SESAM ExChanges tackles Land and Water in EIA

The School of Environmental Science and Management-University of the Philippines (SESAM-UPLB) held its second ExChanges Webinar in November 29, 2021 via online conferencing. With the theme “Land and Water in Relation to Environmental Impact Assessment”, the second ExChanges was organized by the Continuing Education and Training Division (CETD).

In his opening message, Dr. Ancog, SESAM Dean, emphasized the application of different frameworks of analysis to assess the different environmental components (Land, Air, Water, and People) that the field of environmental science is championing. He also stressed the importance of impact assessment to comprehensively evaluate the various environmental and social impacts arising from development projects.

For. Sofia A. Alaira, head of CETD, introduced the prominent and hard-working members of the division, including their annual and future programs and trainings. She also highlighted the significant contribution of CETD in terms of capacitating the different stakeholders, especially the Local Government Units (LGUs) in formulating their Local Development Plans such as Environmental Code, Forest Land Use Plan and Climate and Disaster Risks Assessment).

The first lecture from Assistant Secretary Roderick M. Planta of the National Economic Development Authority (NEDA) discussed about Revisiting the National Water Security Roadmap. He mentioned the UN definition of “water security”, as the capacity of a population to safeguard sustainable access to adequate quantities of acceptable quality water for sustaining economic development, quality of life, and ecosystems conservation. His presentation was also focused on the formulation of the Natural Water Security Roadmap based on 6 thematic areas namely, economic (water supply), environment (water supply), domestic (water supply), municipal water (water supply), resilience, and governance. Based on these considerations, NEDA identified the threats to water security in the Philippines brought by increasing population, economic growth, and climate crisis as well as the multi-stakeholder initiatives that enhances our water security in the Philippines.

Dr. Patricia Ann J. Sanchez, Professor at UPLB-SESAM, introduced the mandate and structure of UPLB-Interdisciplinary Studies Center for Water as well as their VMGOs and working framework for attaining water security in the entire country. Dr. Sanchez’s presentation was focused mainly on the concept and principles of the integrated water resources management (IWRM). She discussed the importance of integrating the IWRM Framework in managing our ecological systems from ridge to reef. Dr. Sanchez also presented solutions and recommendations for the formulation of the Philippine Water Security Road Map. These are hastening water-related infra development, long-term watershed monitoring, and strategic planning for water resources management.

Dr. Myra Villareal, Associate Professor in the University of Tsukuba discussed the University’s SUSTEP Program, focusing on Water and disaster, Biodiversity conservation, waste management, and policy planning. Her lecture focused on the utilization of functional bioresources in North Africa and the Maghreb region which included several countries such as Algeria, Libya, Mauritania, Morocco, and Tunisia. She discussed the region’s topography and climatic conditions including the environmental stress and adaptation mechanisms perceived by various flora species due to lack/unavailability of water, high temperature, and ion concentration. Dr. Villareal also highlighted that, plants in arid regions adapt by producing antioxidants which can be a potential therapeutic for oxidative-stress-associated diseases such as cancer, inflammation, and hyperpigmentation among others.

More than 100 participants via Zoom and Facebook livestream attended the event. SESAM ExChanges is a seminar series on Environmental Challenges and Solutions. (ENTCando and TPLawas)

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