A Biodiversity Conservation Strategy for the Cordillera Region, Philippines

A Biodiversity Conservation Strategy for the Cordillera Region, Philippines

By Dr. MICHAEL A. BENGWAYAN

Director, PINE TREE – Cordillera Ecological Educational Training, Research and Information Center

237 Longlong, Puguis, La Trinidad, Benguet 2601, Philippines

www.pinetreephil.org

pinetreephil@yahoo.com

INTRODUCTION

  1. 1. What is Biodiversity ?

The term biological diversity is a comparatively new one and as such is not as yet widely known. In brief, the term refers to the variety of all life on earth, plants animals and micro-organisms, the genes they contain and the ecosystems they form. Biodiversity is not a static concept but recognises the inter-relatedness of all parts of the biological world. It is often considered at three levels: diversity of species – the diversity of all plants and animals, including fungi and micro-organisms; genetic diversity – the variety of genetic material within species; and ecosystems diversity – the variety of ecosystems (e.g. mountain forests, steppe or savannah, deserts etc.). Together these three form the components of biodiversity.

Biodiversity is a source of significant economic, aesthetic, health and cultural benefits which form the foundation for sustainable development. However, there is general scientific consensus that the world is rapidly becoming less biologically diverse in terms of genes, species and ecosystems. The reason for this is clearly anthropogenic. The scale of human impacts on biological diversity has been increasing exponentially primarily because of world-wide patterns of consumption, production, trade; agricultural, industrial and settlements development; and human population growth.

Neither the economic nor the ecosystem value of biodiversity is as yet well understood. In particular, there is insufficient knowledge of the interdependence of species within ecosystems and the impact of the extinction of one species on others. As the world enters the 21st century, reducing the rate of biodiversity loss and conserving still existing biodiversity as the basis of sustainable development remain major global challenges.

2. Biodiversity Importance in the Cordillera

Biological diversity is a vital resource for human beings, both for the global community, for each nation and more so for communities. It is at the heart of economic productivity and livelihood today and its conservation and rational use are an absolute necessity to achieve sustainable development. In addition, its protection and maintenance is an insurance policy for future generations – even forms of life that may appear to provide no human benefit now may become important as conditions change over the coming centuries.

From both wild and domesticated components of biodiversity, humanity derives all of its food and many of its medicines and industrial products. Economic benefits from wild species alone make up an estimated 4.5% of GDP of industrialised countries such as the USA. For less developed countries this proportion can be much higher. The current commercial value of domesticated plant and animal species is even greater – for example in Philippine  agricultural production accounts for up to 15 % of GDP. Many benefits, particularly in less developed countries, may not be well represented in purely economic terms but are nonetheless critical for peoples livelihoods. For example, in the uplands of the Philippines  three out of four people look to wildlife for most of their protein and for almost 80% of people in developing countries traditional medicines from the wild form the basis of primary health care. Even in modern pharmaceuticals, around one-fourth of prescriptions contain active ingredients extracted from plants and this probably represents only a small proportion of potentially useful substances not yet discovered.

Biological diversity in its totality forms the living biosphere in which human beings, along with all other species, inhabit and depend upon for their survival. In the remote past, human actions were trivial when set against the dominant processes of nature. This is no longer true and as the human race approaches the close of the 21st Century it is clear from threats of climate change, desertification, land degradation, etc., that at both a national and global level we are using up and destroying the very basis of our future survival.

To the indigenous peoples of the Cordillera, biodiversity is as important as land and water. Yet, it is sad that while many advocates of indigenous rights clamor for land and water source ownership, many indigenous peoples themselves are now part of those who are destroying biodiversity. The old traditional systems that used to protect biodiversity is being lost and it may not be long before these are totally forgotten.

3. The Biodiversity Convention and the Philippines

In the past, biodiversity protection was not a significant concern in the development programmes of most countries. In recent years, however, that has begun to change as a widening understanding and appreciation of the problems faced in the world and importance of biodiversity in that context has developed. Today, the protection of biological diversity has become a recognised priority on the global agenda and thus also within the development goals and plans of nations.

