(Manila, Friday 7 October 2016) - Today the Mount Mantalingahan Protected Landscape launched the nation's first conservation trust fund for a national protected area, a sustainable financing mechanism that will ensure the key biodiversity area is protected in perpetuity.
Established by Conservation International's (CI) Global Conservation Fund (GCF), the fund ensures conservation efforts can continue across the 120,000-hectare landscape, Palawan's largest terrestrial protected area.
Enrique Nunez, Executive Director of CI Philippines said, "This innovative fund will provide sustainable financing for the long term maintenance, protection and enrichment of the biodiversity within the protected area. Essentially, investing in this fund supports livelihood diversification for the indigenous Palawan people, improving their well-being, and ensures the watershed can continue to provide freshwater to all residents of southern Palawan."
With over half its original forest cover remaining, Mt Mantalingahan–the highest peak in Palawan–holds vital habitat for over 1,000 species, 23 of which are identified as globally threatened including the Palawan pangolin (Manis culionensis), Palawan flying fox (Acerodon leucotis), the Philippine cockatoo (Cacatua haematuropygia), the Palawan peacock pheasant (Polyplectron napoleonis), and the Palawan hornbill (Anthracoceros marchei). New species are still being discovered upon its slopes, highlighting the landscape's outstanding global value and the importance of maintaining this protected area in the face of constant timber-cutting and mining pressures.
Nunez further commented, "This is yet another great step for the MMPL which is already recognised as a highly successful model of conservation. In 2013 it won the first national Best Protected Area–Showcasing Partnership with Civil Society Award, and it is our hope that in time its nomination to become a World Heritage Site will be successful giving it the international recognition it deserves."
CI Philippines's efforts to establish the protected area in southern Palawan began in 2004 with financial support from the GCF. It was formally designated by virtue of a proclamation by the president of the Republic of the Philippines on 23 June of 2009, increasing the area of Palawan under formal protection by 20 percent. Since, management and business plans for the landscape have been completed leading to the establishment of the trust fund.
CI Philippines disbursed the grant of USD$1Million to the Philippine Tropical Forest Conservation Foundation, the endowment manager, as initial capital for the endowment today. The capitalization target is at least US$2.7M million so further investment is needed.
"The trust fund is the first step. Now the challenge to secure a better future for Mantalingahan and the people that depend on it rests on garnering further contributions to increase the endowment capital so that we can ensure this effort endures into the future." said Nunez.
Dr. Theresa Mundita Lim, Director of the Biodiversity Management Bureau of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources said, "We welcome the creation of an endowment fund for Mt.Mantalingahan. 60% of the budget for managing our protected areas comes from the national government which is certainly very limited. Additional funding from other sources can go a long way in protecting the last remaining biodiversity-rich areas in the country."
About Conservation International Philippines
Since 1995, Conservation International Philippines (CI-P) has been working to improve human well-being through the care of nature. With the guiding principle that nature doesn't need people, but people need nature—for food, water, health and livelihoods—CI-P works with the government, private sector and local communities to ensure a healthy, more prosperous nation that supports the well-being of every Filipino. Learn more about CI-P and the Nature Is Speaking campaign in the Philippines, and follow CI's work on Facebook.