Cagayan de Oro City is set to host one of the biggest gatherings of experts, scientists, policy makers, river administrators, indigenous communities, support groups, people’s organizations and practitioners to identify opportunities, problems and best practices towards effectively managing rivers across four vital issues on governance, biodiversity conservation and management, climate change and disaster risk reduction management and water quality.
Philippine Watershed Management Coalition President Raoul T. Geollegue is hopeful that these will advance river basins management across the country.
He explained that the summit aims to bring eminent leaders and stakeholders to share their knowledge and best practices that will form part in the blueprint of needed actions that will address pressing issues affecting river basins and their communities.
The local organizing said they are expecting around 800 to 1000 delegates during the 3-day summit set on 24-26 November at the Pryce Plaza Hotel.
The event is co-hosted by the local government of Cagayan de Oro City, Department of Environment and Natural Resources, Cagayan de Oro River Basin Management Council, and the League of Cities of the Philippines.
Various ambassadors and international agency partners have already committed to speak in the plenary sessions to include Russia, Netherlands, Bangladesh, United Kingdom, and Australia, among others.
Geollegue meanwhile stressed during the “Talakayan sa PIA” media forum held at the Limketkai Luxe hotel on 08 November, the state of the Cagayan de Oro River Basin and said that unless there is a serious intention to do something and correct the situation flooding is bound to happen.
“Seventy six (76) percent of the CDO river basin is open land cultivated, meaning there is no protective vegetative cover, while 10 percent of the forest cover is also classified as open canopy forest, with only 10 percent vegetative cover,” he said.
While massive tree planting has been undertaken by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, Geollegue said the trees planted are still small.
“This is a social issue. Everybody should be on board to solve the problem right now,” he said.
Geollegue also called on development planners to focus on the extensive rehabilitation of the grassland and barren areas at the headwaters instead of gray infrastructure like they did when Tropical Storm Sendong hits the region in 2011. (JCV/PIA-10)