Delegates of the 3rd International Summit declared to protect rivers and watersheds.
Cagayan de Oro City Mayor Oscar S. Moreno led the declaration of the Cagayan de Oro Accord as part of the culminating event which was held in the city.
The declaration states to protect and maintain the watersheds; to recognize water as essential for broad-based agriculture production and rural development as well as the concern on the limited fresh water resources; and to concentrate its efforts to combat deforestation, desertification, and land degradation.
Likewise, to urge international community’s support in regional organizations to take primary responsibility in empowering their local government units, communities and to emphasize good governance in the management of the rivers and watersheds.
The accord sums up all the statements and recommendations generated during the thematic sessions and asserts to likewise build on the outcomes from previous IRS held in Iloilo City last 2012 and Marikina City in 2014.
President of the Philippine Watershed Management Coalition Raoul T. Geollegue said water can’t be managed in isolation and that stakeholders have to account its various interest and uses.
“Those who benefit from the water ought to pay, environmental justice says that those who benefit from goods and services ought to pay and those who provide the services as well,” he stressed while citing the need for payments for ecosystem services (PES) approach.
Cagayan de Oro River Basin Management Council Chair Archbishop Antonio J. Ledesma meanwhile added that the challenge of achieving healthy watersheds, clean rivers, and safer communities is for everyone to take on. (JCV/PIA-10)