A key step in this direction is the Convention on Biological Diversity, which was signed at the 1992 UN Conference on Environment and Development (Rio Earth Summit) by 156 countries. It entered into force as international law in 1993 and by the end of 1995, nearly 120 nations had ratified the convention, including Philippines. The central objectives of the convention are:

  • to conserve the diversity of the Earths biological resources, whether terrestrial or aquatic, including plants, animals and micro-organisms
  • to ensure that countries use their biological resources in ways that are sustainable in agriculture, forestry and fisheries
  • to promote the fair and equitable sharing of genetic resources and the benefits that result from them.

The convention requires governments to take action to ensure that their management and development of natural resources is consistant with the protection and sustainable use of biodiversity. This involves assessing national economic structures and policies to determine how to build economic arrangements which promote conservation and sustainable use. In addition the Convention stipulates that the Parties to the Convention – i.e. those countries whose legislative bodies have agreed to be bound by the treaty – must take a number of actions, including:

  • development of national strategies for conservation and sustainable use of biological resources
  • promotion of public education and awareness
  • establishment of training and research programmes
  • provide due recognition of biodiversity issues during development via the Environmental Impact Assessment process (EIA)
  • promotion of technical and scientific co-operation between parties.

BIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY IN THE PHILIPPINES

The world’s second largest archipelago country after Indonesia, the Philippines includes more than 7,100 islands covering 297,179 km2 in the westernmost Pacific Ocean. The Philippines lies north of Indonesia and directly east of Vietnam. The country is one of the few nations that is, in its entirety, both a hotspot and a megadiversity country, placing it among the top priority hotspots for global conservation

The archipelago is formed from a series of isolated fragments that have long and complex geological histories, some dating back 30-50 million years. With at least 17 active volcanoes, these islands are part of the “Ring of Fire” of the Pacific Basin. The archipelago stretches over 1,810 kilometers from north to south. Northern Luzon is only 240 kilometers from Taiwan (with which it shares some floristic affinities), and the islands off southwestern Palawan are only 40 kilometers from Malaysian Borneo. The island of Palawan, which is separated from Borneo by a channel some 145 meters deep, has floristic affinities with both the Philippines and Borneo in the Sundaland Hotspot, and strong faunal affinities with the Sunda Shelf.

Hundreds of years ago, most of the Philippine islands were covered in rain forest. The bulk of the country was blanketed by lowland rainforests dominated by towering dipterocarps (Dipterocarpaceae), prized for their beautiful and straight hardwood. At higher elevations, the lowland forests are replaced by montane and mossy forests that consist mostly of smaller trees and vegetation. Small regions of seasonal forest, mixed forest and savanna, and pine-dominated cloud forest covered the remaining land area.

Unique and Threatened Biodiversity

The patchwork of isolated islands, the tropical location of the country, and the once extensive areas of rainforest have resulted in high species diversity in some groups of organisms and a very high level of endemism. There are five major and at least five minor centers of endemism, ranging in size from Luzon, the largest island (103,000 km2), which, for example, has at least 31 endemic species of mammals, to tiny Camiguin Island (265 km2) speck of land north of Mindanao, which has at least two species of endemic mammals. The Philippines has among the highest rates of discovery in the world with sixteen new species of mammals discovered in the last ten years. Because of this, the rate of endemism for the Philippines has risen and likely will continue to rise.

Plants

At the very least, one-third of the more than 9,250 vascular plant species native to the Philippines are endemic. Plant endemism in the hotspot is mostly concentrated at the species level; there are no endemic plant families and 26 endemic genera. Gingers, begonias, gesneriads, orchids, pandans, palms, and dipterocarps are particularly high in endemic species. For example, there are more than 150 species of palms in the hotspot, and around two-thirds of these are found nowhere else in the world. Of the 1,000 species of orchids found in the Philippines, 70 percent are restricted to the hotspot.

