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GCRF Blue Communities: Project 2 Introduction

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Tropical marine and coastal ecosystems – coral reefs, mangroves, seagrasses – are vital for the livelihoods, food security and well-being of millions of people in Southeast Asia. However, many families are locked in poverty as the marine resources that they depend on dwindle due to destructive practices, overharvesting and the deterioration of ecosystems. Clearly the current way we manage tropical marine resources is not working. We therefore need new or improved approaches to – or innovations in – marine management.

In Project 2 of Blue Communities, we are analysing promising marine planning models in three UNESCO Man and Biosphere Reserves in Indonesia, Philippines and Vietnam, and a large marine park in Malaysian Borneo. Using a newly designed Participatory Marine Governance Analysis toolkit, we are seeking to discover the ingredients of – and obstacles to – success so that we can find opportunities to improve management of these reserves and parks. And then share this learning across the reserves and parks, and more widely. By understanding this, we can reveal how the Blue Communities programme can add value to existing efforts and investments in marine management in the region.

Blue Communities researchers in each country invited key practitioners managing the reserves to be part of their project 2 team. The practitioners offer an insider’s perspective on the workings of the reserve and increase the chances that the findings of project 2 will be acted upon.

At an event in Kuala Lumpur, these practitioner and academic teams received training from UK researchers in participatory methods, which help those involved in implementing a new marine management approach to reflect on what has worked, what has not worked, and what could be done better in the future. Each team is now planning their research in their case study marine reserve.

The Western Philippines University (WPU) project 2 team began field activities in October 2018, studying the Environmental Critical Areas Network (ECAN) in the province of Palawan, an island in the west of the Philippines. Through the ECAN, the seas of Palawan are being designated as biologically important core zones, where human activity is prohibited, and multi-use zones, where limited small-scale fishing, mariculture, recreation and education and research activities are permitted. The team sought to learn from its implementation so far to support future zoning efforts.

A workshop was held with provincial level actors and a workshop in the municipality of Aborlan, which has been a frontrunner in implementing ECAN at the local level. Firstly, participants at each workshop conducted an innovation history analysis, whereby timelines of the establishment and implementation of ECAN were co-created by stakeholders, who then discussed what lessons could be learnt so far. Secondly, they mapped on flip chart paper the key people and organisations involved in or affected by ECAN, the important and challenging relationships between them, and created towers to represent how influential they perceived each actor to be on the successful implementation of ECAN. The team is currently analysing the results, but some previously unrecognised challenges were identified that are likely to have major implications for how ECAN is rolled out across marine areas of Palawan.

Fieldwork begins in Indonesia, Malaysia and Vietnam over the next three months, with Project 2 research promising to make significant contributions to helping stakeholders in each case to understand issues with, and opportunities to improve, their current governance approaches. We hope for the teams to share what they have learnt from their cases with each other at the Blue Communities annual meeting in 2019.

By Dr Matt Fortnam, University of Exeter

Source: www.blue-communities.org


International Conference on Biosphere for Sustainable Development

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30th session of the Man and the Biosphere Programme International Co-ordinating Council (MAB-ICC)

23 July 2018  to 28 July 2018 
Indonesia, Palembang, South Sumatra Province

The 30th session of the Man and the Biosphere Programme International Co-ordinating Council (MAB-ICC), the MAB Council or ICC, will be held in Palembang, South Sumatra Province, Indonesia from 23 to 28 July 2018. On this occasion, the MAB-ICC will decide upon the inclusion of new biosphere reserves into the World Biosphere Reserve Network and take note of recommendations on periodic review reports of biosphere reserves.

The Council is composed of 34 UNESCO Member States, elected by UNESCO’s General Conference, respecting: equitable geographical distribution; appropriate rotation; the representativeness of these States from the ecological viewpoint on each continent; and of the importance of their scientific contribution to the international MAB.

Ms.Muhusina Abdul Rahman, Assistant Director of Ministry of Environment and Energy and Mr.Abdulla Shibau, Managing Director of Baa Atoll Conservation Fund are attending the 30th Session of MAB Council meeting on behalf of Government of Maldives and Baa Atoll Biosphere Reserve respectively.

