The Philippine Space Agency (PhilSA) has inked an agreement with the Conservation International Philippines Foundation, Inc. (CIPFI) to work on advancing environmental conservation and management through the application of remote sensing technologies. The signing ceremony was held on 27 October 2023 at the PhilSA office in Quezon City.
PhilSA Director General Dr. Joel Joseph Marciano, Jr. and CIPFI Country Executive Director Wilson John Barbon formalized this cooperation through a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) signing in Quezon City. They were joined by PhilSA Space Information Infrastructure Bureau (SIIB) Director Ariel Blanco, Dr.Eng. and CIPFI Policy and Governance Adviser Edward Lorenzo as witnesses.
“Today, we welcome another partner who is a significant contributor to the space ecosystem that we are trying to build in the country. We are honored to collaborate and excited to work with the CIPFI,” PhilSA Director General Dr. Marciano said during his opening remarks and message of support.
“CIPFI is a global champion on conservation that has introduced the Highlands to Oceans (H2O) approach, implementing conservation strategies in landscapes, climate resilience and disaster risk reduction, and coastal and marine fisheries, among others. This partnership is seen to contribute further to advancing our space research and development, space education and awareness, and space industry and capacity building key development areas, particularly through the involvement of private sector and non-government organizations,” PhilSA Director General Marciano added.
With its potential impact on the country’s conservation efforts, this collaboration highlights a crucial step towards leveraging satellite and aerial remote sensing for environmental conservation.
“We are very interested in this collaboration with the Philippine Space Agency (PhilSA) because it would allow us to explore technologies that are based on the work in space to develop efficient tools for ecosystem research, protection, sustainable management. Some of these tools that we are currently using, and we are trying to develop even more include our own mapping, assessment, and estimation. If we can use space technology to look at mangrove and seagrass beds, that would really help in designing programs that are relevant in nature and people,” CIPFI Country Executive Director Barbon expressed during his message of support.
The agreement covers the development of a strategic work plan to support CIPFI’s Community, Conservation, and Natural Climate Solution (CCNCS) Project: Mantalingahan Landscape Conservation Project in Southern Palawan, which aims to improve forest management of its protected landscape.
Other commitments include the conduct of learning and capacity building activities related to satellite data processing, programming, and usage of aerial mapping drones for forest monitoring and conservation; and sharing of expertise in aspects of sustainable development, environmental mapping, satellite remote sensing, and other space science and technology applications (SSTA); among others.
Aside from yearly reports that will be provided by the CIPFI to PhilSA, the former will also serve as one of the focal partners of the latter in implementing the PhilSA Integrated Network for Space-enabled Actions towards Sustainability (“PINAS”) project in Palawan and other project sites of the CIPFI.
PhilSA, aligned with its Key Development Areas on hazard management and climate studies, space education and awareness, and space industry and capacity building through private sector involvement, will provide technical assistance on the use of satellite and remote sensing data; cater to geospatial and mapping services; provide access to satellite data; and co-undertake research and development, and space data mobilization activities.
During his closing remarks, PhilSA SIIB Director Dr. Blanco said that the Agency looks forward to a fruitful partnership and implementation of this MOA— emphasizing that both PhilSA and CIPFI still have a lot of things to do to protect and manage the country’s environment utilizing space science and technology.
A collaboration meeting to discuss future activities took place after.
As an affiliate of the Conservation International Foundation, which is a global conservation organization with the goals of strengthening science and partnership as well as empowering societies to sustainably care for Earth’s nature and humanity’s well-being— the CIPFI is a non-stock and non-profit corporation that implements conservation strategies through its integrated Highlands to Oceans (H2O) approach to help reduce climate change impacts and threats to biodiversity.