The broad lowland and hill rain forests of the Philippines, which are mostly gone today, were dominated by at least 45 species of dipterocarps. These massive trees were the primary canopy trees from sea level to 1,000 meters. Other important tree species here include giant figs (Ficus spp.), which provide food for fruit bats, parrots, and monkeys, and Pterocarpus indicus, like the dipterocarps, is valued for its timber.

Vertebrates

Birds

There are over 530 bird species found in the Philippines hotspot; about 185 of these are endemic (35 percent) and over 60 are threatened. BirdLife International has identified seven Endemic Bird Areas (EBAs in this hotspot: Mindoro, Luzon, Negros and Panay, Cebu, Mindanao and the Eastern Visayas, the Sulu archipelago, and Palawan. Like other taxa, birds exhibit a strong pattern of regional endemism. Each EBA supports a selection of birds not found elsewhere in the hotspot. The hotspot also has a single endemic bird family, the Rhabdornithidae, represented by the Philippine creepers (Rhabdornis spp.). In May 2004, a possibly new species of rail Gallirallus was observed on Calayan island in the Babuyan islands, northern Philippines. It is apparently most closely related to the Okinawa rail (Gallirallus okinawae) from the Ryukyu islands, Japan.

Perhaps the best-known bird species in the Philippines is the Philippine eagle (Pithecophaga jefferyi, CR), the second-largest eagle in the world. The Philippine eagle breeds only in primary lowland rain forest. Habitat destruction has extirpated the eagle everywhere except on the islands of Luzon, Mindanao and Samar, where the only large tracts of lowland rain forest remain. Today, the total population is estimated at less than 700 individuals. Captive breeding programs have been largely unsuccessful; habitat protection is the eagle’s only hope for survival.

Among the hotspots other threatened endemic species are the Negros bleeding art (Gallicolumba keayi, CR), Visayan wrinkled hornbill (Aceros waldeni, CR), Scarlet-collared flowerpecker (Dicaeum retrocinctum, VU), Cebu flowerpecker (Dicaeum quadricolor, CR), and Philippine cockatoo (Cacatua haematuropygia, CR).

Mammals

At least 165 mammal species are found in the Philippine hotspot, and over 100 of these are endemic (61 percent), one of the highest levels of mammal endemism in any hotspot. Endemism is high at the generic level as well, with 23 of 83 genera endemic to the hotspot. Rodent diversification in the Philippines is comparable with the radiation of honeycreepers in the Hawaiian Islands and finches in the Galapagos.

The largest and most impressive of the mammals in the Philippines is the tamaraw (Bubalus mindorensis, CR), a dwarf water buffalo that lives only on Mindoro Island. A century ago the population numbered 10,000 individuals; today only a few hundred animals exist in the wild. Other mammals endemic to the Philippines include: the Visayan and Philippine warty pigs (Sus cebifrons, CR and S. philippensis, VU); the Calamianes hog-deer (Axis calamaniensis, EN) and the Visayan spotted deer (Rusa alfredi, EN), which has been reduced to a population of a few hundred on the islands of Negros, Masbate and Panay; and the golden-capped fruit bat (Acerodon jubatus, EN), which, as the world’s largest bat, has a wingspan up to 1.7 meters.

The Negros naked-backed fruit bat (Dobsonia chapmani), which was thought to be extinct in the Philippines, has recently been rediscovered, on the islands of Cebu in 2000 and Negros in 2003.

Reptiles

Reptiles are represented by about 235 species, some 160 of which are endemic (68 percent). Six genera are endemic, including the snake genus Myersophis, which is represented by a single species, Myersophis alpestris, on Luzon. The Philippine flying lizards from the genus Draco are well represented here, with about 10 species. These lizards have a flap of skin on either side of their body, which they use to glide from trees to the ground.

