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UPLB-INREM marks first anniversary as affiliate hub of UP ResiIience Institute

The UPLB Interdisciplinary Studies Center for Integrated Natural Resources and Environment Management (UPLB-INREM) celebrated the first anniversary of its institutionalization as an affiliate hub of the UP Resilience Institute (UP RI) in a forum on April 8, 2023, at the Lansigan Auditorium, College of Forestry and Natural Resources (CFNR).

UPLB-INREM began in 2013 as a virtual interdisciplinary studies center of UPLB by virtue of Administrative Order No. 140 issued by the UPLB Office of the Chancellor.

It was elevated to the status of a partner resilience hub of UPRI by the UP Board of Regents at its 1379th meeting on April 3, 2023.

The forum, with the theme “UPLB-INREM @ 1: Transforming Philippine Ecosystems Towards a Sustainable and Resilient Future,” showcased the key accomplishments and ongoing research and capacity-building projects of the center. 

Present at the anniversary celebration were various stakeholders of the center, including UPLB and UPRI officials, researchers, technical working group members, institutional partners, and representatives from different CFNR units and UPLB colleges. 

In his welcome remarks, Dr. Juan M. Pulhin, founding director of UPLB-INREM, walked the audience through the center’s storied, decade-long history. 

He presented UPLB-INREM’s major outputs and achievements, from organizing international conferences on INREM, publishing special issues in web-of-science indexed journals, to forging institutional partnerships and facilitating capacity development with various state universities and colleges, local government units, and local and international networks. 

He invited the center’s stakeholders and partners to work towards their collective aspiration for the country’s ecosystems and communities. 

UPLB Chancellor Jose V. Camacho, Jr. lauded the accomplishments of UPLB-INREM and committed UPLB’s steadfast support for its activities and missions. 

He envisioned the center to be at the forefront of promoting resilience and sustainability, one of the pillars of UPLB’s Accelerating Growth through One Research and Extension in Action (AGORA). 

Meanwhile, UPRI Executive Director Dr. Alfredo Mahar Francisco A. Lagmay said that he recognized the dedication and perseverance of UPLB-INREM towards research, development, and public service. Director Lagmay also enjoined the wider research community to embrace its role as stewards of the environment and champions of change. 

Dr. Dennis P. Garrity, former director-general of the World Agroforestry Center and chairman of the board of The Global EverGreening Alliance, delivered a special lecture on the importance of ecosystem restoration in averting the impacts of catastrophic climate change. 

He advocated for holistic global initiatives, such as the Race to Zero Carbon Emissions, and pointed out the gaps in talent needed to support such initiatives. 

The forum also featured the ceremonial signing of the memorandum of understanding (MOU) between UPLB Foundation, Inc., represented by Chancellor Camacho, and Isabela State University (ISU), represented by its president, Dr. Ricmar P. Aquino. 

The MOU formalizes the partnership between the two institutions under the project, “Modelling CIS Application in the Agriculture and Fisheries Sector Through Tripartite Collaborations in Region II, Northern Philippines” or the SSCIS Project.

It aims to facilitate closer ties and stronger collaboration between the two institutions in the areas of climate change, agriculture, and fisheries.

Dr. Pulhin, CFNR Dean Marlo D. Mendoza, UPLBFI Executive Director Enrico P. Supangco, ISU Vice President for Research and Extension Orlando F. Balderama, and GIZ SSCIS Chief Advisor Jimmy Loro served as witnesses of the MOU signing. 

The forum also featured the outcomes and potential impacts of UPLB-INREM’s ongoing projects as part of its commitment to the thrusts of UPLB AGORA and to research, development, and extension in general. 

Among these projects are the Integration of Traditional and Modern Bioproduction Systems for a Sustainable and Resilient Future under Climate and Ecosystems Changes (ITMoB), presented by Dr. Rex Victor O. Cruz; Resource Inventory, Valuation, and Policy in Ecosystem Services under Threat (RE-INVEST): The Case of the West Philippine Sea Project 2, presented by Dr. Asa Jose U. Sajise; Upgrading of the Supporting Stakeholders in Advancing Integrated Natural Resources Management through Capacity Development (SUSTAIN) Laboratory of UPLB-INREM, presented by Dean Marlo D. Mendoza; SSCIS project presented by Dr. Maricel T. Villamayor; and Resilience-building and Future-proofing Strategies in a Multi-stressed Scenario in the Province of Albay, Philippines, presented by Dr. Rose Jane J. Peras. 

Representatives of UPLB-INREM’s institutional partners gave testimonials regarding their fruitful partnerships through in-person and video messages. Among them were Dr. Ricmar P. Aquino, president of ISU; Jimmy R. Loro, chief advisor of GIZ-SSCIS; Monica B. Castillo of DOST-PCAARRD; Mary Grace G. Bannagao, assistant provincial government environmental and natural resources officer of Laguna; Hon. Governor Raphaelle Veronica Ortega-David of the Province of La Union; Dr. Jaime I. Manuel, Jr., president of Don Mariano Marcos Memorial State University; Dr. Ramon M. Docto, president of Palawan State University; Dr. Amabel S. Liao, president of Western Philippines University; Dr. Ruby B. Santos-Matibag, president of Bataan Peninsula State University; Dr. Linda Anne Stevenson, acting director for research of the Asia-Pacific Network for Global Change; Atty. Jose Andres A. Canivel, executive director of Forest Foundation Philippines; and Dr. Wilfredo A. Dumale, Jr, president of Nueva Vizcaya State University. (Kyle Vincent R. Singson, Christian Ray C. Buendia, Farah Y. Sevilla)

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