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Philippines: Mindanao State University Adopts Islamic Environmental Sourcebook

March 28, 2010

06/03/2008 –

The pioneering sourcebook on environment management – the result of the collective efforts of scholars, clerics and local government officials in Muslim Mindanao – is well on the way to becoming a standard training and learning tool in the region.

The sourcebook titled Al Khalifa (The Steward) went through a series of consultations and workshops, with the religious leaders in Western Mindanao playing the key role, and was positively welcomed by local government units in the region. It seeks “to enable Muslims to be involved in environmental governance through a clearer understanding and better appreciation of their responsibilities and accountabilities as prescribed by Islam.”

Al Khalifa was developed by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), through its Philippine Environmental Governance (EcoGov) Project, working with Muslim community leaders, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, educators, and Qur’anic experts from Western Mindanao.

In a workshop hosted by Cotabato City, DENR-ARMM and EcoGov on May 21, representatives of academe, ARMM LGUs, and development projects agreed to work for the adoption of Al Khalifa as a standard guide for all environmental governance initiatives.

One of the recommendations of the group was to draft an executive order for the ARMM Governor which will direct the regional offices of DENR, DA/BFAR, DepEd, Bureau of Madaris, and local government units to integrate Al Khalifa principles and teachings in their work. It was also recommended that a similar EO be issued by the Mayor of Cotabato City.

The Act for Peace, a Mindanao-based project, will integrate environment concerns in their training modules for peace advocates, guided by the book. The Cotabato-based Action Against Hunger committed to use Al Kahilfa teachings in their IEC campaign.

Other workshop participants included the Mindanao State University (MSU), Accelerated Teachers Education Program (ATEP) of Notre Dame University in Cotabato City, and the Philippine Muslim Women Council from Marawi City.

In an earlier meeting on May 14, the MSU core group discussed the development of syllabi and modules based on the Al Khalifa sourcebook, to be used by students, mentors, and religious leaders. The materials will be translated to various languages and replicated in all MSU campuses in Mindanao. MSU is expected to play a crucial role as service provider for local governments in the field of environmental management, where it can propound both technical aspects and moral principles in leadership and governance.

The EcoGov Project is helping LGUs in ecologically critical areas in Mindanao manage their forest and coastal resources, and their solid waste and wastewater. With Al Khalifa providing guidance, they hope that environmental programs will be carried out more effectively in Muslim communities.

This piece is taken from the website of the Philippine Environmental Governance Project.

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