DENR, UNDP partner with Negros Occidental to mobilize finance for nature

Mobilizing finance for nature is underway in the province of Negros Occidental with support from the Biodiversity Finance Initiative (BIOFIN)

July 14, 2023

Representatives of the Negros Occidental provincial government, the DENR Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Office, Philippines Biodiversity Conservation Foundation, Inc., and BIOFIN with MOU signatories (L-R) Lisa Paguntalan (PhilBio), Governor Eugenio Lacson, and Assistant Secretary Amaro (DENR)


Bacolod, Negros Occidental – Negros Occidental Governor Eugenio Jose Lacson and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in the Philippines Resident Representative Dr. Selva Ramachandran signed a Memorandum of Understanding to unlock finance for nature from unconventional sources that will contribute to the sustainable protection and conservation of the province’s biodiversity.  

I’m very thankful for the trust and confidence that the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, UNDP Philippines, and BIOFIN Global is showing us, and we are looking forward to this collaboration,” said Governor Lacson.We’re very confident that this partnership will only bring good things to Negros Occidental," Governor Lacson added.  

Together with the Philippine Biodiversity Conservation Foundation, Inc. (PhilBio), UNDP, and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), through the Biodiversity Finance Initiative or BIOFIN, will help Negros Occidental identify, access, combine, and sequence sources of biodiversity funding such as those from the national and sub-national government agencies, the citizenry, and the private sector.  

The BIOFIN journey of the Philippines can only be enhanced multiple times by this experience working at the provincial level,” said Onno van den Heuvel, BIOFIN Global Manager.Indeed, the natural capital of Negros Occidental are attractions with great potential in sustaining itself and the finance solutions closer to where biodiversity may be the right formula to do this,” stated van den Heuvel. 

Present in 41 countries, BIOFIN contributes to closing the financing gap for the conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity by generating revenues, realigning current expenditures, avoiding future expenditures, and delivering biodiversity management effort more effectively.   

In the Philippines, BIOFIN is working with the DENR to finance the Philippine Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan (PBSAP), the country’s roadmap to conserving its biodiversity. The PBSAP implementation costs PhP24B/year or PhP334B (USD 7.4B low estimate) from 2015 to 2028.  However, public expenditure was estimated at only P4.9B/year (USD 110M) thus a gap of almost PhP19B (USD 349M) annually was determined.  Several finance solutions to address this gap were identified and are being piloted by BIOFIN at present including mainstreaming biodiversity into local plans and programs.


Our vision at UNDP is to bridge the financing gaps for provincial biodiversity targets,” said Dr. Ramachandran.We envision this partnership to address biodiversity threats at the local government unit level, enhance conservation efforts and promote sustainable tourism. We aim for this to contribute to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals, and ultimately to the betterment of the communities’ lives in the province.” 

With the help of UNDP and the DENR through BIOFIN, the province is set to increase its budget by continuously lobbying for the inclusion of the province’s biodiversity program priorities with the plans of key national government agencies, regional councils, and other relevant actors.  

The Negros Island Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan (NIBSAP) is the central document that guides biodiversity conservation efforts of the two Negros provinces. Since its preparation in 2017, the province of Negros Occidental has narrowed its financing gap for conservation by allotting at least PHP 30 million of its budget to priority biodiversity conservation activities, involving NGOs and municipalities as implementers in the process.  

BIOFIN will also assist Negros Occidental to generate revenues through ecotourism by piloting an ecological fee that will be charged to tourists visiting the province. Furthermore, assistance will be provided to access the trust fund created under the Energy Regulation 1-94 program, which intends to recompensate for the contribution made by the communities hosting energy resources and/or energy-generating facilities. 

With the rapid acceleration of threats to biodiversity especially in the Philippines, we seek to raise funds from any source possible and work with key stakeholders to halt these threats while contributing to the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework targets,” says BMB-DENR Director in concurrent capacity as Assistant Secretary for Policy, Planning and Foreign-Assisted and Special Projects Marcial Amaro Jr.   

The Local Government Code of 1991 or RA 7160 empowers local government units (LGU) to have meaningful autonomy while gearing to attain its full development and self-reliance so they can become effective partners in attaining national goals.  The Code provides fiscal powers and authority to government officials to propose, appropriate, and release funds to agencies, office programs and projects. Seeing this function as an entry point, BIOFIN has been working with LGUs since 2016 to mainstream biodiversity in local plans and programs, thus ensuring regular financing. The localization of the BIOFIN methodology including the implementation of finance solutions in the Negros Occidental province is set to be replicated in its neighbor province, Negros Oriental.   


Contact Information: Angelique Ogena, BIOFIN Philippines Communications Officer,