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modalities for avoidance and settlement of disputes/conflicts
Settlement of disputes and conflicts under environmental legislation
Resolutions of conflict in the Philippines
Example of conflicts
- Despite having a number of mechanisms in place for the integration of environmental concerns into decision-making, conflicts still arise in the Philippines. Several examples of such conflicts and how they have been resolved are given here.
Creation of multi-stakeholding body
1. In Tagaytay City, Philippines, conflict arose between tourism development for revenue generation and the development of livelihood for the local population, which was competing with the protection of the pristine environment and unique geological features of the region. The development of Tagaytay and its rapid urbanization, if left uncontrolled, would have spelled disaster for the environment. The solution has been the creation of a multi-stakeholding body, the Presidential Commission on the Development of Tagaytay, in which representatives of the competing interest groups have the opportunity to voice their needs and concerns. The principle is that all interests are considered legitimate, and providing a forum for negotiation and consensus building is expected to result in the mutual satisfaction of needs and interests.
Facilitating coordination and cooperative decision-making
2. The increasing popularity of golf courses as a tourist attraction has led to widespread development and construction on large areas. That has resulted in growing concern over land conversion and its impact on food security and biodiversity, as well as water scarcity. The creation of a multi-stakeholding mechanism that brings the divergent interests to the negotiating table is seen as the best way of facilitating coordination and cooperative decision-making.
Mechanism for generating social acceptability
3. One of the salient features of the Executive Order to Strengthen the Environmental Impact Assessment System is the mechanism for generating social acceptability. That type of conflict stems from the desire among various non-governmental groups for full and extensive participation in decisions related to the choice of projects for implementation, and may entail a painstaking and time-consuming process. On the other hand, some government agencies try to expedite the implementation of critical projects such as those related to energy and transportation. Failure to strike a compromise on the provisions results in a significant delay in the formulation of the required Executive Order. Therefore, it was decided to separate the technical and environmental issues from the social issues, possibly through a separate instrument for social acceptability and the issuance of a department order (instead of an Executive Order) that addresses the issue.
Resolution of conflict
4. The Industrial Forest Management Agreement was promoted by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources as a forest policy that addressed the need to assure a stable supply of forest products while fulfilling reforestation objectives. Nevertheless, the technological and biodiversity implications did not make the approach a sound one in that it promoted mono-cropping which tended to erode genetic diversity and increase incidence of pests and diseases. The resolution of that conflict was in the form of an agreement that the promotion of the policy would be reassessed and its continuing implementation reviewed by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources. The resolution was facilitated by Philippine Council for Sustainable Development (PCSD) and the formulation of the Philippine Agenda 21, which brought the issue under discussion.