Proposal to pay residents to protect watersheds mulled    

A STUDY looking into providing alternative livelihood practices that will lessen the negative impact on water sources will be presented during the Watershed Summit on Aug. 24-25.

Commissioned by Interface Development Interventions, the study will explore whether the local government and stakeholders, can give financial support to residents whose livelihoods are affected by various conservation laws as a way also of lessening the residents’ impact on the watershed area.

“The ‘payment’ does not have to come in the form of financial aid,” said IDIS executive director Mary Anne Fuertes in a phone call. “We do not want money just thrown around. Preferably, it should be in livelihood trainings that focus on environmentally friendly best practices.”

The study is still in its preliminary phase, she said, and patterned after a Latin American study where livestock farmers who are unaware their practices were negatively affecting a water source used by wineries. However, the conditions improved when they were assisted by businesses in implementing more environmentally safe methods of raising livestock.

“We are going to present our initial findings on the communities who live and work by the watersheds,” added Fuertes.

The summit will be held at the Ritz Hotel in Garden Oases with site visits to the Aboitiz Cleanergy Park in Matina Aplaya and the Philippine Eagle Center in Malagos.

She added the consultations between all parties involved would take a long time to see if the proposed “payment scheme” for residents would be feasible for Davao City.

The annual watershed summit is a gathering of stakeholders under the Watershed Management Council (WMC) which tackles the most pressing concerns to come up recommendations on how to protect the improve the city’s water source.

According to IDIS, the recommendations will be taken into consideration in crafting the 2017- 2019 agenda of the WMC for funding by the city government.

In a press release, the organizers of the summit include IDIS, DCWD, Philippine Eagle Foundation, Department of Environment and Natural Resources Region XI, Department of Science and Technology-XI, Hydrology for Environment, Life and Policy, Davao Network and the Davao Medical Society.

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