Guimaras Province, Philippines — Guimaras has proven that a committed leadership and supportive stakeholders can accelerate the preparation process for integrated coastal management (ICM). Barely four months after the conduct of the initial site evaluation process, which established Guimaras as a PEMSEA ICM parallel, the Province was able to develop its three-year work programme delineating the key activities for 2008-2010. Importantly, the necessary human resource and budgetary allocations for the ICM program were also identified, consistent with the three-year plan.
On 18 August, a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) was signed by the Provincial Government, the Philippine Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and PEMSEA, formalizing the commitment and partnership between the three parties for ICM parallel site development. The MOA signing, which formally launched the ICM program, was followed by a workshop involving government and nongovernment stakeholders from the national and local levels, designed to build consensus on options and actions to be taken to facilitate project start up. Key activities that will be completed within 2008 were identified and agreed upon as well as the roles and responsibilities of the principal stakeholders.The MOA signing and launching of the ICM program was well-attended by representatives from the provincial and municipal governments, PEMSEA, DENR central office, as well as regional and provincial offices, local government agencies, the academe, various nongovernmental organizations and community-based organizations (CBOs) and the media. The Governor of Guimaras, Honorable Felipe Hilan A. Nava, and PEMSEA Resource Facility Executive Director, Prof. Raphael P.M. Lotilla, both stressed the fact that achieving sustainable coastal development would require integration and cooperation among the various stakeholders and partners. DENR, represented by Assistant Secretary Analiza Rebuelta-Teh, noted that the ICM program in Guimaras will contribute to the scaling up efforts of national ICM programs as well as to Executive Order 533 implementation, declaring ICM as the national strategy and policy framework for sustainable development of the coastal and marine resources. A special presentation was given by the Chair of the East Asian Seas Partnership Council, Dr. Chua Thia-Eng, focusing on the key elements for successful ICM implementation.Governor Nava has been actively spearheading the ICM preparation process and has consistently demonstrated strong political will and leadership in ushering the Province towards embracing the integrated management approach to achieve its sustainable coastal development targets. It is envisaged that Guimaras will soon join the ranks of other successful ICM sites in the region to share its lessons and good practices in sustainable development of its marine and coastal resources.