"The Palawan Biosphere Reserve is a cluster of islands composed of one long main island and smaller groups of islands around it. The 1,150,800 hectares of the biosphere reserve include the entire Province of Palawan Island, which is the westernmost province of the Philippines." (see http://www.unesco.org/new/en/natural-sciences/environment/ecological-sciences/biosphere-reserves/asia-and-the-pacific/philippines/palawan/)
WHAT ARE THE CHARACTERISTICS OF A BIOSPHERE RESERVE?
The main characteristics of a biosphere reserve are:
- Achieving the three interconnected functions: conservation, development and logistic support;
- Outpacing traditional confined conservation zones, through appropriatezoning schemes combining core protected areas with zones where sustainable development is fostered by local dwellers and enterprises with often highly innovative and participative governance systems;
- Focusing on a multi-stakeholder approach with particular emphasis on the involvement of local communities in management;
- Fostering dialogue for conflict resolution of natural resource use;
- Integrating cultural and biological diversity, especially the role of traditional knowledge in ecosystem management;
- Demonstrating sound sustainable development practices and policies based on research and monitoring;
- Acting as sites of excellence for education and training;
- Participating in the World Network.
WHAT IS A BIOSPHERE RESERVE IN PRACTICE?
Biosphere reserves harmonize conservation of biological and cultural diversity, and economic and social development, through partnerships between people and nature. They also contribute to the transition to green societies by experimenting with green development options such as sustainable tourism and training for eco-jobs.
IS THE INTRODUCTION OF A COAL FIRED POWER PLANT IN PALAWAN CONSISTENT WITH THE BIOSPHERE RESERVE?
Absolutely NO. The approval of the coal plant is inconsistent with the nature of Palawan as a biosphere reserve. It is not in harmony with conservation of biological and cultural diversity since coal fired power plants are known to be damaging to human health, to biodiversity, and to the natural physical environment. In effect, it has negative impact on the economic and social development of a biosphere reserve. The use of coal, the dirtiest fuel source known, does not promote the greening of societies nor promote green development options since it is destructive to the natural environment.
WHAT WILL HAPPEN IF A COAL PLANT IS CONSTRUCTED IN PALAWAN?
It is inevitable that the distinction as a biosphere reserve will be withdrawn from Palawan, without which, its sustainable development will be sacrificed.
WHAT NEEDS TO BE DONE?
It is important that sustainable development of Palawan must be pursued. We demand that the approval of the coal fired power plant project of PALECO and DMCI be scrapped the soonest possible time. Coal plants are being dismantled around the world. There is no such thing as "clean coal" so this project must be junked.
We propose that the provincial government of Palawan pursue renewable energy sources in unity with the world's effort to control global pollution. We can be the leader and model in renewable energy. It only takes a working conscience, a heart for Palawan, common sense, and righteous political will.