Environment and development
in coastal regions and in small islands
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Strategic planning workshop for Ulugan Bay area stakeholders, Philippines

A 'Strategic Planning Workshop for the Stakeholders of the Ulugan Bay Area' took place in Palawan, Philippines, 27 - 29 November 1996. Held at the Palawan State University and sponsored by the Palawan Council for Sustainable Development Staff and UNESCO (Jakarta Office), it was attended by 36 stakeholders from the Ulugan Bay Area, Palawan. A pledge of commitment was signed. The executive summary from the workshop report is given below.

The province of Palawan is governed by a special law insofar as utilization, conservation and development of its natural resources are concerned. This law is called the Strategic Environmental Plan for Palawan Act. The law prescribes the Environmentally Critical Areas Network as its main strategy, which is a graded system of protection and development control over the whole of Palawan, including its tribal lands, forests, mines, agricultural and settlement areas, small islands, mangroves, coral reefs, sea grass beds and the surrounding sea.

Having as a goal the integrated planning of coastal and marine resources development in the province of Palawan, the Palawan Council for Sustainable Development Staff, in co-ordination with the City Government of Puerto Princesa, conducted a three-day strategic planning workshop for the stakeholders in the Ulugan Bay Area, which is located in the Palawan Biosphere Reserve, Republic of the Philippines. Funding assistance was extended in recognition of Palawan as UNESCO Biosphere Reserve and of the significance of Ulugan Bay with regard to the sustainable development of the province of Palawan.

Ulugan Bay is considered to be one of the more significant coastal and marine ecosystems of the province. Aside from its rich natural endowments and its national significance because of its strategic location, the Ulugan Bay area acts as buffer zone to St. Paul's Subterranean Park, in itself a candidate for inscription in the World Heritage List.

The workshop was organized as a forum for airing problems and issues affecting the Area's management, identifying programmable areas of concerns, and harmonizing the stakeholders' efforts towards a common vision as well as goals, objectives and strategies for effective and sustainable resource management in the area. Thirty-six participants/stakeholders attended the 3-day activity, representing various agencies under the City Government of Puerto Princesa, the Provincial Government of Palawan, national agencies like the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, Department of Agriculture, Department of Education, Culture and Sports, Philippine Navy, Western Command, non-government organizations, cultural communities, fishermen's associations, local political units, and concerned individuals.

The planning workshop was facilitated by the Palawan Council for Sustainable Development Staff and involved the active participation of the stakeholders in the following series of sessions:

  1. Surfacing and levelling of expectations

    The participants, divided into five groups, presented their expectations as to the planning objectives of the workshop, as well as their expectations of their co-participants and the resource speakers and secretariat. The objectives of the workshop were to:

    1. identify current political, social and economic problems and issues affecting the management of the Ulugan Bay Area;
    2. identify stakeholders' strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats;
    3. formulate the Ulugan Bay Area's vision, goals and strategies;
    4. identify and organize the Interior Management Board for the Ulugan Bay Area; and
    5. formalize and reaffirm commitment to Ulugan Bay's plans and programmes.
  2. Current reality dialogue

    The major trends affecting the Ulugan Bay Area, recent accomplishments by the stakeholders and concerned agencies, challenges and obstacles to management, as well as strengths and comparative advantages were dealt with by each group of participants. The discussion served to present the current situation in the Ulugan Bay Area and served as input in the subsequent workshop sessions.

  3. Resource analysis

    The participants identified the key resources in the Ulugan Bay Area, explained how these resources are being utilized and indicated the various sectors that have access to the benefits generated by such resources. These discussions also helped depict the situation of the area.

  4. Organizational analysis (SWOT Analysis)

    The participants were grouped into agencies, namely: government agencies, local government units, non-governmental organizations and other groups. They identified and discussed their respective organizations' strengths and weaknesses as well as threats and opportunities. This analysis helped each agency or group of individuals to assess their capacity and capability to carry-out their tasks in the management of Ulugan Bay's resources.

  5. Presentation of the results of the study conducted by the International Centre for Living Aquatic Resources Management and the University of the Philippines - Marine Science Institute.

    The representatives of two research institutions presented the results of their institutions' studies on Ulugan Bay. The data highlighted the ecological importance of the area vis--vis local and national development. Results of the study were validated and discussed by the various stakeholders of Ulugan Bay. This exercise also helped in the drafting of the bay's strategic plan.

  6. Practical visioning session

    To formulate a single vision for the protection, utilization and development of Ulugan Bay's coastal resources, the participants in this exercise came up with this vision "motto": 'Towards a Socio-Economically and Culturally Developed Ulugan Bay through Sustainable Resource Management and People Empowerment." Likewise, the various groups developed the following general ideas or components in pursuance of this common vision, namely: people empowerment, socio-economic and cultural development, eco-tourism development, sustainable resource management, formulation and proper implementation of a land and water-use plan and environmental research and development. These workshop results formed the bases for the formulation of a strategic Ulugan Bay Management design.

  7. Strategic directions workshop session

    Based on the common vision formulated, the participants, working again in groups, came up with a set of goals, objectives, strategies, programmes and projects to attain the collective vision. The goals focused on the previously-identified vision components. Objectives were also defined on the basis of the goals and objectives which were spelled out by the participants with the corresponding projects and programmes.

  8. Organization of the Interim Ulugan Bay Management Body and Plan of Action

    From the outputs of the previous workshop sessions, there was the consensus by the participants that an entity or a body that will oversee the management of Ulugan Bay has to be put in place. Likewise it was perceived that this same body should act as a technical working group that will harmonize, co-ordinate and monitor activities in the subject area. As the result, the interim Ulugan Bay Management Body and Technical Working Group were set up to undertake the above-cited functions. The Palawan Council for Sustainable Development Staff chairs the body with members coming from various agencies/organizations represented during the planning workshop.

    An action plan regarding the priority activities to be undertaken by the Technical Working Group was also developed.

  9. Pledge of Commitment

    To ensure commitment and support to the protection, conservation and utilization of Ulugan Bay's resources, a pledge of commitment was signed by the stakeholders.

    Source of the above information: Proceedings. Strategic planning workshop for the stakeholders of the Ulugan Bay area. UNESCO-Jakarta Office, 1996, 43 pp. + annexes

    For more information, contact:
    UNESCO-Jakarta Office
    Tel : 006221334746, 0062213141308, Fax : 0062213150382
    Mr.Stephen Hill (Director of Office)
    UN Bldg.2nd Fl.J.Thamrin 14 Tromolpos
    1273 JAKARTA INDONESIA
    Cable:UNESCO JAKARTA
    Mail to:UHJAK,email
    Jakarta Office represents UNESCO in: Indonesia, Philippines

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