By Nanette L. Guadalquiver
BACOLOD CITY, June 23 (PNA) - Negros Occidental Governor Alfredo Marañon Jr. called on Negrenses to join efforts for the conservation of the Bago River Watershed when he spoke during the opening program of the Bago River Watershed Multi-Stakeholder Forum at the Capitol Social Hall here Monday.
The two-day forum, themed Developing Markets for Watershed Services form Forests: Challenges and Opportunities, jointly organized by the Provincial Government of Negros Occidental, Department of Environment and Natural Resources Region 6, and the Biodiversity and Watersheds Improved for Stronger Economy and Ecosystem Resilience (B+WISER) Program of DENR-United States Agency for International Development (USAID).
It is part of the 22nd Provincial Environment Month celebration of Negros Occidental with the theme Raise Your Voice, Not the Sea Level.
The governor said the forum underscored the importance of Bago Watershed as source of water requirement of the rice areas in Bago City known as the rice bowl of Negros Occidental for its vast rice fields.
"It is our priority development agenda to make the province become self-sufficient in rice, he added.
During the first day, the speakers presented the Status Report and Governance Structure of the Bago River Watershed and the Cost of and Financial Resources for the Management of Mt. Kanlaon Natural Park (MKNP) and Northern Negros Natural Park (NNNP).
On the second day Tuesday, there will be case presentations on water usage and payments in cash or in-kind for watershed services by the different private and public entities benefiting from the watershed.
The forum gathers key water stakeholders of the watershed to exchange information and discuss pressing issues and concerns for effective watershed management and provides an overview on payment for ecosystem services (PES) as an innovative and sustainable financing source for watersheds improvement.
It also seeks to elicit views and concerns from key water stakeholders about PES and the challenges to make it work on the ground, engage the private sectors in natural resource management by promoting better water stewardship, and translate views and concerns into concrete actions for formulating follow-through activities to implement mechanisms for generating sustainable watershed funds.(PNA)