The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) will hold a two-day summit in Davao City next month to discuss with stakeholders possible solutions to the most pressing environmental problems facing Mindanao today.

The DENR has partnered with the Ateneo de Davao University (AdDU) for the environmental summit to be held at the campus on August 4. Some 4,000 participants, particularly from the academe, civil society and other stakeholders from across Mindanao’s six regions, are expected to attend the event.

The second day (August 5) will see the DENR work with selected CSO representatives in a strategic planning workshop at the Davao Convention Center.

DENR Secretary Gina Lopez said that the summit and the workshop aim to engage the stakeholders and involve them in the implementation of programs and projects of the department, especially for Mindanao.

‘Participants will know more about the DENR’s programs and understand them better. At the same time, it will be a chance for stakeholders to present ways for us to strengthen program implementation,” Lopez explained.

She added: ‘The most important thing is, everything will be interactive and will allow all stakeholders to foster a closer working relationship. This is also a step for the DENR in embarking towards being more than regulatory, but an activator of change.”

The summit will open with a segment called the "State of the Mindanao Environment Day" or SOMEDay. The forum, to be facilitated by AdDU President Fr. Joel Tabora, SJ, will allow civil society organizations (CSO) to present their concerns and recommendations to the new DENR chief, who is expected to provide her initial feedback.

Simultaneously, a parallel dialogue between the community or other stakeholders and the AdDU students will be held in “Laudato Si Classes” aimed to enrich the environmental consciousness and understanding of the participants.

The two dialogue-forums will be followed by the turnover of the Mindanao Environmental Agenda to Lopez, and the commissioning of all participants as ecological warriors or simply "eco-warriors."

On the second day, some 200 selected CSO representatives will be oriented on the major programs of the DENR. These would serve as the basis for the workshop’s breakout sessions, in preparing action plans to address issues, and coming up with relevant programs and policies.

Participants and visitors will also be able to view an eco-fair exhibit from August 4 to 8 at the Martin Hall. The exhibit will showcase CSO initiatives in promoting environmental protection. #