An endemic freshwater crocodile (Crocodylus mindorensis, CR) is considered the most threatened crocodilian in the world. In 1982, wild populations totaled only 500-1000 individuals; by 1995 a mere 100 crocodiles remained in natural habitats. The recent discovery of a population of this species in the Sierra Madre of Luzon brings new hope for its conservation, as does the implementation of projects aimed at raising awareness and protecting the crocodile’s habitat. The Crocodile Rehabilitation, Observance and Conservation (CROC) Project of the Mabuwaya Foundation is active in carrying out such projects.

Other unique and threatened reptiles include Gray’s monitor (Varanus olivaceus, VU) and the Philippine pond turtle (Heosemys leytensis, CR). A newly discovered monitor lizard, Varanus mabitang, from Panay is only the second monitor species known in the world to specialize on a fruit diet.

Amphibians

There are nearly 90 amphibian species in the hotspot, almost 85 percent of which are endemic; these totals continue to increase, with the continuing discovery and description of new species. One interesting amphibian, the panther flying frog (Rhacophorus pardalis), has special adaptations for gliding, including extra flaps of skin and webbing between fingers and toes to generate lift during glides. The frog glides down from trees to breed in plants suspended above stagnant bodies of water. The frog genus Platymantis is particularly well represented with some 26 species, all of which are endemic; of these, 22 are considered threatened. The young of all Platymantis species undergo direct development, bypassing the tadpole stage. The hotspot is also home to the Philippine flat-headed frog (Barbourula busuangensis, VU), one of the world’s most primitive frog species.

Freshwater Fishes

The Philippines has more than 280 inland fish, including nine endemic genera and more than 65 endemic species, many of which are confined to single lakes. An example is Sardinella tawilis, a freshwater sardine found only in Taal Lake. Sadly, Lake Lanao, in Mindanao, seems likely to have become the site of one of the hotspots worst extinction catastrophes, with nearly all of the lakes endemic fish species now almost certainly extinct, primarily due to the introduction of exotic species (like Tilapia).

Invertebrates

About 70 percent of the Philippines nearly 21,000 recorded insect species are found only in this hotspot. About one-third of the 915 butterflies found here are endemic to the Philippines, and over 110 of the more than 130 species of tiger beetle are found nowhere else.

B. Strategy Statement

In the light of the above analysis the critical areas the national biodiversity strategy must address have been identified, in order of priority, as follows.

1. Alternative  Protected Areas System

It is recognized that the currently existing protected areas system in the Cordillera has limitations in regard to its overall size, representiveness, conceptual approach, financing, legal framework and management / institutions. It is also clear that the Cordillera region has undergone a very serious decline in its biodiversity in the past 30 years which threatens the continued viability of ecosystems and the countries prospects for sustainable development.

To not only survive but also to expand, as is clearly necessary to meet conservation needs, the protected areas system must develop a conceptual and methodological approach which meets new socio-economic and political realities. It must be able to justify its cost (both financially and from exclusion of other use) by providing clear benefits to national sustainable development – it must limit the extent of those costs by providing economic and social benefits to citizens of the republic, particularly those living in or around protected areas – and it must ensure the conservation of biodiversity and natural landscape essential for the economic, social and cultural needs of future generations.

Thus, a review, reorganization and expansion of the protected system will be carried out over a five year period (2008 – 20012). During this activity the guiding principles and targets will include:

  • Use of an ecosystems approach to the creation of the new protected areas system: The past concentration on high profile or endangered species for protected areas selection has contributed to the current unrepresentative system.
  • A target of a protected areas system which covers a minimum of 10% of the total land area of Cordillera: Currently, the protected areas system covers approximately 2% of the region’s total land area. Though at the present time there is insufficient data available to be able to determine the exact extent of coverage necessary to achieve biodiversity conservation requirements, current levels are clearly inadequate. In the absence of this data, the international recommend figure of 10% protected areas coverage is being adopted for the initial strategic planning period of 10 years.
  • An integrated mixed use approach to protected areas expansion and development: Since independence there has been a move away from the previous approach of total protection towards zoned and mixed land use areas within National Parks. The rationale behind this change of approach is twofold – firstly, it is recognized from both international and local experience that the expansion and maintenance of totally protected state reserves  will prove problematic in the future due to financial costs and increased demographic and socio-economic pressures – secondly, the development of mixed use protected areas, in addition to being more likely to achieve long term conservation goals, will also provide the basis for the development of models for the sustainable utilization of biodiversity which can be duplicated in the rest of the country. Thus this approach will be further developed and will form the basis for the new protected areas system

