Ecosystem-based integrated coastal resource management through multi-stakeholder participation in Southern Thailand

 
12 TH TrangMFF Siriporn

Promoting Ecosystem-based coastal resource management. The m ... , Trang, Thailand © MFF/Siriporn Sriaram, 2010

Objectives

Build capacity, using a local multi-stakeholder participation process, for community-based and ecosystem-based coastal resource planning and management, in order to develop local coastal ecosystem management plans (CBCEM) and to ensure its integration and support at tambon and provincial levels.

In particular, the project aimed to:

  1. Formulate CBCEM plans through a multi-stakeholder participatory process involving capacity building, awareness raising, knowledge management and networking
  2. Facilitate the recognition and endorsement of CBCEM plans, rules and regulations at Tambon and Provincial Government levels, and have elements of the plan integrated into local government plans together with budgets
  3. Achieve ecosystem rehabilitation, conservation and protection through multi-stakeholder collaboration and implementation of the CBCEM plan
  4. Influence national policy with regard to community based coastal ecosystem management, by disseminating project outcomes and lessons learned 

Background

The goal of the project was to address the multiple issues of coastal resource depletion and natural disaster impacts on local communities, by introducing ecosystem-based integrated coastal resource management through multi-stakeholder participation, knowledge management, and capacity building for actors and stakeholders, so as to link policy makers and coastal communities in their efforts to improve ecosystem management and disaster preparedness. The project targeted coastal ecosystems in two provinces in Southern Thailand, namely Trang Province and Nakorn Sri Thammarat Province. Critical problems in both sites included ineffective management of coastal resources, such as an inability to control the use of illegal and inappropriate fishing gears, conflicts between coastal communities and local government agencies, and even conflicts between coastal communities themselves. These various issues were leading to the degradation of important coastal resources including beach forests, mangrove forests and seagrass beds.

Target beneficiaries

15 villages in Tambon Tha Sala of Nakhon Sithammarat province; Tha Sala was chosen because of the strength of the local community organization, esp "Srabua-Naithung Fisher Folk Conservation Group". The organization is a great ally and local champion of neighboring villages.

8 villages in Koh Libong, Kantang District, Trang province; historically, Koh Libong fishers actively work with the provincial fisher folk forum (network) in conservation of plants and marine life. Koh Libong is also a project area of The Andaman Foundation (SAN) for its disaster prevention and preparedness activities.

Outputs

  1. A collaborative process of formulating CBCEM plans was established using a multi-stakeholder participatory approach that involved capacity building, awareness raising, knowledge managing and networking.
  2. The multi-stakeholder participatory approach used to draft CBCEM plans, rules, and regulations were taken up and recognized at Tambon (local administration) and Provincial Government levels.  Elements of the draft CBCEM plans were integrated into local government policy planning. Funds were allocated by local administration offices to continue CBCEM planning and consultation at the community level.
  3. Ecosystem rehabilitation, conservation and protection efforts were implemented through multi-stakeholder collaboration. The project facilitated a change in working methods, specifically in shifting the focus of conservation and protection efforts from isolated, agency-led activities to integrated, multi stakeholder-led interventions.
  4. National policy regarding community-based ecosystem management was influenced through project interventions. The project engaged key policy makers at the local, provincial, and national levels, through government agencies related to marine and coastal resource and fishery management, and has coordinated forums that allowed small-scale fisher-folk to communicate and exchange directly with such national level policy makers.

Accomplishments and challenges

Achievement:

Established collaborative resource management mechanisms across community, provincial, and national levels, using a multi-stakeholder participatory process. Coordination among multi-stakeholders was strengthened, and in the process, reduced tension between local communities and national agencies. In Trang, a coastal resource management committee, chaired by the Governor of the Province himself, was formed to facilitate development of a CBCEM plan. In 2010, a Memorandum of Understanding concretized a cooperative agreement for sea grass protection, dugong conservation, and sustainable environmental management in the Kantang district. In Nakhon Sri Thammarat, the project facilitated the uptake of The ecosystem-based coastal resource management concepts integrated into the local development plan of Tasala Tambon Administrative Organization. The communities' needs were also integrated into the local administration's policy planning process by inviting the Tasala Tambon Administrative Organization in community consultation meetings.

Challenges:

  1. Existing conflict within local communities. Throughout the project life, SDF received cooperation from all of the various local actors and stakeholders in both of the projects target sites, especially from the community members in the target villages. Nonetheless, in some areas there existed a degree of conflict within the local communities. For example, in the case of mangrove management in Tha Salah Sub-district in Nakorn Sri Thammarat Province, it was found that there was conflict within some communities regarding local mangrove forest areas. SDF did not become embroiled in such conflicts, but instead chose to focus on activities and initiatives where there was already a common consensus and a willingness to work together, such as in Baan Nah Tab Village, which showed readiness both in terms of the area and the people.
  2. Extreme weather disturbances (storms and floods). Towards the end of October 2010 and the end of March 2011, the project’s target sites experienced extreme flooding and storms. As a result, project implementation at the field level had to be halted temporarily. The local coastal communities in the project’s target sites had to closely monitor the weather situation, because their fishing boats and fishing gears, essential to their livelihoods, could easily be lost or damaged. However, SDF also exploited this as an opportunity to begin consulting with local coastal communities, other local actors and stakeholders about developing strategies and approaches for disaster response and community-based disaster warning systems. 

