Environment and development
in coastal regions and in small islands
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The Republic of the Philippines

A field project on ‘Community-based Approaches to Coastal Management’ in Ulugan Bay, Palawan was established in 1996. A ‘Strategic Planning Workshop for the Stakeholders of the Ulugan Bay Area’ was held in Palawan in November 1996 as a forum for: airing problems and issues affecting the area’s management; identifying areas of concerns; harmonizing the stakeholders’ efforts towards a common vision; and to establish goals, objectives and strategies for effective and sustainable resource management in the area.

A socio-economic profile of communities in Ulugan Bay was completed in March 1999. As part of a study on traditional resource use and the culture of indigenous communities, with assistance from the Office of the City Agriculturist, baseline research was undertaken in June 1999. This assessment involved the community through workshops and so helped to build links between the community and the researchers.

A trainee from the Philippines attended a diploma course on the ecology of the early life stages of marine organisms (Bremen, Germany, March 1996).

A consultation was carried out among the local people of Ulugan Bay, and an environmental survey of the Bay was made with the Marine Science Institute of the University of the Philippines. An advanced training course for coastal zone assessment and zonation was held in September and October 1997 in collaboration with the UNESCO National Commission, the Palawan Council for Sustainable Development and the city government of Puerto Princesa. An advanced training course on the assessment and zonation of the coastal resources of Ulugan Bay was held in December 1997; it was attended by 17 local participants. A field campaign to assess Ulugan Bay involved 41 local inhabitants in June 1998. This and a series of other field campaigns continued the work of the ‘Community-based Approaches to Coastal Resources Management of Ulugan Bay’ project.

A project proposal ‘Coastal Resources Management and Sustainable Tourism’, for community-based multi-sectoral actions in Ulugan Bay, was submitted to the UNDP for funding in May 1997. A symposium on ‘Sustainable Tourism and Coastal Management’ was held in December 1997. In February 1999 the UNESCO-UNDP project on ‘Coastal Zones Management and Sustainable Tourism in Ulugan Bay, Palawan Island, the Philippines’ started. A series of community consultations and resource assessments were carried out around the Bay in February and March 1999. Field studies were conducted in May 1999 to assess the potential for sustainable tourism in the Bay. Meetings with tourist institutions and government agencies led to a Workshop in June 1999 to determine a ‘Local Community Master Plan on Sustainable Tourism’. The more than 50 participants determined and prioritized appropriate action, responsibility, guidelines and resource allocation, based on the previous studies of the Bay. The first phase of the Master Plan was implemented in 2000 and terminated successfully in December; proposals for the second phase were prepared. The aim is to provide a model of integrated coastal management based on practical experience, which could be replicated in other parts of the Philippines and throughout the region. The project results were summarised in ‘Coastal Resources Management – Ulugan Bay, Palawan Island, The Philippines’ (preface to the series). Volume I: Ecology, Culture and Socio-economics (project summary); Volume II: Master Plan for Community Based Eco-tourism (introduction) and; Volume III: An Integrated Model (introduction), which was published in 2001.

Two scientists from the Philippines were given a grant to attend the ‘International Seagrass Biology Workshop’ in April 1998, and to participate in the ‘Seventh International Congress of Ecology’ held in Italy in July 1998.

A ‘UNESCO Chair in Integrated Coastal Management and Sustainable Development’ at the University of the Philippines was created to complement the field projects. A contract was established with the Environmental Science Programme of the College of Science at the University to support education and training activities as part of the Chair. Teaching started in November 1998, although the Chair was not formally established until July 2000.Chair activities continued through 2001. An ecological survey of the Banda Islands was undertaken in 2002 to provide: a comprehensive description of the marine ecosystem; baseline data for developing an integrated management plan for the coastal ecosystem; and background data for nomination of the Banda Islands as a World Heritage Site. A summary of the UNESCO Chair was written in March 2001 and updated in mid-2002.

Field project leaders, university chair holders and UNESCO staff met in Bangkok, in July 2000, to discuss strategies for advancing and networking the field projects and university chairs in the Asia-Pacific region. Universities in India (University of Bhavnagar), Indonesia (University of Indonesia, Jakarta), Papua New Guinea (University of Papua New Guinea, Port Moresby), Samoa (National University of Samoa, Apia) and Thailand (University of Chulalongkorn, Bangkok) joined the University of the Philippines in signing an agreement to set up a UNITWIN (university twinning) network to reinforce interdisciplinary teaching and training in coastal matters in February 2002. 

One person from the Philippines participated in the intersectoral workshop ‘Towards Wise Coastal Development Practices’ held at UNESCO headquarters in Paris at the beginning of December 1998. A report on the workshop was published in English and French as CSI info 10 (2000): ‘Wise Coastal Practices for Sustainable Human Development. Results of an Intersectoral Workshop and Preliminary Findings of a Follow-up Virtual Forum’. The delegate from the Philippines presented a paper on ‘How Scientific Knowledge can be Linked to Management’ and another on the ‘Mangroves of Pagbilao Bay and Ulugan Bay’.

