A young mangrove in coastal Thailand © IUCN/Ana Grillo
All 17 Sustainable Development Goals are connected to MFF’s Strategic focus areas: coastal rehabilitation; livelihood support; and resilience-building and empowerment, with climate change and gender as key cross-cutting issues. SDGs Number 1 on poverty, Number 5 on gender, Number 14 on ocean resources and increasingly Number 17 on global partnerships are particularly central to MFF’s current work and long-term plans.
In terms of SDG Goal 1 ‘End poverty in all its forms everywhere’, MFF focuses on promoting livelihood activities that are environmentally sound, economically realistic and sustainable. The programme develops models to guide livelihood restoration in post-disaster situations, encourage replicable community led ecotourism activities, restore fisheries in tsunami affected areas and help market non-fish mangrove products.
In Sri Lanka, projects focusing on livelihood diversification reported significant increases in monthly income for beneficiaries. In Indonesia, women groups in Tomini Bay have been introduced to, and adopted livelihood improvement activities in combination with mangrove rehabilitation. A number of women groups in Java also had interactive discussions on mangrove ecosystem management and its benefits for households.
SDG Goal 5 ‘Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls’ is well-aligned with IUCN’s gender policy which calls for the promotion of equity and equality as a crucial factor for environmental sustainability and an integral part of all conservation efforts. 55 (31%) of the 177 Small Grants Facility (SGF) projects implemented from 2010-2015 had a gender component and were designed and implemented to meet the gender needs and interests of both women and men. More than 80% of these gender-responsive projects resulted in a visible increase in women’s income, including providing education and skills development to women and their families. This trend is continuing in 2016 with MFF’s Cycle 5 projects.
“With increasing capacity for monitoring gender impacts and women’s empowerment, MFF projects are increasingly able to demonstrate their responsiveness to context-specific gender needs and interests, and to make contributions towards closing the gender gap by improving women’s access to and control over resources,” says Ms. Maeve Nightingale, gender focal point for IUCN Asia and MFF.
MFF is also a driving force behind SDG Goal 14 ‘Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development’, by influencing policy and encouraging local communities to adopt best practices in effective and responsible coastal management. In Maldives, Seychelles, Sri Lanka, and Thailand for example, an MFF project enabled and supported natural resource governance that integrates and builds on the respective strengths of local and community-based management as well as national policy and legal frameworks at different levels.
Increasingly, as a key component of its sustainability strategy, MFF touches on SDG 17 ‘Revitalize the global partnership for sustainable development’. “MFF’s governance structure brings government, civil society and private sector together to take action at the national level, and cooperate at the regional level to contribute to the conservation of coastal areas,” said Dr. Steen Christensen, MFF Coordinator. “The programme’s unique partnership of diverse stakeholders across countries facilitates knowledge sharing and provides opportunities for transboundary cooperation.”
Moving forward, MFF aims to ramp up its private sector engagement efforts which currently include partnerships with Marriott and Thai Union Group. MFF is working towards helping companies to assess and mitigate their impacts, connect with their supply chain and ensure sustainable sourcing for their businesses, connect with local communities and optimize return on Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) investment, explore new green products and services which can benefit coastal communities and adopt sustainable practices.
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For more information or to set up interviews, please contact:
Ann Moey, Regional Communications Manager, IUCN Asia Regional Office; m: +66 92 259 8035; tel: +66 2 662 4029 (ext 157), email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Shreeya Joshi, Regional Communications Assistant, IUCN Asia Regional Office; m: +66 62 841 1577; email: email@example.com
A young mangrove in coastal Thailand , Thailand © © IUCN/Ana Grillo