MFIs Visit PPP Model of Coastal, Marine Resources ConservationCatch of the Week
The Multilateral Financial Institutions (MFI) Working Group on Environment observed on 18–19 October three Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) established through a public–private partnership (PPP) in the province of Batangas in the Philippines.
Representatives from the Asian Development Bank, the World Bank, International Finance Corporation, European Investment Bank, Commerce and Economic Development Bureau, the World Health Organization, and the Black Sea Trade and Development Bank were briefed in Hamilo Coast, Nasugbu, by stakeholders from the private sector, the local community, and the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF).
The MFI Working Group on Environment assembled in the Philippines—which is part of the Coral Triangle ecoregion—for its fall meeting on 16–18 October at the ADB headquarters. After which they traveled to Nasugbu, about 3 hours south of Manila. The trip, cohosted by the WWF and ADB, took the working group representatives to three MPAs—the coves of Etayo, Pico de Loro, and Santelmo in Hamilo Coast—covering an aggregate area of over 100 hectares (ha).
Stephen Lintner, senior technical advisor at the World Bank said he was particularly interested to see how PPP models promote both economic growth as well as conservation.
“What’s interesting here was the way they were able to include economic development of the area, conservation, and engagement of the community,” said Lintner. “They’ve been able to generate jobs and are starting to test the process for marine and coastal conservation. One of the challenges I recognize is how a private sector body can work with the government to make sure that protection standards are maintained despite very substantial pressures from encroachment.”
The private sector component of the project is through the Sy family’s 5,800 ha development of Hamilo Coast where the corporation has built a hotel and condominiums at Pico de Loro cove, the first phase of the resort’s development and one of the three MPAs measuring 40 ha.
Since 2006, Costa del Hamilo and WWF-Philippines have spearheaded various initiatives to promote ecological and environmental sustainability in Nasugbu, according to Joel Palma, WWF-Philippines conservation director. These include the declaration of Hamilo Coast’s three selected coves as MPAs, activation of bantay dagat or sea patrol units to protect the area from poachers and illegal fishing, livelihood opportunities and environmental education for nearby communities, identification and safe release of pawikan or sea turtle hatchlings on cove shores, and the cultivation of giant clams or taklobos off its coastlines.
“Our focus is now on coastal resource management (CRM) within the municipal waters itself, not just the immediate vicinity,” said Palma. “We conceptualized which areas would be protected, and the developer sought advice from WWF. We saw an opportunity to go beyond CRM and go into ecotourism.”
Two of the MPAs (Etayo and Pico de Loro) are classified as “marine reserves” where hook-and-line fishing is allowed, while Santelmo is a “marine sanctuary” where absolutely no extraction is allowed.
Wesley Caballa, senior manager of Hamilo Coast, said fishers in Barangay Papaya—which counts around 500 households—were not deprived of their livelihood since hook-and-line fishing was still allowed in two of the three MPAs, and some of the villagers were employed in the resort.
“Now, 60% of the labor at the resort is sourced from the local community,” said Caballa. “These include people who used to be illegal fishers who are now members of the Bantay Dagat enforcement team. We went through the social process and did studies, educational trips, and consultations with the villagers.”
So far—along with other CRM interventions such as coastal law enforcement and environment education—live coral reef cover, fish biomass, and biodiversity have continually increased over the years since the MPAs’ establishment.
“We also noticed that the blacktip reef sharks are back in Santelmo,” said Paolo Pagaduan, project manager at WWF-Philippines, who said that the sharks returned after Santelmo was protected.
Caballa added that three sea turtle species are found in the area: the hawksbill, olive ridley, and the green turtle.
“In January, we helped risso’s dolphins stranded in Natipuan cove and buried a Bryde’s whale that died in Calayo cove 2 years ago,” said Caballa.
“It took us 5 days and 100 volunteers to transfer the whale to another cove and bury it there by hand,” added Pagaduan. Plans are afoot to mount the whale’s skeleton at the resort.
At the end of the visit, how did the MFI participants view the public–private partnership model of coastal and marine resources conservation in Nasugbu?
“Normally the bank would not finance such a project if it were just a hotel,” said Peter Carter, chief environmentalist of the European Investment Bank (EIB). “But the fact that it had conservation and livelihood aspects integrated into the project, it would be more attractive to financing. The EIB does projects where it thinks it can add value. In this particular case, it is clear from the field visit that good work is being done on conservation of the marine environment, and it is being done in a way that incorporates local communities with the view to enhancing livelihoods.”
“I’m very encouraged,” said Lintner of the World Bank. “But I think one of the things we need to do is to work on a whole range of these types of tests and draw some lessons learned. Not to test whether we can have a public–private partnership to deal with marine and coastal management—I think that is well-proven. The real question is how we can enhance and broaden these partnerships and make them more part of how we work on development, whether it’s in the Coral Triangle or elsewhere in the world where you have to deal with heavy pressures on coastal and marine resources to provide opportunities for people who make a living, to reduce poverty, and to promote economic growth.”
Story and photos by CTKNetwork.org