To strengthen the involvement of women sector in marine biodiversity conservation, the Biodiversity Management Bureau (BMB) recently conducted a Women Leadership Forum in Sta. Ana, Cagayan.

The forum was participated in by DENR gender and development (GAD) focal persons of Ilocos Region, Cagayan Valley, CALABARZON, and the Cordillera Administrative Region. This was conducted to establish a network and foster learning exchange among women leaders from the grassroots level to the national offices; understand the perception of the communities and attitude towards decision-making and gender roles; and promote gender sensitivity and inclusion in the implementation of the Coastal and Marine Ecosystems Management Program.

To develop confidence in the implementation of their programs and projects, members of people’s organizations (POs) in Cagayan province and other fisherfolk also attended the forum.

Topics discussed in the two-day learning event were Introduction to the Basics of GAD Concepts by Senior Ecosystems Management Specialist (EMS) Pablo G. delos Reyes Jr., Basic Concepts: Sex and Gender, Gender Roles, Gender Bias, Understanding Gender Equality and Equity, Gender and Biodiversity and Gender Policies of the Philippine Government by GAD focal person Jessica F. Torno and Biodiversity-Friendly Enterprise by Supervising EMS Nilda S. Baling.

DENR Region 2 Coastal Resources and Foreshore Management (CRFM) chief Maria Salome G. Bonnit also imparted her learning experiences in the Coral Triangle Initiative on Coral Reefs, Fisheries and Food Security Women Leaders Forum held in Indonesia in October 2018.

During the workshop, the participants were required to determine enterprise development approaches in a given situation and illustrate how they see themselves aiding in the biodiversity conservation efforts of their respective communities.

The participants visited the Matara Reef Marine Protected Area (MPA) in Gonzaga town, one of the locally-managed MPAs in Cagayan, where members of the San Jose Fisherfolk Association shared their best management practices. They also witnessed the famous seaweed processing initiative of the Women in Fisheries Enterprise organization at the Fisherfolk Center in Gonzaga.

Engr. Bonnit said the forum was an opportunity to show the ability and capacity of the POs in conserving and protecting the coastal and marine environment in Region 2.#