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SOC Evaluates ICM Implementation on the Ground

Batangas Province, Philippines — Fourteen years have passed since integrated coastal management (ICM) was initiated in the Batangas Bay region. The experience has since been been replicated in two other bays in the province, namely the Balayan and Adjacent Bays, and the Tayabas and Adjacent Bays region. But apart from the geographical expansion of ICM efforts, has there really been progress achieved on the ground. Has ICM created impacts on the sustainable marine and coastal environment and more importantly to the well-being of Batangueños?

To date, there are no indicators and reporting systems in place to assess the progress and impact of ICM implementation by local governments. The State of the Coasts (SOC) reporting system, which incorporates process, state and impact indicators, is being developed by PEMSEA primarily to document and evaluate what has been achieved by ICM implementation. Piloted in Batangas province, a seven-day field survey covering nine coastal municipalities (Balayan, Calaca, Calatagan, Lemery, Lobo, Mabini, Nasugbu, San Juan and Tingloy) and one coastal city (Batangas City) was conducted to document local issues and management responses, as well as to validate results.The survey focused on 36 core indicators, covering governance (policy, legislation, institutional arrangements, public awareness, capacity development and financing mechanism) and well as sustainable development issues common to coastal areas (natural and man-made hazard management; habitat restoration and management; water supply use and management; sustainable livelihood and coastal fisheries management; and pollution reduction and waste management).Interviews were conducted with municipal leaders, heads of city/municipal planning departments, agriculture, environment, engineering, health and disaster management offices, as well as community leaders. Documents concerning coastal development and management were also reviewed. Coastal issues were also validated from the on-site survey and documented through photos.The SOC field survey was conducted by the PEMSEA Resource Facility in collaboration with the Provincial Government-Environment and Natural Resource Office (PG-ENRO) of Batangas.The results of the survey are still being analyzed. It is expected that the SOC report for Batangas Province will be available for dissemination in July 2008. The SOC report will hopefully serve as an operational tool for local Chief Executives to monitor and manage coastal programs more effectively. It is further envisaged that this first SOC report will provide an incentive and example for other ICM sites in the region to develop and implement an SOC reporting system in their respective locations.