Integrated solutions to global problems pushed

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Wednesday, May 21, 2014


TO ADDRESS common issues in the community, the Population Health Environment network introduced its integration approach in a pre-national conference meeting in the Summer Capital Tuesday.

The population, health and environment (PHE) integration approach is an expedient strategy used to safeguard a healthy status of the people and environment in a community by mitigating impacts of catastrophes and reducing risk to people's lives and livelihoods.

Specifically, it aims to look at the interdependence of issues on population, health and environment and to address them altogether as one.

Member and coordinator of the PHE National Conference Cora de la Paz said integration occurs in addressing environmental issues and the problems they pose to human security, food supply, livelihood and health.

In a community, she explained the PHE integration can be implemented through local government leadership and community participation.

“PHE integration does not occur only in the minds of government leaders. They should be experienced by the community,” she pointed out.

“In fact, leadership is shared between the project implementers and the community,” she added.

The PHE integration approach is currently being introduced nationwide through conferences, which de la Paz referred as their venue for information dissemination and advocacy promotion.

She informed participants of their national conferences can instantly replicate and adapt PHE integration models which complement the situation in their community.

De la Paz suggested the integration approach can be an effective measure to pursue possible responses on current population, health and environment issues in the Cordillera Administrative Region.

“Multi-sectoral initiatives are needed to implement community-based activities that will support environment conservation to protect the lives and livelihood of the people here in Cordillera,” she advised.
However, she stressed strict implementation of the local government and empowerment of the people in the community for involvement will be a great challenge.

But if other provinces have implemented their own PHE integration models, she expressed provinces in CAR can too as long as someone will initiate it.

The concept of PHE is currently being used in the province of Apayao, Rizal, Cagayan, Bohol, Iloilo, Oriental Mindoro, Guimaras, South Cotabato and many more in the different regions of the country.

The PHE network started to hold national conferences to advocate only the integration of population and environment at first. However, the evolving threats on human existence like geohazards drove them to integrate health and even livelihood.

It has conducted a national conference in Antipolo in 2004; Cebu in 2006; Tagaytay in 2008; and GenSan in 2011. The PHE is currently inBaguio City for its 5th National Conference for LGUs, NGOs, schools and civil societies which started yesterday May 21 and will last today.

The PHE integration approach was initiated by the Population Reference Bureau in Washington and was later on adapted by Save the Children in the Philippines in 2001.

The network is composed of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, Department of Health, Commission on Population, Family Planning Organization of the Philippines, Foundation for Philippine Environment, Conservation International and other partner agencies local and nationwide.

Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on May 22, 2014.

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