2. Public Awareness, Participation and Education

For the strategy to be successful it is essential that sufficient awareness and understanding of the conceptual basis, benefits and needs of biodiversity sustainable use and conservation are conveyed to all levels of the general public, particularly decision makers, local government administrators and communities close or within protected areas and the youth of the nation. In addition there is a need to encourage the participation of the public in conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity as this will be the most effective means of engendering understanding and genuine public support for actions required to conserve biodiversity.

It is recognized that this process will take time and will be a component of a general deepening understanding and awareness of the country for environmental issues. However the strategy identifies priority actions required to begin this process including: increasing the knowledge base of decision makers; developing appropriate media and local awareness programs; revision and development of school and university curricula; and development of public participation mechanisms in protected areas.

  1. 2. Sustainable Use

Though elements of sustainable use of biodiversity resources, such as regulated hunting, collection of medicinal plants need to be regulated– the overall conceptual approach, incorporating the multitude of economic and non-economic benefits, is comparatively new. A step by step approach to the strengthening and development of sustainable use mechanisms will therefore be used starting with the strengthening and refining of existing regulatory aspects, and the development within the protected areas systems of sustainable use approaches which maybe applicable outside at a later point in time. In addition, during the initial implementation of the strategy, investigations into realistic and appropriate sustainable use options will be undertaken on the basis of available local resources and international experience in this subject area. Secondary priorities to be addressed at a later point in the strategy operational period will include the development of options identified during the initial stages. For the sake of organizational clarity, sustainable uses have been subdivided into three sub-components:

  • Economic Use: This includes uses such as hunting, tourism, non-timber products, etc., upon which fairly exact economic values can be assigned but in addition covers aspects such as water catchment protection and desertification prevention, which are more difficult to value monetarily but which have clear economic importance to the region. An extremely important point, in the context of the growing poverty in rural areas, is that sustainable use must be carried out by people at the grassroots if it is to succeed. If they are to be committed to such use they must derive direct benefits from it
  • Scientific and Educational Use: This component includes use of natural areas as living laboratories for scientific research which forms the basis for improved understanding, conservation and use of biodiversity resources. In addition, natural areas are the basic resource for ecological education.

Cultural and Recreational Use: The Cordillera is an old region with a strong  sense of  cultural and historical heritage – the nature and landscape of the region are an integral part of that heritage, representative components of which must be conserved. Secondly, region is rapidly growing and youthful population with increasing recreational needs. The availability of natural areas will be important in meeting these needs.

4. Justification for Strategic Priorities

The above important areas have been identified as the three essential issues for the region to address at this time for it to meet its sustainable development needs in this sector. Actions under this strategy will allow for meeting priority issues, such as:

  • the creation of an effective and sustainable protected areas system which is targeted at achieving representative biodiversity conservation and protection of environmental quality;
  • increased awareness and education on biodiversity issues at all levels to ensure support, commitment and participation to actions;
  • evaluation, assessment and development of sustainable use of biodiversity and equitable sharing of benefits.

Protected areas development has been identified as the area of first priority because of the need for immediate actions to reduce rapid loss of biodiversity, to address urgent problems facing protected areas management and to take advantage of the current momentum for reform in the region.

Public awareness, education and participation have been allocated second highest priority mainly because it is recognized that achievements in these areas will require time. However, they are vital components for the strategies long term success.

