The Mindanao State University in Maguindanao hosted the three-day 4th International Conference on Environment and Forest Conservation (ICEFC) in Davao City on November 15 to 17, 2023. The event discussed the ICEFC’s visions and contributions to climate change actions.
The primary goal of ICEFC was to highlight the significance of environmental protection.
The gathering aims to foster discussions on partnerships for climate action and addressing carbon emissions that impact less developed countries.
Several universities, institutions, and local government units (LGUs) participated in the conference with a shared goal of environmental conservation.
Dr. Bai Hejira Nefertiti M. Limbona, Chancellor of the Mindanao State University-Maguindanao, emphasized that coastal communities are increasingly vulnerable to rising sea levels, serving as evidence of climate change — a concern affecting everyone.
“This endeavor can strengthen the advocacy towards protecting the environment as we are making a new deal for the environment,” she said.
Dr. Nefertiti mentioned that MSU-Maguindanao collaborates with the Climate Change Commission to support the environmental care and protection efforts in Maguindanao provinces.
Atty. Basari D. Mapupuno, President of Mindanao State University System, expressed pride in the institution's commitment to environmental care and protection. He also highlighted collaborations with international institutions, including Castamono University, as well as other universities, institutions, and local government units (LGU).
“The knowledge gained from this collaboration will advance care and protection for the environment,” Atty. Mapupuno said.
Atty. Mapupuno commended MSU-Maguindanao for the successful collaboration and event organization. He urged everyone to seize networking opportunities and work with purpose, vigor, and unity.
Tree planting activity
During the 4th ICEFC, the tree planting activity on the second day took place at the Aboitiz Cleanergy Park at Sitio Punta Dumalag in Matina Aplaya, Davao City. Delegates from Kastamonu University, Institut Pertanian Bogor Indonesia, as well as officials from MSU System and MSU-Maguindanao actively participated in this environmental initiative.
Emphasizing the importance of forming partnerships for practical climate change solutions and advocating for a national-based approach to enhance environmental stability, the activity concluded with 50 delegates planting a total of 160 mangrove seedlings.
Ceremonial signing of MOU on Research and Academic Exchange, cooperation
The event also highlighted the ceremonial signing of the memorandum of understanding for all the delegates from Institut Pertanian Bogor Indonesia, Kastamonu University, MSU-System President, and representatives from MSU-General Santos City, MSU-Sulu, MSU-Buug, School Head of MSU-Maigo School of Arts and Trade, Superintendent of MSU-Lanao National College of Arts and Trade, along with MSU-Lanao del Norte Agricultural College, the chancellor of MSU-Maguindanao, MSU-Naawan, and a representative from MSU-Tawi-Tawi College of Technology and Oceanography.
The panel discussion on climate change and mitigation featured experts including Engr. Khalid S. Dumagay from the Ministry of the Interior and Local Government, Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (Barmm); Atty. Rhehan Diwas; and Mr. Rey Guarin, the Philippines’ Country Representative, Gutter Consulting. Dr. Ramjie Y. Odin introduced the panel of discussants.
The discussion on climate change mitigation delved into the innovative initiatives implemented by organizations to gather best practices.
Engr. Dumagay shared some of the impacts of climate change they have experienced in their area, specifically in the Bangsamoro region. Some of these were floods and typhoons.
“The increased community vulnerability becomes the cause of economic instability. To address these, scientific studies and data-driven (based on NEDA) plans and programs were utilized,” Engr. Dumagay said.
Guarin highlighted the unpredictability of Climate Change, citing flooding as one of its effects caused by precipitation. He emphasized the importance of understanding its impact on people, politics, infrastructure, economics, and natural resources.
Atty. Diwas further explained that the City of Baguio often faces heavy rains leading to frequent landslides.
Engr. Khalid explained their approach to involving local government units in the climate action plan through the Bangsamoro Transition Plan.
This plan focuses on sustainable development through moral governance, participatory and transparent practices, advocating for the mobilization of people to adopt greener practices and effective solid waste management.
Guarin emphasized the importance of local ownership in plans, highlighting the need for inclusivity and equal access within the community, all based on thorough consultations.
The conference concluded on November 17, 2023, with public and private organizations collectively signing a manifesto expressing unwavering support for climate action.
The commitment involves advancing greening programs, strengthening climate resilience, and forming accountable partnerships. They pledge to take tangible measures for nature-based solutions and policies to protect, rehabilitate, and manage ecosystems, ensuring the environment is safeguarded and humanity's future well-being.
Atty. Mapupuno emphasized that part of the mission of Mindanao State University is to ensure excellence in instruction, research, development, innovation, extension, and environmental education and discovery. The ten-point agenda of his leadership underscores the imperative to fortify research, extension, innovation, and productions.
"Our commitment not only emphasizes the profound respect extended to our esteemed partners but also signifies our obligations as mandated by the University’s charter. Let us collectively propel forward, fostering an even stronger partnership, one that endures and flourishes, embodying the essence of unity and shared dedication,” he added.
Dr. Glen A. Lorenzo, Vice President for Research and Extension at Mindanao State University - System, concluded the three-day successful international conference on environment and forest conservation.
Lorenzo emphasized that the duty to safeguard the environment is believed to have originated with the dawn of humanity, striving to create a harmonious and beneficial ecology for the collective well-being and enjoyment.
Conserving the environment entails a substantial responsibility, considering our shared existence on a single, interconnected planet spanning today's and future generations as one of the primary goals of the conference. AJA