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U.S. and Philippines Expand Cooperation on Biodiversity Conservation and Water Security
May 28, 2021

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(Center) Department of Environment and Natural Resources Secretary Roy Cimatu and USAID Deputy Mission Director Sean Callahan sign a Memorandum of Understanding to strengthen partnership between the U.S. and Philippine governments on protecting the country’s natural resources.

Manila, May 28, 2021— As the United States marks its 75th year of diplomatic relations with the Republic of the Philippines, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Philippine Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) have agreed to advance their cooperation to protect the Philippines’ rich natural resources and improve access to clean water and sanitation.

In February, USAID and the Philippine government, through the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA), signed a four-year, Php7.25-billion ($150 million) agreement to protect the environment, promote sustainable use of natural resources, and reduce risks from natural disasters. On May 27, USAID and the DENR signed the sub-agreements to implement two projects under that agreement: the Sustainable Interventions for Biodiversity, Oceans and Landscapes (SIBOL) and Safe Water Project.

SIBOL is a five-year, Php1.1-billion ($22 million) project that improves natural resource governance, stimulates public and private sector investments in conservation, and reduces environmental crime, leading to greater environmental stability and inclusive green growth.

The Safe Water Project is a five-year, Php870-million ($18.4 million) project that helps improve water security for vulnerable and underserved communities. Working with both the national and local governments, Safe Water supports increased access to resilient water supply and sanitation services, improves the sustainable management of water resources, and strengthens governance and regulation of the water sector.

“The long history of the partnership between DENR and USAID has been fruitful, and together we have achieved much in creating a more secure environment that sustains both ecological integrity and human development,” said Acting USAID Philippines Mission Director Sean Callahan. “As we mark the 75th anniversary of the diplomatic relations between the United States and the Philippines this year, I am truly optimistic that these MOUs will help us achieve many more milestones together as we work toward our shared goal of inclusive and resilient growth for all Filipinos.”

Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu said he is looking forward to the partnership. “Given the current pandemic, the DENR is committed more than ever to address the country’s environmental challenges. USAID, a consistent and effective ally of the DENR, has also supported us in creating sustainable models which guided us for the management of our ecosystems. Together, through these projects, we will advance our shared goals of environmental sustainability and improve the lives of Filipino communities.”

Since 2014, USAID has provided more than Php5 billion ($100 million) to help conserve the Philippines’ biodiversity and protect its natural resources.