The Bureau of Soils and Water Management (BSWM) is currently in the process of developing a National Soil Conservation Roadmap that will provide strategic direction and actions in the next 10 years to avoid soil degradation, reduce and mitigate on-going degradation, and undertake restoration of degraded land and soils. The roadmap aims to come up with a shared vision among all stakeholders for the protection, conservation and judicious use of our soil resources.
The soil resources of the country are used for various purposes. Consequently, there are a lot of groups who have a stake in the utilization of our soil resources. To integrate the various interests of all social sectors, the Stakeholders Consultation Meeting is an important step in the development of the soil conservation roadmap.
For the year 2021,two stakeholders consultations were conducted. The first one was done on March 30, 2021 and the second round was conducted on June 17, 2021. Both consultations were made using online platforms because of the CoVID 19 pandemic. Representatives of selected National Government Agencies, Civil Society Organizations, Academe, and Local Government Units participated in the two consultation meetings.
The consultation meetings were held to gather the views of key interest groups as part of the development and refinement of the roadmap. These also served as a venue to create awareness among Local Government Units (LGUs) about their critical role in the mainstreaming and extension of soil conservation technologies at the grassroot level. For the National Government Agencies, the consultations provided an occasion to harmonize their sectoral concerns with concerns of sustainability and natural resources management.
Personnel from the Soil Conservation Management Division, the lead division in crafting the roadmap, served as facilitators in the conduct of the consultation meetings. They led in the presentation of the different parts of the roadmap document and discussion of issues raised by the participants.
The second consultation meeting was held as part of the Philippine observance of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification’s (UNCCD) Desertification and Drought Day 2021 (DDD 2021). The DDD is an annual celebration worldwide held every 17th of June to raise awareness and highlight methods of preventing desertification and land degradation. As such, the Soil Conservation Roadmap is envisioned as the key to unlocking more public and private investments for conserving healthy soils and restoration efforts of degraded lands. For this year, the theme of the DDD celebration is “Restoration. Land.Recovery”.
The National Soil Conservation Roadmap is envisioned to be the main program for Sustainable and Responsible Soil Management of the Department of Agriculture. It aims to sustainably support DA’s goal of “Masaganang Ani at Mataas na Kita ” by maintaining or improving soil health and climate resilience of farming communities.