Wetlands conservation in the Philippines and the ASEAN region
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Recently, Anada Tiega (Ramsar Secretary-General) and Lew Young (Senior Regional Advisor for Asia-Oceania) attended this year’s Asia Water Week which was organised by the Asian Development Bank in Manila, Philippines from 13 to 15 March. The theme of the meeting was "Securing Water for All" and was divided under three main themes that of basin water management, urban water services and rural water services. The meeting was also an opportunity to launch the ADB’s ‘Asia Water Development Outlook 2013’ (downloadable from http://www.adb.org/sites/default/files/pub/2013/asian-water-development-outlook-2013.pdf). This gave a stark assessment of the water security situation in the Asia-Pacific region with nearly two thirds of people not having any clean, piped water at home despite the region’s strong economic growth. This problem was blamed on the poor management and a lack of investment in infrastructure rather than short supplies. At the end of the week, Mr. Tiega gave a presentation to the staff of the Asian Development Bank about the recently released report on ‘TEEB for Water and Wetlands’ which was well received.
|Undersecretary Ignacio and S-G Tiega|
The visit to Manila was also a good opportunity to meet with the Ramsar Administrative Authority and other partners to discuss issues relating to the implementation of the Ramsar Convention. One of these was meetings with the managers of the Tubbataha Reef Ramsar Site, located in the Sulu Sea, which is one of the most important coral reefs in the world. In January 2013, a foreign naval boat ran aground on the site, causing 4,000m2 of damage to the reef. The boat is presently being dismantled for removal while local experts have visited the site to assess ways to help the site recover. A proposal to find financial support for the recovery work has also been drafted by the management authority, backed by the Ramsar Secretariat.
|Coral reef on Tubbataha Reef Ramsar Site (© Gregg Yan)|
The Ramsar Information Sheet and map for the Las Piñas-Parañaque Critical Habitat and Ecotourism Area (LPPCHEA) on the shore of Manila Bay was also completed, so allowing it to be formally Listed as a Wetland of International Importance (Ramsar Site) by the Ramsar Secretary-General during his visit. A ceremony also took place where Mr. Anada Tiega handed over the certificate of the site to Mr. Demetrio Ignacio, the Undersecretary for the Department of Environment and Natural Resources.
|View of LPPCHEA|
Meetings were also held with representatives from the ASEAN Centre for Biodiversity with whom the Ramsar Convention signed a Memorandum of Understanding in 2011. These meetings were used to update the joint workplan which will include holding joint workshops and inviting the other organisations to join any relevant activity that may be held in the ASEAN region later in 2013.
|Children collecting clams on the shores of LPPCHEA|
Report by Lew Young, Senior Regional Advisor for Asia-Oceania. Photos by Lew Young and Gregg Yan.