Project Aims for Sustainable Management of Coastal Resources in the PhilippinesPrograms & Projects
A project of the Asian Development Bank (ADB) seeks to enhance coastal resources and reduce poverty among municipal fishers in the Philippines.
“Project 33276-013: Integrated Coastal Resources Management,” (ICRM) is part of ADB’s Country Strategy and Program for the Philippines and seeks the establishment of sustainable management and conservation of coastal resources and increased income for coastal communities.
The coastal and marine resources of the Philippines are of national and global importance because of their rich biodiversity and valuable contribution to the economy. However, these resources are declining and are under threat from human activities. Coral reefs, mangroves, seagrass, and other important coastal habitats are under severe stress with consequential decrease in the production of coastal fisheries. The resource depletion has affected the livelihood of fishers, an overwhelming majority of whom live in poverty.
The project is being implemented in seven priority marine biodiversity corridors and ecosystems covering 80 municipalities in the provinces of Cagayan, Cebu, Davao Oriental, Masbate, Romblon, Siquijor, and Zambales.
Since the mid-1980s, the Government of the Republic of the Philippines has implemented a number of coastal resources management programs, mostly as technical assistance from multilateral and bilateral agencies and some as part of major investment and policy initiatives in the sector. Interventions under these programs, notably in marine protected areas, resulted in significant positive impacts on biophysical parameters such as coral cover, fish catch, and biodiversity; promoted good governance practices especially at the local level with the participation of local communities in resource management and law enforcement; and created an awareness among local officials and coastal communities on the need for conservation and protection of coastal ecosystems.
Despite these significant gains, threats to the management of coastal resources still persist due to a number of complex factors, including lack of an ICRM approach to coastal zone planning, policy and institutional weaknesses, weak law enforcement, high poverty incidence among coastal fishers, and open access to marine and coastal resources. Building on the experience of past programs, the project assists the government to adopt a holistic approach to coastal resources management integrating terrestrial and coastal environments, strengthen policy and institutional framework, develop local government capacity, and reduce pressure on coastal resources.
As per the 23 September project data sheet, seven out of the targeted 10 policy studies have been completed. The remaining three are being undertaken, while 79 ICRM Philippine plans have been developed and adopted by the respective local government units in their municipal development plans. Budget allocations have also been provided in the implementation of the ICRM activities.
A total of 15,188 hectares (ha) have been contracted for watershed rehabilitation and reforestation, of which 10,983 ha have been planted or rehabilitated. Thirty-nine of the 51 MPA-based biodiversity conservation activities have been implemented. These include restocking of abalone, giant clam, and other marine species. A total of 352 enterprises have been developed, of which 271 are being implemented. The rest are in various stages of preparation. Livelihood projects consist of abalone/tilapia/bangus culture, chicken/poultry, hog raising, seaweed farming, and bagoong (fish paste) production. Some of these have completed the first cycle of production.
A total of 54 ecotourism subprojects (reef discovery, forest adventure, river expedition, arts and crafts, and nature village) have been identified with estimated funding of P9.3 million. Of these, 21 have been established, 17 are undergoing procurement, and 22 are awaiting funding. Fourteen subprojects geared to improve the health and social conditions in the coastal communities have been identified, of which 11 are being implemented.
Bui Minh Giap
Natural Resources and Agriculture Economist