Contributions to cross-cutting themes

Climate Change (in the context of disaster preparedness and response strategies): Project activities led to an increase of awareness about the reality of adaptation to extreme weather events. After the extreme flooding of 2010, the project facilitated the development of a community-based disaster response strategy using citizen band radio as a communication tool. The project collaborated with Walailak University for the overall disaster response project in Nakhon Sri Thammarat.

Gender Equality: The project worked to raise awareness about the importance of gender-balanced participation, and emphasized processes and mechanisms which opened the way for women to participate equally with men, as well as arranging specific women-only activities. Women were empowered to observe proceedings and exchange opinions, and participated in diverse activities including problem solving, solution identification, conservation, rehabilitation, and the development and agreement of rules and regulations for coastal resource management. The project also strove to promote openness, accessibility and diversity in its working processes, whether in terms of gender, age, academic background or social standing. The project paved the way for a complete departure from traditional models of participation, where lead roles or official roles were reserved only for men.

Communications: The project used various media and communications channels that contributed to spreading key messages of the project at a wider scale. Online media (facebook and SDF website) were also used to disseminate project activities.

Lessons Learned

  1. Ecosystem-based coastal resource management can be concretely and practically implemented across a wide range of administrative levels, but to do so requires the facilitation of a coordinating organization that will play a central role in persuading other diverse stakeholders to participate and collaborate. This project demonstrated that community-centered ecosystem-based resource management is not only possible but also practical, provided that national agencies (such as the Department of Marine and Coastal Resources) are willing to play a key role in promoting, coordinating and supporting multistakeholder participation, cooperation and collaboration.
  2. Emphasizing community participation, local level integration between organizations and agencies, and multi-stakeholder collaboration reduces disagreements and conflicts between local level stakeholders and increased their respect for one another.
  3. Good quality socio-economic data is essential in understanding and analyzing the needs and concerns of local communities, and gathering such information is key in identifying appropriate development activities.

Featured Film - The Gleaners of Ban Modtanoi

The Gleaners of Ban Modtanoi, Trang Province, Thailand © MFF

The fishing village of Modtanoi is located in southern Thailand in the province of Trang, along the coast of the Andaman Sea. But in Modtanoi, the traditional way of life, with its traditional male and female job descriptions, is changing. As the coast becomes more stressed with increased development and environmental change, women and men are being forced to share roles simply as a matter of survival.

Project Facts

Country

Location

Tambon Tha Sala, Amphoe Tha Sala, Nakhonsithammarat; and Tambon Kho-Libong, Amphoe Kantang, Trang

Topic

Duration

1st Sep 2009 to 31st Aug 2011

MFF Grant Amount

USD300,000

Co-financing Partner

Collaborating partners:

  • Department of Marine and Coastal Resources (DMCR)
  • Global Change System for Analysis, Research and Training (START)
  • The Save Andaman Network (SAN)
  • Dabbaan Dabmuang Organization (DDO, English - 'tidy up the society')
  • Thai Sea Watch Association (TSWA)

Co-financing partners:

  • UNDP provided additional financial support in the area of capacity building for women on livelihoods, occupations and natural resource management.
  • KEPA provided additional financial support in the area of media for dissemination.
  • Sustainable Agriculture Foundation (Thailand) provided additional financial support in the area of food security research. 
  • Local government agencies in the project's target sites, e.g. Trang Provincial Authority, provided some additional financial support in the area of conservation and rehabilitation activities.
  • People's sector organizations, e.g. Tha Salah Bay Small-scale Fisher-folk Network, provided some additional financial support in the area of conservation and rehabilitation activities.

Implementing Partner

Sustainable Development Foundation (SDF)
86 Ladpraw 110 (Yaek 2)
Ladpraw Road, Wangtongland, Bangkok 10310
Tel: +66 2935 3560 -62
Fax: +66 2935 2721
Email:  sdfthai@gmail.com

Contact person:

Ms. Ravadee Prasertcharoensuk
Director, Sustainable Development Foundation

This project brought people together, bringing together ideas and concepts from the government and the people. The message is 'Bring together and do together'. By bringing government and people together, all common interests of government, community, and ecosystem are met.

-- Mr Somchai Kao Eian, Chief, DMCR Mangrove Management Unit 44

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