Integrated coastal management in the Philippines: Testing new paradigms
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With fisheries declining, coral reefs battered, mangrove forests under threat, pollution levels rising, and coastal communities experiencing increased poverty, the Philippines faces severe challenges in managing its coastal resources. Coastal management efforts began in the Philippines more than 20 years ago through various community-based projects. Now, integrated coastal management is expanding in the country and holds the potential to reverse the trends. This article analyzes the situation in relation to new approaches for coastal management being undertaken through the Coastal Resource Management Project supported by the United States Agency for International Development implemented by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources. This project, drawing on the lessons generated by past and ongoing coastal management initiatives, is emphasizing integrated approaches to management over narrowly focused fisheries management and habitat protection efforts. It highlights the increasingly important role of local governments and the changing roles of national government to effectively support integrated coastal management. Multisectoral collaboration is explained as standard procedure to achieve outcomes that are broad based and sustainable. Local and national level activities are contrasted and shown as essential complements in building institutionalization of resources management within all levels of government. A practical result framework is explained for measuring relative success at the local government level of implementing best practices for coastal management. Finally, lessons being learned related to collaboration, level of focus, education, and communication; who is responsible; and expansion of the project are highlighted.
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