6 Ensure environmental sustainability

Where we are?

The number of proclaimed Protected Areas in the country has been expanding from 83 in 2000 to 103 in 2006. (Photo: Dave de Vera)

The Philippine Agenda 21 continues to be the guiding document for the country’s strategy for sustainable development. Its action agenda for protecting the ecosystem is comprehensive, with targets for the following: forest and upland, coastal and marine, urban ecosystem, freshwater, lowland and agricultural, minerals and biodiversity.
In early 2004, forest cover was about 7.2 million hectares or 24 percent of the total land area of the country. This is 0.71 million hectares or 11 percent higher than the 1998 actual forest resource inventory record of 6.5 million hectares.    

The number of proclaimed Protected Areas (PAs) under the National Integrated Protected Areas System (NIPAS) has been continuously expanding. From 83 proclaimed PAs in 2000, the number of proclaimed PAs in 2006 increased to 103. There was also a significant increase in confiscated flora from 58 pieces in 2002 to 600 pieces in 2005. The number of confiscated fauna also increased from 175 heads in 2002 to 2,944 heads in 2004.

The Philippines’ productive coastal ecosystems and habitats include at least 25,000 kilometers of coral reefs, sea grass and algal beds; 289,890 hectares of mangroves; a variety of productive fisheries that provide more than 50 percent of the animal protein consumed in the country; and beaches and various coastlines of value for tourism and other development.

However, pollution remains a problem particularly in the country’s major urban centers. It is projected that the volume of air pollutants will continue to increase due to greater industrial activity, heavy traffic and the large number of vehicles plying the streets, many of which are smoke-belching public utility vehicles. 

An average Filipino generates 0.3 and 0.5 kilograms of garbage daily in rural and urban areas respectively. This means that every person living in the metropolis generates a half kilo of waste per day. With an estimated population of 10.5 million, the total waste generated in Metro Manila alone could run up to 5,250 metric tons per day.

Data from surveys conducted by the National Statistical Office (NSO) suggest that access to safe drinking water and sanitary toilet facilities had improved over the years. Based on the 2004 Annual Poverty Indicators Survey (APIS), access to safe drinking water increased from 78.7 percent in 2000 to 81.5 percent in 2007.  However, the proportion was lower for those belonging to the lowest 30 percent (65.4%) compared to families belonging to the highest 70 percent income group (86.5%). Nevertheless, given the current trend, there is a high probability that the 2015 target of 86.8 percent will be achieved.

The latest survey also showed that the percentage of those using sealed water and closed pit type of toilet facility was 87.9 percent, which already exceeded the 2015 target of 83.8 percent.

Noting these achievements, the Medium Term Development Plan (MTPDP) 2004-2010 has set higher targets for the country. These are 92 to 96 percent for safe drinking water and 86 to 91 percent for sanitary toilet facilities.             

Proportion of population with access to safe water, 1991-2007

Line Chart

Sources of basic data: FIES and APIS, NSO

UNDP's work in the Philippines

  • Members of the Ulot Watershed Model Forest Stakeholders Federation (UWMFSF) comprised of 11 people’s organizations now help guide and operate Torpedo Boats in Samar Island National Park. (Photo: Wayne Pan/UNDP Philippines)

    From timber to tourists: Community transformation in Samar Island

    “Illegal logging – that is the large scale logging done by big companies. What we did here is not logging. We cut trees to sell tomore

Targets for MDG7
  1. Integrate the principles of sustainable development into country policies and programmes; reverse loss of environmental resources
  2. Reduce biodiversity loss, achieving, by 2010, a significant reduction in the rate of loss
    • Proportion of land area covered by forest and proportion of species threatened with extinction
    • CO2 emissions, total, per capita and per $1 GDP (PPP)
    • Consumption of ozone-depleting substances
    • Proportion of fish stocks within safe biological limits
    • Proportion of total water resources used
    • Proportion of terrestrial and marine areas protected
  3. Reduce by half the proportion of people without sustainable access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation
    • Proportion of population using an improved drinking water source
    • Proportion of population using an improved sanitation facility
  4. Achieve significant improvement in lives of at least 100 million slum dwellers, by 2020
    • Proportion of urban population living in slums