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PIA Press Release
Wednesday, January 25, 2012


Environment added as fourth strategic pillar for EAGA

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY, Jan. 25 (PIA) -- In lieu of the global issues on climate change, the Brunei Darussalam-Indonesia-Malaysia-the Philippines - East ASEAN Growth Area (BIMP-EAGA) ministers have adopted environment management as one of its strategic pillars for the sub-regional cooperation.

“The Philippines successfully pushed for the inclusion of environment as a new strategic pillar in addition to the three (3) major pillars of the sub-region,” reported Mindanao Development Authority Chairperson Luwalhati Antonino.

The other three strategic pillars of BIMP-EAGA are food basket/food security, ecotourism and enhancing connectivity.

Antonino, who also serves as the Philippines Signing Minister for BIMP-EAGA, further stated that the new environment pillar will significantly lay the foundation for food security and ecological integrity in the sub-region. The Working Group on Forestry and Environment has already crafted recently a list of possible projects under this strategic pillar.

“We have already proposed to the group a carbon sequestration mechanism through massive tree planting in BIMP-EAGA areas,” said Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) XI Planning and Management Chief, Naomi So, who sits as member of the Working Group.

An exploratory study on establishing a carbon trading bank for BIMP-EAGA countries to be led by DENR in partnership with MinDA was also proposed.

Other proposed projects include setting up a coordinating link between the major environment working group in BIMP-EAGA, such as the Heart of Borneo, Coral Triangle Initiative, and Sulu-Sulawesi Marine Ecoregion.

Brunei Darussalam will also lead an integrated coastal resources management and development training workshop.

“We are advancing the country’s environmental priority programs and projects for Mindanao through our watershed management program or the MindanaNOW (Nurturing our Waters), which we intend to expand across the sub-region,” Antonino said.

MindaNOW is MinDA’s flagship environmental undertaking that pushes for the adoption of river basin and watershed as key platforms for planning. It seeks to provide an enabling mechanism for achieving environmental integrity and sustainable economic development.

Meanwhile, the Philippines will host the first BIMP-EAGA Equator Asia Air Access Forum and Airline CEO Summit, spearheaded by the Department of Tourism (DOT), Department of Transportation and Communications and MinDA.

This activity which is slated in the first quarter, aims to gather top transport and tourism officials from the sub-region to look at the market potentials of each identified travel points.

Philippines identified Davao, Zamboanga, and Puerto Princesa as priority travel points for air services, while Zamboanga-Muara (Brunei), Brooke’s Point-Labuan (Malaysia)-Muara and Davao/GenSan-Bitung were identified for the sea linkages. (MinDA)

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