FEED is a signatory of the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD)’s Business & Biodiversity Pledge, which “provides an opportunity for business leaders to call attention to the importance of biodiversity and ecosystem services for businesses and to reaffirm their commitment to take positive action in support of biodiversity. The timing is urgent, given the findings by the Global Biodiversity Outlook 4 that efforts are not on track to achieve the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020 and the Aichi Biodiversity Targets. The enhanced engagement of all stakeholders, in particular businesses, is critical in order to achieve the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020.”
Our Commitment and Call for Action
We pledge to take concrete actions that deliver solutions for the conservation of biodiversity, its sustainable use, and the fair and equitable sharing of benefits from genetic resources, by:
- Understanding, measuring and, where feasible, valuing our companies’ impacts and dependencies on biodiversity and ecosystem services;
- Taking action to minimize negative impacts and optimize positive impacts on biodiversity;
- Developing biodiversity management plans, including actions to address supply chains;
- Regularly reporting on our companies’ impacts and dependencies on biodiversity and ecosystem services;
- Promoting awareness about the values of biodiversity among our employees, managers, shareholders, partners, suppliers, consumers, and across the business and finance communities;
- Acting as ambassadors for responsible stewardship of biodiversity, focusing on the economic opportunities and solutions, and helping to strengthen and disseminate the business case for better integration of biodiversity considerations into decision-making by businesses;
- Engaging in opportunities to share our companies’ experiences and progress made, with a view to encouraging other companies and organizations to act as well;
- Taking steps to mobilize resources to support such concrete actions on biodiversity and assist, as appropriate, in accounting for and tracking these resources; and
- Providing information on actions undertaken and achievements in addressing the above.
We call on:
- governments and policy makers to engage with businesses as they implement their obligations under international biodiversity conventions, and to create the necessary policy conditions that will encourage the mainstreaming of biodiversity and sustainability considerations into their day-to-day activities, business models and risk frameworks;
- businesses around the world to join us, and · the global community to work with us in achieving this pledge.
Status and Trends of Biodiversity, including Benefits from Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services in the Philippines
The Philippines is one of 18 mega-biodiverse countries of the world, containing two-thirds of the earth’s biodiversity and between 70% and 80% of the world’s plant and animal species.
- The Philippines ranks fifth in the number of plant species and maintains 5% of the world’s flora.
- Species endemism is very high, covering at least 25 genera of plants and 49% of terrestrial wildlife, while the country ranks fourth in bird endemism. The Philippines is also one of the world’s biodiversity hotspots with at least 700 threatened species, thus making it one of the top global conservation areas.
- The national list of threatened faunal species was established in 2004 and includes 42 species of land mammals, 127 species of birds, 24 species of reptiles and 14 species of amphibians.
- In terms of fishes, the Philippines counts at least 3,214 species, of which about 121 are endemic and 76 threatened.
- In 2007, an administrative order issued by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources established a national list of threatened plant species, indicating that 99 species were critically endangered, 187 were endangered, 176 vulnerable as well as 64 other threatened species.
This unique biodiversity is supported by a large variety of ecosystems, landscapes and habitats, most of which are also greatly threatened by human activities. According to the FAO definition, the Philippines has 7.2 million ha of forest ecosystems, comprising approximately 24% of the total land area. It is however estimated that, between 2000 and 2005, the Philippines lost 2.1% of its forest cover annually, representing the second fastest rate of deforestation in Southeast Asia (second to Myanmar) and seventh in the world. The country’s agricultural ecosystem is also noteworthy.
The Philippines is part of the center of diversity of rice, coconut, mung bean, taro and yam, as well as the center of origin and diversity of bananas in Southeast Asia. Yet this agricultural biodiversity is nowadays experiencing general decline, as is the land area devoted to these activities.
The trend is similar for inland water biodiversity, with findings indicating a decreasing trend in water quality, fish, biodiversity and cultural value in the country’s largest lake (Laguna de Bay) and its tributary rivers. The Philippines presents unique coastal, marine and island biodiversity. It is indeed located within the Coral Triangle, at the center of highest marine biodiversity.
A study conducted in 2005 noted that there is a higher concentration of species per unit area in the country than anywhere in Indonesia and Wallacea. Yet this ecosystem is also greatly at risk. While the 2005 review of the state of the marine and coastal environment indicated an increase in the mangrove cover, reef cover, seagrass cover and fishery production are nowadays decreasing substantially.
The Philippines derives large benefits from ecosystems. In particular, the country recognizes the important role played by watersheds, river basins and coastal areas in the environment and in society as a source of livelihood (supporting fisheries, recreation and tourism and many other activities). For instance, a watershed with adequate forest cover provides water that supports lowland agriculture, prevents soil erosion and siltation of coasts and water bodies, and sustains the supply of surface and groundwater for domestic use. Likewise, the forest ecosystem provides ecological services that benefit agriculture, industries, water and power needs. Production forest areas for tree plantations and agroforestry activities are sources of jobs and revenues, with agriculture having represented 18.4% of the country’s GDP in 2007.
Main pressures on and drivers of change to biodiversity (direct and indirect)
Threats to biodiversity differ from one ecosystem to another. In the forest ecosystem, the primary causes of forest loss are commercial exploitation and population growth (including lifestyle and consumption patterns) and the introduction of invasive alien species.
Loss of biodiversity in the agricultural ecosystem is a direct consequence of habitat destruction via conversion of agricultural land to other uses; the possible negative impacts of biotechnology; natural calamities or extreme weather events associated with climate change; introduction of invasive alien species, pests and diseases; and inherent institutional problems of government agencies responsible for conserving agrobiodiversity. Yet the observed decline is also the indirect result of the increased demand for food, land and other agro-based resources; pursuit of economic growth through intensive agriculture, export-oriented policies and the promotion of extractive industries, such as mining, that are potentially damaging to the environment; and lifestyle change of farmers brought about by urbanization. Major threats to inland water biodiversity, as well as marine and coastal environments, include chemical pollution and eutrophication, fisheries operations, habitat alteration, invasion of alien species and global climate change.
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