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Strengthening Networking among Local Governments and Scaling up ICM

Danang City, Viet Nam — The 2007 Forum of the PEMSEA Network of Local Governments for Sustainable Coastal Development (PNLG) was successfully organized and conducted as a result of the joint efforts of the People's Committee of Danang, the PNLG Secretariat, and the PEMSEA Resource Facility, with financial support from the Swedish Environmental Secretariat for Asia. The forum was held in Danang City on 5-7 September, under the theme, "Addressing Coastal Security by Investing in Natural and Man-made Hazards Prevention and Management."

Twenty-three local governments from eight countries across the East Asian Region participated in the forum, in addition to regional/international experts/resource speakers on disaster reduction, donor representatives, private sector representatives and local government executives from several coastal provinces in Viet Nam, as well as experts on integrated coastal management (ICM) in Viet Nam.One of the highlights of the forum was the signing of the PNLG Charter by Klang (Malaysia) and four local governments from PR China (i.e., Dongying, Haikou, Quanzhou and Fangchengang), bringing the membership of the network from 18 to 23 local governments implementing ICM. The expressions of interest of the Province of Guimaras (Philippines) and Hue City (Viet Nam) to become part of the network in the future signaled the increasing recognition of ICM as a framework to achieve sustainable development goals. Through the lessons learned and good practices shared by existing members, more local governments are seeing the value of joining the network. A commitment to implement an ICM program as a prerequisite to joining the network not only ensures expanding the network and further strengthening it, but also promotes scaling up of ICM.The forum generated a wealth of information with regard to mainstreaming risk reduction and hazard management into ICM practices. In general, a majority of the local governments have some form of disaster response mechanisms in place. The experiences shared by the ICM sites also showed how various programs on disaster risk reduction and hazard management are integrated into the ICM framework and process. As in the previous forum, the 2007 forum demonstrated the value of knowledge sharing and networking, setting an example for future gatherings to further build upon.One striking feature of the PNLG is the commitment of the host local government, as well as the PNLG members in organizing and attending the forum using their own financial resources. Members of the PNLG take turns in hosting the forum. The Municipality of Sihanoukville (Cambodia) will have the opportunity to carry out this practice as well as in showcasing its achievements in ICM implementation with the confirmation of its commitment to host the 2008 PNLG Forum, on behalf of the Ministry of Environment. The 2008 PNLG Forum is tentatively scheduled in November 2008.