How to communicate on biodiversity? | Jonathan L. Mayuga

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How to communicate on biodiversity so that the target audience understands the importance of saving it?

At the forefront of the campaign to protect and conserve the country’s rich biodiversity, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources-Biodiversity Management Bureau (DENR-BMB) uses different traits to communicate it.

Over the years, the DENR-BMB has evolved from issuing press releases and statements to using various forms of media to disseminate news and other information, to embracing the latest trends in information technology, including social media.

During the last two years of community quarantine due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the challenge of communicating about biodiversity has become even more difficult for the DENR-BMB, but no task is difficult through its core group. Communication, Education and Public Awareness (CEPA).

IEC pre-Covid

Before the pandemic, the DENR-BMB regularly made school and community visits across the country, especially during major biodiversity-related celebrations, such as World Wetlands Day, World Wildlife Day, Day International Biodiversity Festival, Philippine Eagle Week, World Migratory Bird Day. , World Oceans Day, Coral Triangle Day, Tamaraw Month and Climate Change Awareness Week.

The DENR-BMB has also responded to requests from schools, local communities (LGU), non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and even the private sector to lead discussions on biodiversity.

The agency also facilitated television and radio interviews, and organized roadshows, such as exhibitions in shopping malls, hotels and convention centers.

Evolution of the platform

Almost a year after the start of the pandemic, the agency has started going digital due to community quarantines, which have resulted in travel restrictions, the closure of schools, shopping malls and convention centers.

Residents of the community were also prohibited from going to barangay rooms or public spaces, forcing the central group DENR-BMB CEPA to rethink its strategy and adapt to the situation.

“By going digital, we are keeping our old routines in the new normal. For DENR-BMB, more than ever, social media has become a vital CEPA platform, ”DENR-BMB Director Datu Tungko M. Saikol told BusinessMirror via email on December 27.

Continuing its online public outreach program, DENR-BMB ran seminars through webinars and even used social media to improve its existing programs.

“This [CEPA] bridges the gap between science, society and sound policy making through a range of instruments ranging from knowledge products to education, social marketing and dialogue, ”Saikol said.

DENR-BMB uses several CEPA strategies to achieve its goals of communicating biodiversity to target audiences, he said.

Dalaw-Turo

Dalaw-Turo (DT) is a CEPA strategy that helps achieve its goal.

This means teaching visits through lectures to schools and communities to teach the importance and state of the country’s biodiversity.

It also promotes its conservation and deepens understanding of pressing environmental issues.

This is an environmental awareness program initiated in the early 1990s with the aim of raising public awareness of biodiversity conservation and sustainable development through a non-traditional and non-formal participatory approach.

“Over the years, he has used various forms of popular media such as street theater, creative workshops and exhibitions, including other activities such as tours and ecological games, to make learning about the friendly and efficient biodiversity, ”he said.

“Sentinel of biodiversity”

The official journal of the DENR-BMB, the Biodiversity Sentinel, is published every six months. It covers selected topics and information on DENR-BMB’s conservation efforts, as well as the latest news and research at the national, ASEAN and global levels.

It aims to ensure that DENR staff, partners and other stakeholders are kept abreast of biodiversity conservation work and to provide accurate and insightful coverage of the latest news and research on Philippine biodiversity.

Finally, this knowledge product is effective in communicating scientific knowledge in a language easily understood by a wider audience while respecting scientific accuracy.

Electronic copies of Biodiversity Sentinel can be accessed online via the link: https://bmb.gov.ph/index.php/e-library/publications/newsletter.

eLibrary

Launched only on November 17, 2021, as part of the celebration of the International Year of Caves and Karst, the DENR-BMB digital library, or eLibrary, complements the existing information services of traditional libraries enhanced by digital technologies. current information and knowledge management practices. .

It offers a comprehensive collection of biodiversity information for users which can be accessed with a few computer clicks through the online public access catalog, which allows 24/7 remote access for multiple users. .

The eLibrary is set up under the supervision of the Caves, Wetlands and Other Ecosystems Division of DENR-BMB and in close coordination with the Biodiversity Policy and Knowledge Management Division.

Campaign for the Year of Protected Areas

The Year of Protected Areas campaign aims to raise awareness through an information campaign on the ecological and economic value of protected areas and to help the new generation of Filipinos appreciate the beauty and heritage of areas set aside for conservation. conservation.

As part of the campaign, DENR-BMB, in collaboration with the United Nations Development Program-Biodiversity Finance Project, is pushing for 2022 to be declared the Year of Protected Areas in the Philippines.

The campaign will include six protected areas, namely Bongsanglay Natural Park in Bicol, Apo Reef Natural Park west of Mindoro, Samar Island Natural Park on Samar Island, Park the Twin Lakes of Balinsasayao in Negros Oriental, the Mount Hamiguitan Wildlife Sanctuary in Davao Oriental, and the Mount Timpoong-Hibok-Hibok Natural Monument on Camiguin Island.

CESP #StopIWT campaign

A major driver of biodiversity loss, the illegal wildlife trade is still part of the DENR’s CEPA campaign.

The campaign aims to reduce demand for wildlife, their by-products and derivatives, while raising awareness of the environmental and legal consequences of illegal wildlife trade.

The campaign highlights legal penalties for violating Republic Law 9147 or the Wildlife Conservation and Protection Law, also known as the Wildlife Law.

It focuses on the campaign against the hunting or poaching of wildlife, especially sea turtles, and parrots, particularly the blue-naped parrot.

The campaign ran from February 2020 to July 2021, but material produced from this company can still be seen circulating on various social media platforms.

Biodiversity Ambassador Program

To increase public awareness of biodiversity conservation, DENR-BMB aims to partner with an influencer who lends celebrity status in support of the office’s vision, mission and goals.

The Biodiversity Ambassador will be at the forefront of communicating biodiversity to the general public, inspiring others, especially young people, to become stewards of the environment in their schools and communities.

The Biodiversity Ambassador, who will receive guidance and mentorship, will be invited to participate in various biodiversity conservation efforts and CEPA-related activities.

One of these DENR-BMB biodiversity ambassadors is Antoinette Taus, who continues to advocate for biodiversity conservation and appears in various CEPA-related activities of DENR-BMB and its partners.

Image credits: DENR-BMB photo

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