MANILA – There is an urgent need to sharpen our national as well as local policies and strengthen the enforcement of environmental laws and regulations to protect our natural ecosystems, manage competing uses of scarce natural resources, and promote sustainable development, according to the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA).

 This is in line with the results and of the Philippine Wealth Accounting and the Valuation of Ecosystem Services or Phil-WAVES Study on Experimental Ecosystem Accounts for Laguna Lake and Southern Palawan, which were released on October 12, 2015 in a press briefing.

 “As the findings suggest, we need to improve the management of the environment and natural resources in these pilot areas. As these areas are microcosms of the state of the country’s ecosystems, this improvement is critical for growth to be inclusive and sustainable,” said NEDA Deputy-Director General Emmanuel F. Esguerra.

 The Philippine Development Plan 2011-2016 Midterm Update states that sustaining services that will improve the state of the country’s ecosystem will support critical growth sectors and resource-dependent communities amid risks posed by climate change and natural disasters.

 “Moreover, the findings will inform the conduct of environmental impact assessments and cost-benefit analyses, which can serve as a basis for strengthening the management of ecosystems and natural resources in the country,” the NEDA official added.

 The development of the Laguna Lake ecosystem accounts was based on the data collected and analyzed primarily by Laguna Lake Development Authority (LLDA) with the assistance of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and other government agencies. LLDA is responsible for the water and land management of the Laguna Lake Basin.

 Meanwhile, for the Southern Palawan ecosystem accounts, development was spearheaded by national and local technical working groups that consist of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources and the Palawan Council for Sustainable Development. PCSD was created under Republic Act no. 7611 known as “Strategic Environment Plan (SEP) for Palawan Act” to implement and enforce the laws to ensure sustainable development in Palawan in accordance with the SEP law.

 WAVES is a World Bank-supported global partnership that aims to account for the natural capital and services provided by ecosystems to know the full value of these resources for better planning.  The Philippines has been selected as one of the eight core implementing countries where the WAVES Global Partnership Program has been launched.