a statement released Friday by the information office of the Public Affairs Section of the U.S. Embassy in the Philippines.

Natural resource managers and researchers from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR), the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA), the Palawan Council for Sustainable Development (PCSD), and six public universities learned how to value environmental benefits like food, water, and fuel, as well as soil conservation and coastal protection.

“When we have competent natural resource managers who are able to account for and monitor the economic value of ecosystem services in the Philippines, the country is in a better position to understand the drivers behind natural resource depletion and develop necessary interventions that will preserve the country’s biodiversity, oceans, and landscapes,” the statement quoted USAID Philippines Environment Office Director John Edgar in saying.

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The training serves as a foundation for incorporating environmental valuation into the design of economic plans at the local level, said DENR Undersecretary Edilberto Leonardo, on the other hand.

“The knowledge and skills that you have learned in this activity will be applied in the actual implementation of natural capital accounting activities.  These include updating the country’s asset accounts, or the value of resources found in Philippine forests, coral reefs, and fisheries,” Leonardo said.

According to the World Conservation Monitoring Centre, the Philippines is one of 17 megadiverse countries in the world, which account for 70 percent of the entire planet’s species of flora and fauna.

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is the chief of correspondents of Palawan News. She covers defense, politics, tourism, health, and sports stories. She loves to travel and explore different foods.