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Cablegate: The Philippine Tropical Forest Conservation Foundation -

VZCZCXYZ7857
OO RUEHWEB

DE RUEHML #0553/01 0650726
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 050726Z MAR 08
FM AMEMBASSY MANILA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 9991
RUEHZU/ASIAN PACIFIC ECONOMIC COOPERATION IMMEDIATE
RUEATRS/DEPT OF TREASURY WASHDC IMMEDIATE

UNCLAS MANILA 000553

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

STATE PASS OES/ETC FOR CASWELL AND DENNIS
USAID FOR EGAT/ENV LAMPMAN, EGAT/ESP HESTER, ANE/TS MELYNK, AND
ANE/EAA DOWNEY
TREASURY FOR CARRIE MCKELLOGG AND KATIE BERG
BANGKOK FOR JAMES WALLER

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: EAID EFIN SENV RP
SUBJECT: THE PHILIPPINE TROPICAL FOREST CONSERVATION FOUNDATION -
2007 REVIEW

REFS: (A) Manila 1045

1. Summary. The Philippine Tropical Forest Conservation Foundation
(PTFCF) had a busy and productive 2007. The Foundation launched
initiatives including mapping of Philippine forests, publication of
a book on a Philippine hardwood species, and nursery development.
The PTFCF also competitively awarded 20 forest conservation grants
totaling almost $756,000 to Philippine NGOs. This cable provides
the year's highlights and updates on membership of the Board of
Trustees.

----------
Background
----------

2. Two United States - Philippine agreements signed in September
2002 established the PTFCF under the Tropical Forest Conservation
Act, which will divert $8.25 million in interest payments on
Philippine Government debt to the U.S. over a 14-year period to
support forest conservation activities of local NGOs. The PTFCF
began operations in April 2005 as a private, non-stock, non-profit
foundation. The PTFCF is managed by a Board of Trustees consisting
of two USG representatives, two Philippine Government
representatives, and five NGO representatives (Refs A and B). The
Philippines has experienced an alarming rate of deforestation over
the past 100 years, with forest cover declining from about 70
percent of the country's land (21 million hectares) in the early
1900s to about 17 percent (5.3 million) in the late 1990s.
Philippine forest cover has continued to decline since then. The
Foundation's purpose is to provide grants to NGOs to conserve,
maintain, or restore Philippine tropical forests. The Foundation's
website is http://www.ptfcf.org.

----------------------------
2007 Activity and Milestones
----------------------------

3. 2007 PTFCF Board and Committee Meetings: PTFCF Trustees,
Alternate Trustees, committee members, and staff had four board
meetings, the last of which took place in January 2008. PTFCF's
Finance and Program Committees held four and six meetings
respectively, to develop inputs for board meetings and recommend
board actions, including review of proposals, refining financial
management strategies, and strategic management. The PTFCF
Executive Director represented the Foundation at the Annual Meeting
of organizations managing funds created under the Enterprise for the
Americas Initiative and the Tropical Forest Conservation Act in San
Salvador, El Salvador on November 12-15, 2007.

4. Status of the Funds: As of December 31, 2007, the amount
deposited to the PTFCF account was $6,020,322 in local currency,
including $838,404 deposited in June and in December 2007. Aside
from current account requirements, PTFCF funds are invested in
peso-denominated Philippine Government Treasury Bills, with a blend
of maturities selected to meet cash flow needs, and an average
interest rate of 5.76%.

5. Forest Conservation Grants: Since its inception in 2005, the
PTFCF has granted over $1,537,000 to NGO-led forest conservation
initiatives throughout the Philippines. During 2007, 20 grant
awards were made totaling $755,784, in response to the PTFCF's
annual call for proposals released in February 2007. The
conservation grants targeted lowland forests and mangroves, with
most grants going to year-long, site-based activities. The maximum
grant amount was $40,000.

6. In addition to the competitively solicited grants, the
Foundation launched a number of its own initiatives meant to address
major gaps in the forestry sector. Activities included updating the
map of the Philippine forests; publication of a Philippine hardwood
resource book for NGO practitioners, academia, and upland
communities; and developing nurseries of indigenous tree species for
reforestation activities. To further streamline the operations,
enhance its presence and ability to respond to emerging needs of the
sector, the Board approved new guidelines for small grants,
co-funding and leveraging with other donors, and criteria for follow
on phases for successful multi-year projects.

--------------------------------------
Update on Board of Trustee Composition
--------------------------------------

7. U.S. Mission representation consists of State Principal Trustee,
Deputy Economic Counselor Timothy Neely (replacing Cleveland
Charles); State Alternative Trustee, Environment, Science,


Technology and Health Officer Caron de Mars; USAID Principal
Trustee, Chief of Office of Energy and Environment (OEE) Daniel
Moore; and USAID Alternative Trustee, Deputy Chief of OEE Aurelia
Micko.

8. PTFCF Board Composition. The following lists the incumbents of
the nine Trustee positions, together with institutional
affiliation.

Chair: Jose Ma. Lorenzo Tan, World Wildlife Fund
Vice Chair: Jose Atienza, Jr., Secretary, Department of Environment
and Natural Resources
Treasurer: Dr. Perry Ong, Foundation for Integrative Development
Studies, University of the Philippines
Secretary: Atty. Grizelda Mayo-Anda, Environmental Legal Assistance

SIPDIS
Center
Trustee: Roberto Tan, Undersecretary, Department of Finance
Trustee: Fr. Margarito Alingasa, Cebu Uniting for Sustainable Water
Foundation
Trustee: Dennis Salvador, Philippine Eagle Foundation
Trustee: Tim Neely, U.S. Department of State
Trustee: Daniel Moore, USAID

9. Board Developments during 2007. New Department of Environment
and Natural Resources Secretary Jose Atienza, Jr., assumed the Vice
Chairmanship of the Board from former outgoing Secretary Angelo
Reyes who left his post in June 2007. Fr. Margarito Alingasa of the
Cebu Uniting for Sustainable Water Foundation replaced former Board
Secretary Evelyn Amit-Corado as the NGO Trustee from the Visayas.

SIPDIS
The Foundation will continue the search for two Board positions: the
alternate trustee for Visayas and alternate trustee at-large. Terms
of all NGO board member end in December 2008.

----------------
Kicking Off 2008
----------------

10. The PTFCF Foundation has released its 2008 call for proposals
last February 17, 2008, with closing date of March 17, 2008. In the
first quarter of CY 2008, the Foundation is set to launch its
capacity-building activities, initially targeted for those NGOs that
submitted proposals in 2007 but were not considered for funding due
to the poor quality of proposals; and the selection of a public
interest-environmental law group to set up the PTFCF environmental
defense fund that will support on-ground enforcement activities.

Kenney

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