Community-based experimental sea-farming was started in June 1999 in conjunction with consultants and staff from the Office of the City Agriculturist. Between June and December thirty fish pens were constructed and stocked with fish of the Siganidae family. A system for monitoring pen biomass, fish condition, growth and behavior, morphometrics, water quality and other biophysical aspects of the culture system was established. Training was given in June and monitoring of the overall technical feasibility of the experimental sea-farm continues. At the beginning of 2001 fishermen began their own fish farm under the supervision of the Puerto Princesa City authorities.

A fisheries database was established for Ulugan Bay in March 1999. The conceptualization and review of existing data sets and systems is now underway. Field assessments were organized from June to December 1999 in collaboration with local counterpart ‘researchers’ who were trained in resource monitoring techniques. Mechanisms for training and involving fisheries staff from the Office of the City Agriculturist, other government institutions in the Province and NGOs were planned. Training in the use of the fisheries database was conducted in June 2000. Two hundred CDs containing the fisheries database were prepared in 2001.

A team from the NGO ELAC conducted an analysis of the needs of the people of Ulugan Bay for environmental education. They involved the Barangays (local fishing communities) and the Aquatic Resource Management Councils in discussions and appraisals between April and December 1999. In August 1999 five ‘Ecology Camps’ for young people and six ‘Basic Ecology Training’ sessions for adults were held. The total attendance was 125 students and 166 adults from 5 Barangays.

As part of the ‘World Conference on Science’, a special thematic session on traditional ecological knowledge ‘Science and Other Systems of Knowledge’ was held in Budapest in June 1999. A speaker from the Philippines was invited. A speaker from the Philippines also attended the ‘Second World Conference on Science’ speaking in a session on ‘Water and Indigenous Peoples’ held in The Hague, The Netherlands in March 2000. 

In August 1999 a discussion on ‘Combining Research  and Education in Protected Area Management / Ulugan Bay - Philippines’ started on the web-based ‘Wise Coastal Practices for Sustainable Human Development’ Forum. Other discussion topics that relate to the Philippines are: ‘Public–private partnerships for marine pollution management / Batangas Bay –Philippines’, ‘Environmental impact assessment as a management tool / Philippines’. Several more papers relating to the Philippines were added in 2000: ‘Further questioning the role of some NGOs’, ‘Further developments at Ulugan Bay’, ‘Exposing the hypocrisy of some “environmental” resorts’, ‘Sustainable tourism in a biosphere reserve, Puerto Galera’, ‘Local (Palawan-Philippines) and global aspects of renewable energy’, ‘The future of the wise practices forum – and Asia-Pacific region perspective’, ‘Education rather than purchasing is a better option for conservation’, ‘Sustainable tourism through the preparation of a tourism master plan’ and ‘Enforcing environmental laws: a societal approach’. A report on the Forum ‘Work in Progress 2’ /  ‘Progrès Accomplis 2’ / ‘Avance de Actividades 2’ was published in November 2000; three people from the Philippines contributed to it. Papers relating to the Philippines were posted in 2001: ‘Land Purchase/Lease for Conservation does Work – Some Examples’; The Impact of Migrant Fishers on Sustainable Development / Ulugan Bay, Palawan’; ‘Professional Management and Alternative Livelihoods: Approaches to Enforcing Fisheries Laws’; ‘The Complexity of Beach Erosion Mitigation’; ‘Management Approaches to Reduce the Negative Impact of Migrant Fishers’ and; ‘Organising Fishers to Break the Cycle of Poverty and Resource Degradation’. More papers relevant to the Philippines were posted in 2002: Indigenous Fishers’ Knowledge: Ownership, Predicaments and Research’, ‘The Spratlys as a Zone of Peace: the Transboundary Biosphere Reserve Concept at work’ and ‘The Spratly Islands: an Opportunity for Environmental Diplomacy?’ More followed in 2003: The Case Against a Mining Operation in Palawan, Philippines’; Minimising the Impact of Mining Operations’ and Compensating those Impacted by Mining

An interdisciplinary workshop ECOTONE IX on ‘Wise Practices in Coastal Tourism Development in Protected Areas’ was organised jointly with the Man and the Biosphere Programme (MAB) in May 2000. The workshop was held in the Puerto Galera Biosphere Reserve, Mindoro, which is threatened by tourism. The Puerto Galera Declaration 2000 ‘A Charter for Ecotourism in Biosphere Reserves’ was adopted. It is intended to guide development in protected areas.

