The Cleopatra’s Needle Critical Habitat (CNCH) in Puerto Princesa City will benefit the new biodiversity project of the United States government through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), in a bid to further protect it as a critical habitat for wildlife.
The CNCH, with an area of more than 40,000 hectares is part of the Cleopatra’s Needle mountain, with an altitude of 1,593 meters above sea level. It covers the barangays of San Rafael, Tanabag, Langogan, Binduyan, Concepcion, New Pangangan and Tagabinet.
On August 11, 2020, the USAID announced that they have launched the Philippines Sustainable Interventions for Biodiversity, Oceans, and Landscapes (SIBOL) project that will support the sustainable management of the country’s natural resources and combat environmental crimes, which CNCH is among the areas that the project will protect.
The USAID, in a press release said that P1.1-Billion ($22-Million) is allocated to provide support to the Philippine government to achieve its goals of improving natural resource governance and stimulating public and private investments, leading to greater ecosystem stability and inclusive green growth. They will work with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) to implement SIBOL.
Lawrence Hardy II, Mission Director of USAID-Philippines said that through this project they are pleased to support the effort to conserve the country’s rich biodiversity.
“Effective conservation management and measurement of the value of natural resources contribute to the Philippines’ economic development and environmental resilience. Through SIBOL, USAID is pleased to support the Philippines’ efforts to conserve the country’s rich biodiversity while improving the livelihoods of Filipinos whose incomes depend upon these natural resources.” Hardy said in a statement.
Hardy has visited Puerto Princesa City, in 2018 during the USAID-supported seaweed summit of the province’s and city’s seaweeds industry. He also visited projects Protect Wildlife in Palawan.
The USAID-Strengthening Urban Resilience for Growth with Equity (SURGE) city program coordinator of Puerto Princesa City, Cecilia Isubal, said that prior to this new project, SIBOL, the CNCH has also benefited from USAID-Protect Wildlife Project.
Protect Wildlife is a multi-pronged program that works to conserve biodiversity, protect wildlife, and sustain ecosystem services in ways that also improve the local population’s livelihoods and long-term well-being in the Philippines. One of the project’s goal is to place identified biologically significant areas in the country, especially in Palawan and Zamboanga, under improved natural resource management.