LUCID, through Rowena Soriaga, participated in the UNCCD workshop on land degradation neutrality target-setting for the Philippines, held in Quezon City last 3-4 May 2017. UNCCD is the ‘custodian’ (monitoring arm) of SDG Target 15.3 – “By 2030, combat desertification, restore degraded land and soil, including land affected by desertification, drought and floods, and strive to achieve a land degradation-neutral world”. The focal agency for UNCCD in the Philippines is the Bureau of Soil and Water Management (BSWM) under the Department of Agriculture.
Main takeaways from the workshop related to the LUCID project are:
- The UNCCD/BSWM method of tracking land cover change is different from the method used for tracking changes in forest area by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and its country focal, Forest Management Bureau under the Department of Environment and Natural Resources.
- The National Mapping and Resource Information Authority (NAMRIA), the central mapping agency of the Philippine government and also under DENR, is working on the 2015 national land cover dataset. Since BSWM is due to submit the UNCCD report by July, it has to decide if the 2015 dataset can be used for the baseline. If not, BSWM will use the 2010 dataset for the UNCCD report.
- Phil-LIDAR2 is a program spearheaded by the University of the Philippines in Diliman (UPD) and the Department of Science and Technology (DOST). The program will produce a nationwide detailed resource assessment using LiDAR.
- Future fieldwork of LUCID in Iloilo can include a visit to Dr. Jessica Salas, head of Kahublagan Foundation and member of the Philippine Watershed Management Coalition. Dr. Salas shared her observation that corn agriculture is most prevalent in northern Iloilo.