News • Asia
September 18, 2023
Action insights: A multi-level partnership in the Philippines for environmental sustainability and climate adaptation

On August 24, we celebrated the end of our collaboration with the Palawan Council for Sustainable Development Staff and the Palawan State University to build capacities in environmental sustainability and climate adaptation.

Three women for the task

The multi-level partnership between EUDiF and its local government and academic partners, PCSDS (Palawan Council for Sustainable Development Staff) and PSU (Palawan State University) respectively, began in October 2022. The objective was to leverage diaspora expertise to support Palawan’s environmental sustainability and climate adaptation efforts. To do this, we brought in three Filipinas in the diaspora: Denise Margaret Matias, Julie Amoroso Garbin and Lovelaine Basillote for their expertise in Education for Sustainable Development (ESD), climate financing and project management. They created a curriculum for the university and gave training for PCSDS and LGUs (Local Government Units). Full details of the activities are available here.

We identified Denise, Julie and Lovelaine thanks to support from the Philippines embassies in Germany and France, a fine example of how embassies and consulates are good entry points for knowledge transfer initiatives, whether one-off or structured programmes.

Delivering the goods

Through a series of virtual and on-site workshops, we created a bridge between Palawan and the Filipino diaspora. Each diaspora professional used the sessions to share innovative solutions and best practices for environmental sustainability and climate adaptation in their respective field of expertise:

  • Denise covered topics ranging from UNESCO’s Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) framework, the Biosphere Reserves and the World Network, to multilateral environmental agreements.
  • Julie’s work centred on PCSDS and LGUs. Topics under her module ranged from understanding the regional climate change context and risk-based planning, funding opportunities, and project proposal development for climate finance.
  • Lovelaine complemented the climate-specific modules with training on project cycle management, including behavioural biases in project planning and monitoring, evaluation and learning plans.

After the action

Through our collaboration with diaspora professionals, we have opened new pathways to sustainable development in Palawan. As we celebrate the successful conclusion of this partnership, we look ahead to the impact we hope it will have on local community in the coming years…

A new understanding of sustainable development

The action has equipped PCSDS and PSU with fresh insights and practical knowledge in the field of environmental sustainability. The insights gained will be disseminated to the wider Palawan community through PSU and PCSDS, encouraging individuals to embrace concrete practices in their daily lives that benefit both the environment and the community. ESD, as shared by Denise, will play a pivotal role in fostering this transformation.

Confident engagement with funding institutions

Julie’s and Lovelaine’s expertise has empowered local actors to confidently engage with funding institutions for impactful climate adaptation initiatives in Palawan. With a solid understanding of climate change needs, solutions and donors, the action paves the way for impactful climate adaptation initiatives for a resilient future for local communities.

Further collaboration with the diaspora

Our partnership has demonstrated the immense value of diaspora expertise in driving positive change. Their contributions were not limited to knowledge exchange; they also played an active role in fundraising, resource mobilisation, and building international partnerships beyond the action’s planned activities.

“One of the collaborations that resulted from the EUDiF action is the involvement of Palawan State University teachers in my new project entitled, “Zoonosis and cultural evolution: mapping the past, present, and future of wildlife consumption and trading in Mongolia and the Philippines (ZooMap).” EUDiF played a role in bringing myself and the Palawan State University together.” Denise Margaret Matias, Diaspora professional

The Philippines’ diaspora knowledge economy

The Filipino diaspora engages actively with the Philippines through remittances, skills transfer and more. With a long history of migration including significant highly-skilled outflow, the government has established policies and programmes to encourage contributions from the diaspora. This action is an example of the diaspora’s contribution through skills transfer, and shows how diaspora expertise can serve as a catalyst on the most urgent of topics through micro programmes at local level and on a short timeframe.

We extend an open invitation to the Philippines’ global community to continue collaborating with local institution in the pursuit of the country’s sustainable development. In the meantime, we advise the rest of the world to deep-dive into the Philippines’ approach to diaspora engagement in which it leverages the potential of diaspora knowledge through a varied portfolio of short and long-term skills transfer mechanisms.

EUDiF thanks Denise, Julie and Lovelaine, as well as the focal points at PCSDS, John Pontillas and his team, and at PSU Jonalyn Villarosa and her fellow teachers. Although a brief collaboration in terms of time, this action has been a huge success thanks to the commitment and enthusiasm of all involved. Thanks to the tireless work of the partners, Palawan is better ready to respond to climate challenges and protect its environment and has strengthened its ties with the diaspora along the way.

For more on EUDiF’s action portfolio, head over to our actions page.

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