Protecting coastal areas vulnerable to typhoons against the impacts of climate change

Programme description

Title: Sustainable coastal protection through biodiversity conservation in coastal ecosystems affected by typhoons in the Philippines (ProCoast)
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU)
Country: Philippines
Lead executing agency: Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), Biodiversity Management Bureau (BMB)
Overall term: 2018 to 2021

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Context

The Philippines is considered to be among the countries most vulnerable to the effects of climate change, such as extreme weather events and a rising sea-level. With 70 per cent of Philippine communities located in coastal areas, coastal ecosystems are under considerable pressure. Intact coastal ecosystems function as a continuum of natural buffer systems, providing protection against typhoons, storm surges and other coastal hazards. However, unsustainable land and resource use practices have been identified as a major cause of the degradation of mangroves, coral reefs, seagrass beds and coastal forests in the Philippines.

The total mangrove cover in the Philippines decreased by almost 52 per cent between 1918 and 2010 as a result of timber production and aquaculture development, especially fish pond conversion. Coastal ecosystems that have been significantly degraded by anthropogenic influences provide little protection for coastal communities. The national and local government units have increasingly recognised the value of intact mangrove forests and coral reefs for coastal protection. At the same time, awareness that ecosystems are connected is spreading, and that coastal protection can only be guaranteed when communities respect ecosystem boundaries.  

Objective

Coastal areas and its inhabitants are better protected from the effects of climate change.

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Approach

The protection of coastal areas and the people in the surrounding area from the effects of climate change will be achieved through the participatory implementation of innovative protective measures and the adaptation of these measures to local conditions by the local government units in sustainable management of their mangroves, coral reefs and land use.  A 10-year national programme which aims to comprehensively manage, address and effectively reduce the drivers and threats of the degradation of the coastal and marine ecosystems will be carried out by  the Coastal and Marine Ecosystems Management Program (CMEMP).

To implement its measures, the Project will work closely with Zoological Society of London (ZSL); an organisation working for biodiversity conservation worldwide, selected local government units and relevant public and private stakeholders as well as academe, civil society and other development agencies.  

Centres of learning will be established to serve as venue to scale up positive innovative and protective practices through exchange visits. Awareness on the significance of coastal ecosystems in mitigating climate change and coastal protection will be increased through networking, knowledge exchange and public relations work at local, national and international fora. General political and legal conditions for sustainable conservation measures will be improved by capacitating stakeholders at local and national levels and enhancing their understanding of the co-relation between biodiversity conservation and resilience to climate change.

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