This is a press release from Masungi Georeserve Foundation.
The Masungi Geopark Project (MGP) has been selected as one of 5 global finalists from 358 nominations across 80 countries for the WIN WIN Gothenburg Sustainability Youth Award.
It is the lone finalist from Asia.
“We are so deeply honored for this recognition of our youth-led restoration and rewilding efforts around the Masungi Georeserve. Since we started the project, we faced so many challenges to the conservation of the area. We hope this award can help us gather even more support and allies in restoring our forests and native biodiversity in this highly sensitive and threatened karst landscape,” said Ann Dumaliang, Project Manager.
She added, “We thank all our partners, volunteers and champions from different sectors for constantly lifting us up!”
The WIN WIN Gothenburg Sustainability Youth Award is an international award that aims to empower and reward young people who play an active role in the creation of a more sustainable future. The theme for this year is biodiversity.
The award jury nominated the Masungi Geopark Project “as it is a great example of how addressing biodiversity loss is an interdisciplinary issue that requires taking actions towards the restoration of ecosystems while also engaging the local community and providing environmental education.”
“The issue of biodiversity is complex and has a bearing on a very wide range of conditions for life on Earth…. The multifaceted and intractable nature of the significance of biodiversity must not contribute to an inability to act. We need solutions and initiatives in many areas to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals number 14 and 15, which address ecosystems in the oceans and on land,” the awards body noted.
The MGP is a project with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources to bring back the forests and biodiversity in heavily degraded lands and watersheds surrounding the Masungi limestone formations, thereby restoring clean drinking water, providing green livelihoods, and mitigating the effects of climate change.
“The project also aims to rehabilitate the Upper Marikina Watershed, the unabated devastation of which was a key driver in the catastrophic landslides and floods in lowland and densely populated areas of Rizal, Marikina, Pasig, and Quezon City during Typhon Ondoy in 2009,” Dumaliang said.
To date, the project has partnered with over 300 schools, companies, government units, non-governmental organizations, and civil society groups in planting, nurturing and maintaining some 47,000 native trees. It has also engaged up to 100 park rangers and supported 250 households in clean water access, education, and COVID-19 response efforts.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, rising cases of environment violations and encroachments from quarrying, illegal occupation, and forest fires have been reported in the reforestation site.
In response, the MGP has partnered with authorities and international expert groups like Wildlife Protection Solutions and National Geographic Society in enhancing monitoring and enforcement in the vicinity.
“We’ve also installed new camera traps, park signages, monitoring trails and stations to help detect and document what’s really happening on the ground and report these to authorities,” Dumaliang said.
The WIN WIN Youth Award is a part of the WIN WIN organization. Since 2000, it has presented one of the world’s leading sustainability awards, the WIN WIN Gothenburg Sustainability Award.
Previous winners of the WIN WIN Gothenburg Sustainability Award include Gro Harlem Brundtland, Al Gore and Kofi Annan. The winner of the WIN WIN Youth Award will receive 20,000 Swedish krona (P107,311.50) at the WIN WIN Award ceremony on October 22 in Gothenburg, Sweden. – Rappler.com
P107.31 = SEK1