Partnerships for a safe haven for green turtles in the Philippines, and beyond

22 January 2018
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Medy Kesuma Putra
Ms. Tan Geik Hong, Chair of the CTI Threatened Species Working Group giving the opening remarks.

On October 24, 2017, the Philippines marked history in the establishment of the network of three national marine protected areas for the protection of the green turtles. The network links El Nido-Taytay Managed Resource Protected Area and Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park in Palawan Province, and Turtle Islands Wildlife Sanctuary in Tawi-Tawi Province as part of the envisioned network of marine protected areas for the conservation of endangered green turtles within the Sulu-Sulawesi region, covered by Indonesia, Malaysia, and the Philippines. The establishment of the network was the highlight of the side-event during the 12th Conference of Parties of the Convention of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS COP 12), which drew around 1,000 delegates from 124 countries.

The side-event entitled, “Establishing a safe haven for green turtles, Chelonia mydas”, was co-convened by the Government of the Philippines, the CTI-CFF Threatened Species Working Group, Conservation International Philippines (CIP) and the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH. Green turtles belong to the growing list of endangered marine migratory species. While identified as charismatic organisms, green turtles are threatened by pressures at various stages of their life cycles. Due to their wide-ranging migration across multiple nations and sometimes outside areas of national jurisdiction, conservation of green turtles requires concerted efforts and harmonized cooperation among the nations, international organization and various environmental agencies.

Group photo: The side event commended the protected area superintendents of Turtle Islands Wildlife Sanctuary Minda Bairulla (4th from left), Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park, Angelique Songco (6th from left) and El Nido-Taytay Managed Resource and Protected Area, Alex Mancio (5th from left)

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources-Biodiversity Management Bureau (DENR-BMB) has been able to lay the foundation for the network with support from the Sulu- Sulawesi Seascape Project through CIP and GIZ on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety. BMB, CIP, and GIZ facilitated the development of the network based on available scientific data that confirmed the common population of green turtles in the three marine parks.

The project, which is being implemented under the CTI-CFF umbrella, is contributing to the implementation of the CTI-CFF Regional Plan of Action under Goal No. 5 “Threatened species status improving” that identify marine turtles as among top priority species of concern in the region.

Written by Evangeline Miclat, Conservation International