The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and the United States Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA) will intensify collaboration in creating innovative solutions to address climate and environmental challenges beyond borders.
In a statement on Friday, the DENR said a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that aims to boost bilateral cooperation for environmental and human health protection was signed on Nov. 14.
The MOU was signed by US EPA Administrator Michael Regan in Washington, D.C., and then transmitted to the Philippines for the signature of DENR Secretary Maria Antonia Yulo Loyzaga, in a ceremony witnessed by United States Ambassador to the Philippines MaryKay Carlson.
Under the five-year MOU, with an option to renew for another five years, the DENR and the US EPA would work on strengthening compliance and enforcement of environmental laws and ensuring science-informed policies and regulations.
“The DENR recognizes that the US EPA’s scientific and technical expertise will significantly contribute to the department’s keen desire to integrate more science into its work. As the adverse impacts of climate change and environmental degradation continue to impact the most vulnerable of the society, this collaboration will allow us to develop local adaptation and risk reduction strategies and integrate community and ecosystem resilience into green growth pathways,” Loyzaga said.
The EPA is an independent agency of the United States federal government tasked with developing and enforcing environmental regulations.
It also conducts research and has been at the forefront in ensuring clean air, land, and water for all Americans by providing access to the best science and technology in managing human health and environmental risks.
Loyzaga said that the MOU would help develop the capacity of the DENR- Environmental Management Bureau (EMB).
She noted that there is a need to enhance EMB’s programs on air and water quality management, solid waste management, marine litter, and plastic pollution prevention, and in the implementation of cumulative impact assessments that pose risks to human health and later on, the economy.
Carlson said the signing of the agreement shows that the partnership between the US and the Philippines is also a partnership for prosperity.
“This will strengthen our cooperation to protect the environment, including addressing and protecting human health,” Carlson said.
The signing is an offshoot of a meeting between President Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr. and US President Joseph Biden in Washington, D.C. in May, where both countries committed to address the health and environmental risks associated with climate change and environmental degradation. (PNA)