Sustainable use has been allocated third priority for two reasons: firstly, a number of issues / actions relevant to sustainable use will form components of protected areas development and public awareness, education and participation. Secondly, utilization of the full potential of biological resources is a comparatively new concept in Uzbekistan, as elsewhere, and one which will initially require some evaluation and assessment before concrete action is undertaken.

Action Plan: Goals, Steps, and Outputs


1. The System of Protected Areas

Introduction: The Action Plan consists of 5 sections: (1) Protected Area System; (2) Public Awareness, Participation, and Education; (3) Sustainable Use of Biodiversity Resources; (4) Regional and Local-level Biodiversity Action Plans; (5) Co-ordination of International Relations and Aid in the Field of biodiversity.

Every section contains subsections that list actions taking which are required for meeting the objectives of the section.

An action description contains the entry putting down organisational context and responsibilities  showing steps to reach the desired result, and, finally, the conclusive entry designating the result. For the sake of clarity different-type entries are marked with distinct symbols, as follows:

indicates organisational structure
indicates steps required
indicates output.

1. The System of Protected Areas

1.1. The Institutional and Legal Provisions
1.2. Protected Areas System Reorganization and Expansion
1.3 Management of Protected Areas
1.4. National Biodiversity Information System
1.5. Captive Breeding and Ex-Situ Conservation

Overall Objective: To establish a sustainable and diversified system of protected areas with strong legal protection and effective management which is properly representative of the range of Cordillera  ecosystems and species and which covers at least 10% of the region.

1.1. The Institutional and Legal Provisions

Section 1.1 Objective: To develop the institutional and legal basis for development and management of an expanded and reorganized protected areas system

1.1.1 Review existing institutional arrangements for administration and management of protected areas and an introduction of changes to ensure their adequacy.

A specially established group (commission) of independent experts (specialists from Academe, DENR, DA, legal counsels, NCIP, NGOs) will:
review the existing institutional arrangements for the management of protected areas, identify priority problems and changes required to meet the new approach developed
on the basis of the above, the commission will prepare recommendations concerning reforms required to the existing distribution of institutional responsibility for administration of different categories of protected areas (i.e. which institution will have responsibility for strict nature reserves, which for national parks and which for other areas, etc.)
submit recommendations to the National Commission for Biodiversity (NCB) for clearance and forwarding to Government of the Republic of the Philippines

1.1.2. Review of the legislation on protected areas

To establish a group of experts to analyse the existing legislation on protected areas, which will:
analyse the existing legislation, and determine its completeness and adequacy in the context of its reorganisation and reform.
prepare the relevant proposals for making changes in or additions to the legislation and submit it to the Government of the Republic of the Philippines  for approval.

1.2. Protected Areas System Reorganization and Expansion

Section 1.2 Objective: to develop a program to create a reorganized and expanded protected areas system which best meets the biodiversity conservation and development needs of the country under the new political and socio economic conditions.

1.2.1. Develop and formalize a new conceptual approach to protected areas design and management which will best meet the biodiversity conservation and development needs of the country under the new political and socio-economic conditions.

To organise a independent group of experts to develop recommendations on the general objectives and methodological approach of the national protected areas system. This group will:
analyse the current objectives and methodological approach of theprotected areas system in the region and examine international experience in this field
develop the conceptual basis for a new protected areas system and its role in the natural resources management policy of the country, taking into account Cordillera’s specific environmental and socio-economic situation and known international best practices.
submit a report to Action Plan Co-ordination Group (APCG)

1.2.2 Protected Areas Categories and Selection Criteria

establish a group of experts to determine, in the context of the above report, new categories of protected areas and selection criteria for their establishment
review international norms, recent experience in other  countries and the existing situation in the Philippines and the region.
submit recommendations for required categories of protected areas in Region, and criteria for their selection and establishment to the APCG

1.2.3 Ecological and Land Use Mapping for National Protected Areas Planning:

Establish a group of independent experts including biologists, geographers, specialists in landscape science, cartographers and foresters to prepare basic maps including
large scale maps of existing network of protected areas
maps of ecological systems of country indicated areas requiring priority protection

1.2.4. Development of a National Ecological Network Program(protected areas of various categories/status), its approval and realization.

