Philippines’ greening program, a global model for inclusive reforestation

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By Leslie D. Venzon

JEJU ISLAND, Korea, Sept. 6 (PNA) — Biodiverse developing countries can emulate the success of the Philippines’ National Greening Program (NGP) which proves that inclusive reforestation is a viable model.

The country’s greening program was among the case studies of progress towards inclusive green growth highlighted by the Global Green Growth Institute (GGGI), which is holding a week-long global forum here.

“A global model for inclusive reforestation is possible,” the Seoul-based international organization said in a paper.

The paper said the Philippine NGP proves that ambitious targets combined with inclusive processes on the ground can deliver “impressive land-use greening and greater-than-expected results”, by including communities whose livelihoods are most affected.

The GGGI believes the stronger processes and explicit inclusion targets to match environmental ones can take NGP even further in the Philippines.

“But the level of environmental and social progress – compared with previous, less inclusive initiatives – is a laudable success and a model to be recommended,” it said.

The Philippine government initiated a USD650-million massive forest rehabilitation program that aims to plant 1.5 billion trees in 1.5 million hectares across the country from 2011 to 2016. The level of planting even exceeded planned annual targets in 2011 to 2013.

Apart from its reforestation goal, the NGP was designed to promote inclusion by helping provide alternative livelihood activities for marginalized upland and lowland groups.

A study has indicated that the greening program had employed 1.18 million people from upland and rural communities in reforestation activities as of 2013.

“In circumstances where major tree-planting programs are often top-down impositions on local development, the NGP strove to combine ambitious green objectives with effective, equitable and sustainable social benefits,” added the paper released by GGGI.

Amid its success, suggestions for further improving the inclusivity of the NGP program include a cumulative target of assisting 4.5 million local and indigenous people in securing land-use tenancy of the reforested areas, with the goal of ensuring self-ownership and management for all by the project’s end this year, another study said.

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