FPE-ViFARD-VSU signs Partnership Agreement to implement a P8.4-million project for forest restoration in biodiversity areas | Visayas State University

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The Foundation for the Philippine Environment (FPE) represented by its Chief Executive Officer, Atty. Danny N. Valenzuela; the ViSCA Foundation for Agricultural and Rural Development, Inc. (ViFARD) represented by its Executive Director, Dr. Wolfreda T. Alesna; and the Visayas State University (VSU) represented by its President, Dr. Jose L. Bacusmo, entered into a Partnership Agreement for the implementation of the project "Up-Scaling Forest Restoration Efforts in Key Biodiversity Areas."

The Partnership Agreement was signed between the concerned parties on January 30, 2012 at the VSU Office of the President in the presence of Dr. Paciencia P. Milan, VSU Professor Emeritus, and Dr. Maria Juliet C. Ceniza, Director of the Institute of Tropical Ecology.

The total project cost is P8,458,800, of which P4,759,600 is provided by the FPE who got funding support from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID); P3,618,700 from VSU as implementing partner's cost-share; and P80,500 from the local government unit as its counterpart.

FPE shall release the amount in 18 monthly tranches, in which the project is expected to terminate after 18 months from February 1, 2012 to July 17, 2013.

FPE is a non-stock, non-profit organization located at #77 Matahimik Street, Teachers' Village, Quezon City. The Organization was established with a goal, among others, to initiate, assist and finance projects that support biodiversity conservation and sustainable development efforts in the Philippines.

Considering VSU's capability in implementing research projects in relation to biodiversity conservation and forest restoration, FPE tied up with the University and ViFARD after the USAID awarded a project grant to implement the "Up-Scaling Forest Restoration Efforts in Key Biodiversity Areas" (Project) through its local partners in the Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao regions.

The Project intends to help mitigate the decline of the Philippine forests by enhancing the management and protection of key biodiversity areas and reforesting at least 480 hectares of forest areas in eight target sites and is willing to provide financial grant to implement environment and biodiversity conservation projects. It will look into the following project components: knowledge management, partnership building, natural resource management and sustainability.

ViFARD, on the other hand, has been identified as the local partner for the project area in Mt. Nacolod, Southern Leyte given its track record in project and financial management in support of research and extension projects funded by internal funding agencies and other non-profit organizations. It shall receive the financial grant to fund the implementation of the project and shall disburse the funds in accordance with the approved budget of the project.

VSU, as the co-implementer of the project, through the Institute of Tropical Ecology shall provide the technical expertise for the different components required to successfully implement and achieve the goals of the project.

Based on the four components of the project, the undertaking will look into the institutionalization of site-based knowledge bank/center of forest restoration programs and establishment of a centralized repository of reliable and updated data on the various efforts undertaken on Forest Restoration (FRES); organization of site multi-stakeholder networks/partnerships with forest restoration as its flagship program; development of forest co-management plan spearheaded by business entities and the LGU; and establishment of a FRES Monetary Incentive Fund that will explore innovative financial benefits to individuals, organizations and enterprises whose activities will have concrete and measurable impact in the restoration of degraded forest areas.