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Sunday, November 27, 2011

50 Years of Conserving the Living Planet -- The WWF 50th Anniversary Celebration


Earth, the only living planet, the last frontier.  'But with the current state of our world's environment - forest denudation, air pollution, fish kill, landslides, excessive rainfall, rise of sea level, I can't help but think if we're heading towards our planet's darkest hours.  That's until I saw The Panda... and hope is rekindled in my heart.

The Panda I'm talking about is the symbol used by WWF, the world's largest and most experienced conservation organization.  This year, WWF celebrates its 50 years of taking care of our living planet and marks the 15th anniversary for WWF Philippines.  Marking these milestones, WWF Philippines recently held the Black and White Benefit Gala at the Manila Polo Club in Makati City.

WWF-Philippines celebrates the WWF global network’s 50th anniversary at the Main Lounge of the Manila Polo Club.

WWF-Philippines’ National Ambassadors, Marc Nelson and Rovilson Fernandez, hosted the event.

WWF Philippines Chairman Vince Perez in his speech said that fifty years ago, wildlife enthusiasts signed a manifesto creating an organization that could raise awareness, raise funds and forge alliances to champion the cause of environment conservation.  "That organization is WWF, now regarded as the world's largest conservation organization," said Vince Perez.

WWF-Philippine Chairman Vince Perez delivers his keynote speech and enjoins partners to support the Philippine Fund for Nature.

Lory Tan in Tubbataha Reef

From an organization that focused on protection of endangered species and other wildlife, WWF has now evolved into a premiere conservation organization.  WWF Philippines Vice Chair and CEO Lory Tan explained, "WWF has come to realize that we cannot save the Philippine Eagle, unless we manage our forests well.  And there is a crucial link between forests and water supply.  Unless we manage water supply, rice production is at risk.  In fact, all human activity is at risk."

WWF-Philippines Vice Chair and CEO Jose Ma. Lorenzo Tan discusses the organization’s successes since it was founded in the Philippines 15 years ago.

The Philippine Eagle

Lory added that the conservation of source" makes no sense unless we focus on the "management of use.  And no supply can be considered sustainable, unless there is a parallel effort to manage demand.  "As we face climate-defined future, no program can be considered up to snuff , unless it encompasses both the realities of today and the scenarios of tomorrow.  We are all connected."

Rice by WWF's Gregg Yan
Today WWF works on various comprehensive conservation programs such as climate adaptation, fisheries improvement and supply chain stabilization, business risk assessments for cities from climate impacts, renewable energy technologies, water supply and watershed management, population health and the environment and the drive to build sustainable cities.

Gensan Tuna Trade by WWF's Gregg Yan

Conservation is everyone's concern.  In the event, WWF recognized everyone who have been supporting the projects spearheaded by WWF.  From an organization that was entirely dependent on foreign funding, 65% of WWF's funding is now nationally sourced.  WWF's corporate partners provided invaluable support ensuring the continuity of environmental sustainability, conservation, and climate change adaptation projects.  WWF also received support from 498,000 individual donors through face to face (direct marketing at malls), online, ATM, Mobile and Merchandising channels.

WWF-Philippines Trustee Betty Sy and Ayala Group of Companies Chairman Emeritus Don Jaime Zobel de Ayala.
BDO is one of our two Corporate Partners of the Year. (L-R: WWF Vice Chair and CEO Lory Tan, BDO Senior EVP for Branch Banking Group Jimmy Yu, SAVP for Retail Channel Juvy Pereche Jr., SVP for Transaction Banking Group Emmanuel Narciso, and WWF-Philippines Chair Vince Perez.
While we recognize WWF's contributions to the environment, through its corporate partners, supporters and individual donors, much remains to be done.  The event rallies on for new conservation programs and sustainable solutions over the next decades.  Vince Perez explained that WWF's latest Living Planet Report says that from 1970 to 2007, biodiversity plummeted by 30%.  "Inversely, our demands of natural resources are increasing.  It can no longer be business as usual.  It is estimated that by 2030, barely 20 years from now, we will need the equivalent of 2 earths to sustain our needs."

Our global carbon footprint has increased by a third since 1998.  No wonder that phrase "Climate Change" has become a household term.  In the latest United Nations' World Risk Index, the Philippines ranked third among the most disaster-vulnerable countries worldwide, trailing only behind Tonga and Vanuatu.

That is why we need to unite and work together to become a healthy, sustainable and climate-resilient Philippines.

WWF Researcher in Turtle Islands by WWF Philippines and Jurgen Freund

Vince Perez presented and invited everyone to support the Philippine Fund for Nature which is an initiative of WWF Philippines to establish a special endowment fund of PhP 200 million designed to ensure the long term growth of WWF's programs in the area of conservation, climate change adaptation and management of human footprint.

Another highlight of of the evening was honoring Don Jaime Zobel de Ayala, chairman emeritus of the Ayala Group of Companies and founding chair of WWF-Philippines. The organization gave Don Jaime Zobel de Ayala, a mat handwoven by National Living Treasure awardee Haja Amina Appi, a master mat weaver from the Sama indigenous community on Tawi-Tawi, where WWF-Philippines was founded 15 years ago.

Don Jaime Zobel de Ayala delivers an acknowledgment speech.

WWF-Philippines Chair Vince Perez presents Don Jaime a token, a mat woven by
National Living Treasure awardee Haja Amina Appi. The master weaver is from Tawi-Tawi, the birthplace of WWF-Philippines.

Jollibee Foods Corporation COO Ernesto Tanmantiong with WWF-Philippines’ Major Gifts Manager Puch Calma and Merchandising Officer Stephanie Panganiban.

McDonald’s Philippines President Kenneth Yang with WWF-Philippines VP for Marketing and Corporate Relations Reggie Olalia.

L-R:  WWF-Philippines Media and Communications Manager Gregg Yan,
Climate Change & Energy head Gia Ibay, BPI SVP and Group Head for Consumer Banking Natividad Alejo and WWF-Philippines Chairman Vince Perez.

Bizu prepared specially-created WWF macaroons for the guests.

WWF Ambassadors Marc Nelson and Rovilson Fernandez did the TaDi pose!  :)

Again, Congratulations and Happy Anniversary to WWF and WWF Philippines!  Here's to another 50 years of conservation of our Living Planet!  With you around, I believe we are not headed to Earth's darkest hours but to its shining moment!  :)

To know more about the WWF Philippines and Philippine Fund for Nature, interested parties may get in touch with Puch Calma at (0927) 7936133 or pcalma@wwf.org.ph.

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