The Philippines is one of the most biologically diverse and unique places on Earth, hosting over 52,000 recorded plant and animal species, and counting. Many communities, especially the poor, depend on biodiversity for life and livelihood. It is also a big part of many cultures. Biodiversity is a source of environmental services from shelter to food, fuel, water, medicine and even protection from disasters or extreme weather events. However, habitat destruction, overexploitation and pollution, among others, continue to threaten the integrity of biodiversity. In fact, the Philippines is considered to be the most threatened megadiverse country in the world.

The poor are the most at risk with biodiversity loss. Working on their own or through their organizations and other partners, many of these communities have taken the responsibility of protecting and managing the natural resources on which they depend. Armed with legal and other policy instruments as well as customary laws and traditional practices, these local stakeholders have proven the indispensable role of community-based stewards in biodiversity conservation. Through the years, their efforts have attained varying levels of success.

Thus, the Global Environment Facility (GEF) established the Small Grants Programme in 1992. SGP is a global program, pursued through the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) to provide grants of up to US$ 50,000 to support the initiatives of local stakeholder groups in five focal areas: Biodiversity, Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation, Land Degradation, Sustainable Forest Management, and International Waters and Chemicals.

SGP embodies the very essence of sustainable development by "thinking globally, acting locally". By providing financial and technical support to projects that conserve and restore the environment while enhancing people's well-being and livelihoods, SGP demonstrates that community action can maintain the fine balance between human needs and environmental imperatives.

Currently, SGP is in its fifth operational Phase in the Philippines and is leveraging the experiments, experiences, and achievements of the past two decades to further explore innovative and improved responses to the great variety of evolving needs at local and country levels.

GEF-Small Grants Programme in the Philippines (Phase 4)

Watch this 5-minute video of SGP in the Philippines highlighting examples of projects funded during Operational Phase 4.

The Oscar M. Lopez Center announces call for proposals for Resilience Grants

The Oscar M. Lopez Center has announced its 2016 call for proposals on climate change adaptation and disaster risk management. The Center recognizes that science and technology have a critical role to play in enhancing the resilience and coping capacity of the various sectors of society whose aspiration to develop sustainably is threatened by climate-related risks and disasters. This year's call encourages submissions that provide science-based solutions, innovations and initiatives…

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Lower Sierra Madre grantees hold first hub conference

SGP grantees from the Lower Sierra Madre recently participated in the Lower Sierra Madre Hub Annual Conference held at the Central Luzon State University, Science City of Munoz, Nueva Ecija, from 7-9 September. The Conference was organized by Tanggol Kalikasan (TK), the SGP hub for Lower Sierra Madre. More than 50 participants attended the event which aimed to provide a venue for sharing of experiences and lessons learned by project…