List participant from CSERM UNAS:

  • Dr. Sugardjito (Director)
  • Dr. Garniati Leuserina (Associate Expert)
  • Iswadi Agung, MSc (Research Fellow)
  • Dr. Radisti Praptiwi (Research Fellow)
  • Ronna Saab, M.Si (Research Assistant)

link : http://www.unesco.org/new/en/natural-sciences/environment/ecological-sciences/man-and-biosphere-programme/about-mab/icc/icc/30th-session/


Dr. Jito Sugarjito

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Dr Sugardjito is an ecologist, researcher at Centre for Sustainable Energy and Resources Management (CSERM), and a director for the Office for International Cooperation Universitas Nasional, Jakarta. With more than 40 years of experience, Dr Sugardjito is active in conservation practices, particularly in the field of protected area development, species conservation, community empowerment, and renewable energy. His long-term research mainly focuses on large mammals and primates ecology, and is considered as leading scientist in the field of primate conservation and behaviour in Indonesia. His extensive research expertise includes developing integrated conservation initiatives involving a wide-range of stakeholders including government, private sectors, community and academics. He has worked for several conservation NGOs and as a Senior Research Scientist at the Indonesian Institute for Sciences (LIPI). He also supervises students and nurturing young conservationists. He has served as a member of the editorial board for the International Journal of Primatology and has published over 50 articles in peer-reviewed journals.

Jl. Sawo Manila No. 61, Pejaten, Pasar Minggu, Jakarta 12520 Indonesia

+62 (0) 21 788 48 152
+62 (0) 811 1102 53


Kick-Off Meeting GCRF Blue Communities Programme

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During January 2018 world-class experts from the South West UK attended the Kick-Off meeting for the Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF) Blue Communities Programme, held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Hosted by the University of Malaya and organised by Plymouth Marine Laboratory, University of Exeter and Plymouth University, this meeting was the first opportunity for all international programme partners to meet face-to-face and discuss the details of the ambitious work plan over the next four years.

The GCRF Blue Communities programme is funded through the 5-year £1.5Bn Research Council UK (RCUK) GCRF ‘Building Capacity’ funding call, to encourage collaboration and exchange with international partners in tackling global challenges in the national interest. Blue Communities aims to mutually exchange knowledge, experience and best practice between the UK and SE Asia on marine planning and sustainable resource use to help improve the health, well-being and livelihoods of coastal communities in SE Asia case study sites.

Each of the countries in the SE Asia region relies on marine and coastal ecosystems for food, employment and their general well-being. However, the marine environment is under immense pressure from the multiple, and often conflicting, needs of the people that use it. Marine spatial planning involving coordinated decision-making has been highlighted as a key requirement for a sustainable future in the region.

The meeting was well attended with over 50 delegates from the partner countries; UK, Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines and Vietnam. Enthusiasm for such a collaborative programme shone through as participants networked, explored case study site issues and opportunities together, identified training needs, and co-created meaningful and realistic work plans to achieve the programme’s goals.

The importance of such a meeting was evident as participants from different counties and cultures were able to tease out and discuss the plethora of issues facing various regions and communities, allowing a deeper understanding of the societal context in which Blue Communities research will be undertaken. This is vital if the aim of a lasting impact is to be achieved.

The Blue Communities programme will focus on four case study sites, three of which are UNESCO Man & Biosphere Reserves and one a Marine Protected Area. Using such structures that are already in place helps researchers engage existing networks and groups in the region, which will help facilitate the multiple conversations that will be needed for the project partners to collect information and communicate findings to those who would benefit directly.

Professor Mel Austen, GCRF Blue Communities Programme Leader and a Head of Science at Plymouth Marine Laboratory, commented: “It was inspiring to see so many people from different countries, cultures and scientific disciplines come together collaboratively to work on this common goal; improving lives through scientific and societal understanding. By combining marine science, social issues and health aspects, this new approach to collaborative working will help Blue Communities create a lasting legacy for the benefit of coastal communities in the target regions, as well as the scientific partners in South East Asia and the UK. There was such a buzz of enthusiasm among all the people at this first Blue Communities meeting that I felt that we had to be on the right path towards these goals!”

Professor Lora Fleming, GCRF Blue Communities Project Leader and Director of the European Centre for Environment and Human Health at the University of Exeter Medical School, said: “I’m delighted to be mutually sharing knowledge with our partners in South West and South East Asia on these important issues. This is a region where people’s health and well-being are fundamentally interconnected with the marine environment. Each country has its own specific needs and expertise, and it’s so important to bring everyone together to collaborate to address these.”

Dr Sabine Pahl, GCRF Blue Communities Project Leader and Associate Professor in the School of Psychology at the University of Plymouth, said: “Environmental Science has provided us with the evidence as to the scale of the issues we are facing, and behavioural science can help us to understand the human dimension in providing the solutions. In bringing together these complementary disciplines, we have a great chance of addressing some of these challenges relating to the natural environment and the well-being of people depending upon it in so many ways.”

Source: www.blue-communities.org