A review meeting to monitor the progress of the Ulugan Bay project now renamed: ‘Coastal Resources Management and Ecotourism: an Intersectoral Approach to Localizing Sustainable Development, Ulugan Bay, Palawan’ was held in February 2000. It was attended by representatives from UNESCO, UNDP and the Government of the Philippines. Results and analysis of ecological and biodiversity studies provided input to policy formation. Two workshops for the policy-makers of the Ulugan Bay project were held in July 2000. The first was also attended by representatives from national, regional and local institutions, the communities of Ulugan Bay and two indigenous tribes. A summary of the goals of the Ulugan Bay field project, what has been achieved and its future direction was made in September 2000. An overview of the Ulugan Bay project and what the input of the Wise Practices Forum has contributed to it was published in UNESCO Sources 131 in February 2001: ‘The Points Man in the Philippines Last Frontier’ (in English, French and Spanish). A master plan for community-based eco-tourism has been implemented and has become a Local Government Ordinance. Alternative sources of income for the local community have been found and coastal resources are now used in a more sustainable way. The project officially ended at the end of 2001. In recognition of the success of the UNDP/UNESCO collaboration the project team was awarded the Mayor’s Award in 2001. The results of the Ulugan Bay project were published as CSI info 12, ‘An Ecological Assessment of Ulugan Bay, Palawan, Philippines’, in 2002. 

Two people from the Philippines attended a meeting of Small Island Developing States (SIDS) in Apia, Samoa, in December 2000. This workshop on ‘Wise Coastal Practices for Sustainable Small Island Living’ and an Open Day brought CSI project workers together. Discussion centred on project assessment and interaction with university chairs and the Internet-based forum. The results of the workshop were published as CSI papers 9: ‘Wise Coastal Practices Towards Sustainable Small-Island Living’. One of the participants from the Philippines presented a paper on the Ulugan Bay project, the other a paper on ‘Integrated Coastal Development in Coastal Regions and Small Islands’.

Between January and March 2001 the developing community-based sustainable tourism venture in Ulugan Bay received its first visitors. This phase was closely monitored by the Puerto Princesa City authorities and a UNESCO consultant, so that feedback from the local community and their visitors was recorded. A one-day workshop on ‘Community-Based Sustainable Tourism and Private-Sector Tourism Awareness-Orientation’ was held in Puerto Princesa City in March 2001. The aim was to create links between the private-sector tourism industry of Sitio Sabang and Puerto Princesa City and the Ulugan Bay community-based sustainable tourism venture. Thirty-six people attended the workshop, including members of the private-sector tourism industry, members of tourism related associations and representatives of local communities in Ulugan Bay.

A training course on ‘Remote Sensing and Geographic Information Systems for Coastal Application, SEAMEO BIOTROP’ was held in Bogar, Indonesia in October 2001. At least one person from the Philippines attended the course.

Starting in November 2001 CSI and the UNESCO Jakarta office coordinated a one-year project in collaboration with the National Commission for the Philippines and supported by the World Heritage Centre on ‘Community-Based Sustainable Tourism in Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park/World Heritage Site. Villagers and members of the indigenous communities of the park were trained as guides. Village Tourism Associations, created as part of the UNESCO-UNDP project on sustainable tourism, were encouraged to form co-operatives so as to obtain grants. A tourism interpretation centre was established near the entrance to the World Heritage Site to serve as an environmental education centre.

During 2001 students at the University of the Philippines continued monitoring activities in Ulugan Bay: recording the growth of mangroves and giant clams.

Forty nine students and staff from the University of the Philippines (UNESCO chair) went on a field trip to the Puerto Galera Biosphere Reserve, Oriental Mindoro, in January 2002. It gave the students an opportunity to view the environmental conditions in the reserve, to exchange ideas with local people, analyse environmental problems and discuss how they might be resolved.

In January 2002 the UNESCO chairholder at the University of the Philippines visited Ulugan Bay and Puerto Princesa Bay with five Japanese scientists to study the biodiversity of the seagrass beds. A report on the visit was produced in April 2002. The chairholder spoke to the League of Vice-Governors of the Philippines during a conference in January 2002, held in Puerto Galera, on ‘The Role of Marine Protected Areas in National Security’. The chairholder also helped to organise the ‘Western Pacific Seagrass Monitoring Workshop’ that was held in January 2002 in Puerto Galera.

In March 2002 the Mayor of Puerto Galera, the municipal council, barangay captains and other concerned citizens attended a workshop at the University of the Philippines Bolinao Marine Laboratory. The aim was to familiarise local government representatives with some aspects of coastal resource management and wise practice, and to draft an Action Plan to address coastal management concerns in the Puerto Galera Biosphere Reserve.

A brochure and poster for the Ulugan Bay project were produced in 2002.

One person from the Philippines wrote a paper that was presented at a conference on ‘Coastal Zone: Property Rights, Economics and Environment’ in Aix-en-Provence, France in June 2002.

A manual on waste management ‘Tata Laut, Tertib Darat’ (Care for the Sea, put in Order the Land) was published in Indonesian in 2002. A book on community-based eco-tourism and coastal resource management was also produced in 2002.



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