Monday, April 22

Environment 4th strategic pillar for BIMP-Eaga

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KOTA KINABALU: The Brunei Darussalam-Indonesia-Malaysia-the Philippines – East Asean Growth Area (BIMP-Eaga) ministers have adopted environment management as one of the strategic pillars for sub-regional cooperation in lieu of the global issues on climate change.

“The Philippines successfully pushed for the inclusion of environment as a new strategic pillar in addition to the three major pillars of the sub-region,” said Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA) Luwalhati chairperson, Antonino in a statement here yesterday.

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 recently crafted a list of possible projects under this strategic pillar.

An exploratory study on establishing a carbon trading bank for BIMP-Eaga countries, to be led by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) in partnership with MinDA, was also proposed.

Other proposed projects include the setting up of 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 programmes and projects for Mindanao through our watershed management programme 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 Airlines CEO Summit, spearheaded by the Department of Tourism (DOT), Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC), and MinDA.

This activity slated for the first quarter, aims to gather top transport and tourism officials from the sub-regions, to look at the market potential of each identified travel points.

The 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. —Bernama