The Action Plan Co-ordination Group, on the basis of reports and criteria submitted by expert groups, will:
identify existing areas which require reorganisation / changing of category (status).
identify the areas with potential for expansion of current protected areas, and creation of new protected areas
consult with current land users of areas identified and local governments to ensure practical conditions exist for expansion of existing areas / creation of new areas.
prepare plan of action for realisation of National Ecological Network Programme , detailing recommended expansion / reorganisation of existing areas and creation of new areas
submit proposed programme to the national Commission for Biodiversity (NCB) for passing to the Government for clearance

1.2.5 Implementation of plan of action for realizing the National Program of Ecological Network

APCG to ensure appropriate measures are taken for the realisation of the National Ecological Network of protected areas.

1.3 Management of Protected Areas

Section 1.3 Objective: To identify the changes required in order to effectively manage the reorganized and expanded protected areas system developed under section 1.2 and develop a program to carry out necessary changes

1.3.1 Protected Areas Management Structure

Establish a group of experts from the institutions responsible for management of protected areas which will:
Assess current management structure of protected areas system, and on the basis of international and local experience identify changes in management structure required for effective management of reorganised protected areas system., at both protected areas level and central administration levels.
Identify mechanisms for ensuring effective co-ordination and co-operation between national institutions responsible for management of protected areas within the republic and also those of bordering countries
Identify mechanisms for ensuring practical involvement of local government and other local level organisations including NGOs and community groups, in management of protected areas.
Submit to APCG a report outlining necessary changes to current management structures required and co-ordination /co-operation measures needed.

1.3.2. Protected Areas Personnel: Assessment of personnel expertise and sufficiency of numbers to implement the reorganized protected areas system and recommendations for action.

A group of experts from institutions responsible for management of protected areas shall:
identify the gaps between existing technical knowledge/expertise of protected areas managers/staff and those required to implement the reorganisation of the protected areas management.
develop a national programme for addressing gaps in protected areas personnel technical knowledge and expertise including: the development of national and local facilities for training / retraining of managerial and field staff of protected areas; and .utilisation of international experience through study tours/overseas training
identify potential sources of international technical and training support (training facilities and financing of training)
work out optimal and sufficient number of employees for protected areas of various status in the context of reorganised protected areas system
submit a report to APCG detailing needs in terms of protected areas personnel training and numbers and recommended actions.

1.3.3. Scientific Research and Monitoring for Protected Areas Management

An expert group including members of institutions involved in protected areas management, protected areas field staff and academe will:
identify the basic research required within protected areas of different category / status for monitoring and decision making purposes
design standard research and monitoring programmes for each category of protected area
submit proposed standard research and monitoring programmes to APCG for review and action.

1.3.4. Determination of the levels of existing equipment and supplies for protected areas management and identify needs in the context of the reorganized protected areas system.

The group of experts from institutions responsible for management shall :
carry out an analysis of the current levels of technical equipment and supplies for the protected areas:
identify the standard equipment and supplies that will in the future be required by protected areas of different category / status within the reorganised system
submit proposals to the APCG for introduction of changes into the level of technical equipment and supplies provided to protected areas of different category / status

1.3.5. Determination of financial resources required for development of reorganized protected areas system. and identify sources for these financial resources

A group of independent experts shall consider the level of budgetary financing required for the reorganised protected areas system for the initial 5 years of the action plan implementation and
calculate budget estimates for both development requirements in protected areas and annual recurrent costs based on the reports submitted (actions 1.3.1, 1.3.2, 1.3.3).
identify sources of financing for development and annual recurrent costs (i.e. state sources, funds generated by protected areas, international sources for specific developments)
submit report to APCG for consideration and action
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