SESAM, PSAE and PNEE join forces for Ecosystem Valuation training for Mindanao 

The School of Environmental Science and Management (SESAM), The University of the Philippines Professional School for Agriculture and the Environment (UP PSAE) and thePhilippine Network of Educators on Environment (PNEE) co-organized the Ecosystems Valuation Training-Mindanao leg last April 25 to 27, 2022, via online conferencing.

The Continuing Education and Training Division (CETD) of SESAM spearheaded the training which was exclusive for 22academe members, local government personnel, national government agency staff and private professionals practicing in Mindanao. 

During the opening program, UPLB Chancellor, Dr. Jose V. Camacho, Jr., SESAM Dean, Dr. Rico C. Ancog and PSAE Off-Campus Director, Dr. Maria Catalina Tan-de Luna delivered inspirational messages to the participants and reiterated the university’s commitment to Mindanao to help in protecting its rich natural resources by enhancing the capacity of professionals in this training. They emphasized the importance of this training and collaboration, including the practical and significant applications and opportunities in valuing our ecosystems. 

The first speaker, Dr. Mercedita A. Sombilla, Undersecretary of the Regional Development Group, National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA), gave a comprehensive introduction to basic concepts on the economics of natural resources and she highlighted the importance of understanding the complex relationships and dynamics of ecosystems.

In the afternoon session of day one, Dr. Marites Tiongco of the College of Economics, De La Salle University discussed the overview on the cost-benefit analysis– its importance and uses to people, decision-making, and policy making. She also discussed the categories of environmental benefits and some valuation methods. UPLB Institute of Statistics Assistant Professor, Dr. Lara Paul Ebal, meanwhile lectured on regression analysis with STATA, which is a tool used for statistical analysis, data management, manipulation, and visualization.

Dr. Ebal continued her lecture on regression analysis using STATA on day two and she also conducted a hands-on exercise about review of correlation analysis, simple linear regressionand tests of assumptions for regression.

Dr. Canesio D. Predo of the College of College of Forestry and Natural Resources (CFNR) provided a comprehensive discussion on Methodologies for Economic Assessment specifically on the Stated Preference Approach focusing on Contingent Valuation Method or CVM.

In the afternoon session of day two, Dr. Jessica D. Villanueva-Peyraube of the SESAM discussed the Change of Productivity Approach which is one of the Methodologies for Economic Assessment. Dr. Villanueva-Peyraube also presented a case study and introduced the use of the Data Envelop Analysis Program (DEAP) software to the participants.

On day three, Dr. Ancog presented the methodologies of economic assessment, which covers revealed preference approach and travel cost method. He also conducted a workshop on crafting economic valuation studies for environmental management. 

In his closing remarks, PNEE President, Dr. Ramon M. Doctowas very proud that the PNEE has contributed in the mandate of SESAM-UPLB to deliver trainings and help develop the participants in their respective professions. (RPMCabangbang, JOAquino and TPLawas)

UPLB-SESAM commemorates Earth Day with the signing of agreement with Municipal Government of Los Banos

The UPLB School of Environmental Science and Management (UPLB-SESAM) signed Letter of Commitment (LOC) with the Municipal Government of Los Banos (MGLB) for the implementation of the joint institutional undertaking, “Environmental Governance in the Municipality of Los Banos”.

The LOC signing was held in celebration of the Earth Day on April 22 at the Mayor’s Office of Los Banos Municipal Hall. Investing in our planet is the core of the 2022 Earth Day celebration. Climate action planning takes intention, insight, effort, and also investment from governments, individuals, and industry. And one of the investments of the UPLB-SESAM and MGLB is this partnership between the academe and the government.  

With the signing of the LOC, the UPLB-SESAM is committed to give technical assistance and experts’ advisory to the MGLB in the formulation of several environmental plans required by the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) and Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR). 

Another goal of this partnership is to capacitate the LGU in the area of environmental governance. This partnership is a step of SESAM to capture sustainability and drive positive action through advocating, educating and sharing of knowledge and skills to its partners and stakeholders. 

UPLB-SESAM Dean, Dr. Rico C. Ancog and Faculty member and Head of SESAM Research Division, Dr. Patricia Ann J. Sanchez represented the School for the LOC signing ceremony while Los Banos Municipal Mayor, Hon. Antonio L. Kalaw and MENRO Focal Person, Ms. Lizette D. Cardenas represented MGLB. 

Also present during the ceremony were For. Sofia A. Alaira and Dr. Yusuf A. Sucol, both SESAM University Researchers, and Dr. Antonio J. Alcantara, MGLB Environmental Consultant and also a retired faculty of UPLB-SESAM. (RDAreglado)

Innovations in the urban and rural areas undergoing climate change adaptation tackled in “SESAM ExChanges”

The fourth SESAM ExChanges Webinar Series featured “Living in Urban and Rural Areas in the Face of Climate Change”, as the Continuing Education and Training Division (CETD) of the School of Environmental Science and Management-University of the Philippines Los Baños (SESAM-UPLB) invited two experts conducting studies in climate change and disaster risk reduction and management.

Environmental Planner Jose Bernardo B. Gochoco III, Project Officer, Adaptation and Disaster Risk Reduction & Management, International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives (ICLEI)-Local Governments for Sustainability Southeast Asia Secretariat, talked about climate change adaptation among cities in Southeast Asia. Meanwhile, Dr. Athur Mabiso, Senior Technical Specialist, Research and Impact Division, International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) discussed climate change adaptation among rural communities in Asia and Africa. 

EnP. Gochoco III, introduced ICLEI– which is a is a global network of more than 2,500 local and regional governments committed to sustainable urban development. Active in more 125 countries, ICLEI influenced sustainability policy and drive local action for low emission, nature-based, equitable, resilient and circular development.

In the overview of climate change impacts in Southeast Asia, EnP. Gochoco III said that cities and their surrounding regions are on the frontlines of global change. They are confronted by the impacts of rapid urbanization, demographic change, climate change, and technological advancements, among others. “As cities rise, grow and change, poverty and inequity remain, and natural systems degrade”, EnP. Gochoco III stressed. 

“In this urban era, cities are centers of opportunity and prosperity. We need to harness this energy to reorient and rebalance the patterns of daily life, the built environment, and the natural systems in and around cities across the world”, EnP. Gochoco III, added.

For his part, Dr. Mabiso, who has an extensive research experience the areas of agricultural policy, rural investments, food security, health and nutrition, enumerated projects in rural areas of IFAD implemented in several countries, such as in the Philippines, Vietnam, India, Mauritania, Zambia, Malawi and Kenya. 

In comparing the situation of the Philippines with other countries in Asia such as India and Vietnam, which has more hectarage and better irrigation, Dr. Mabiso said farmers in the Philippines, despite propagating high value crops, must consider off-farming activities or entering other sectors. “Some people must move out of agriculture and do other things that may support agriculture or not directly agriculture… and that is climate change adaptation” he said. Further, Dr. Mabiso mentioned there is also a need for the promotion of indirect activities that can support farming, such as how to bring products to the market or food processing. 

Dr. Mabiso also said that we can embrace any technology and innovation that could help farmers increase yield in their production, however, we must also consider the risk and any challenges of any technology to help communities to thrive. He added that data analysis and evidence is critical and must always be the basis if the technology or innovation will work. ‘Technology is technology, it is there to help us to improve our lives and welfare”, he stressed. SESAM ExChanges is an environmental challenges and solutions seminar series organized by CETD-SESAM.

This fourth installment was held via Zoom and Facebook Live Streaming on April 28, 2022, with more than 200 participants from here and around the globe.