Mangroves for the Future Newsletter - Issue 31

1st Jan 2014 - 11th May 2014

We have come a long way together since MFF was first launched as a regional initiative in 2006 primarily as a disaster response and reconstruction effort in the six countries most affected by the tsunami in 2004. MFF has grown and evolved into a regional programme with 10 member countries that is benefiting coastal communities, protecting ecosystems and building resilience in the face of climate change and other major threats.

With the increase in member countries MFF is now coming close to covering the contiguous coastline of south and southeast Asia from Pakistan in the west, to Viet Nam in the east, plus the extensive coastlines of the island states of Indonesia, Maldives, Seychelles and Sri Lanka. Cambodia has been endorsed as a new MFF member country starting in 2014; Indonesia has revitalized its MFF activities with on-the-ground management of the MFF Small Grant Facilities by Wetlands International Indonesia; and we are hoping to welcome Myanmar as a new MFF member country soon.

While a lot has changed since MFF was first conceived, one thing has remained the same: MFF’s success in delivering long-term results for coastal communities resides firmly in its partnership-based approach, linking governments, civil society, the private sector and major aid agencies.

This partnership-based approach is unique among regional projects, and has helped us to achieve a lot together. Through the joint efforts of our country teams, we have implemented a total of 187 projects since the programme was launched. Of these, 171 have been small grants focusing primarily on the management of mangrove ecosystems, with emphasis given to livelihood development, community empowerment and education, and conservation of biodiversity.

Over the years MFF has also supported a number of regional projects which demonstrate best practice and policy solutions to coastal conservation issues across the countries. In the Maldives and Viet Nam, the UNEP-managed MFF regional project “Green Fins” builds the capacity of local scuba diving and snorkel operators to mitigate the impacts they are having on reef ecosystems. In Pakistan, another UNEP-MFF regional project is outlining strategies for addressing coastal erosion issues, and in India and Sri Lanka, an IUCN-led MFF regional project “Living resources of Gulf of Mannar” is putting forward recommendations to policy makers on protecting and managing important seagrass habitats.

All these efforts are contributing to a rich repository of information and learning in the field of integrated coastal management. A number of new publications bring this learning together: Sri Lanka has introduced the new “Reef Fishes” technical guide, and the “Small Grants, Large Gains” publication, which collates lessons learned from Phase 2 SGF projects. India’s “Coral Reef” book for children is part of the country’s strategy for raising awareness of marine resources. Similarly, a case study from the Seychelles, “Mangroves for Mankind”, documents the results of a small grant project that restored an urban coastal wetland.

MFF’s regional learning events highlight some of the lessons learned and promote exchange that influences coastal management policy and practice. In March this year, MFF hosted a “Regional Symposium on Coastal Resilience” that shared experiences among Bangladesh, India, Indonesia and Viet Nam on ways to build coastal community resilience using ecosystem-based approaches. At the beginning of May we will host a technical panel session at the “Forests Asia Summit” in Jakarta, Indonesia which is focused on managing mangrove forests for climate change mitigation and adaptation benefits. Furthermore, a new MFF corporate video has been produced which provides a visual introduction to the history of the initiative and directions for the future. To view the video, please click here.

There is no question that MFF has contributed significantly to sustainable development of ecosystem-dependant coastal communities in the member countries, but with growing threats from climate change and rapid development of our coastlines, we still have a big task ahead of us. As we move forward, we will continue to develop the resilience approach and framework that has been pioneered and communicated in the last few months, while also fine tuning our ability to deliver long-term positive outcomes that will contribute to a better future for Asia’s coastal communities.

Our sincere thanks again for your dedication and your commitment to this common cause. We look forward to continuing to work together, and encourage you to visit our website and our Facebook page to find out more.



Steen Christensen

Mangroves For The Future

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Regional Activities

Building on Success, Learning from our Shared Experience

Bangkok, Thailand 11 May 2014

The last seven years of establishing country structures, defining priorities for coastal management and funding projects have provided some valuable insights that will play an important role in defining how MFF moves forward in the years to come.    

Towards Building Coastal Resilience in South and South-East Asia

Dhaka, Bangladesh 31 Mar 2014

MFF National Coordinating Body (NCB) of Bangladesh and the MFF Regional Secretariat arranged regional symposium with the goal of sharing experiences between Bangladesh and India, Indonesia and Viet Nam, on ways to build coastal community resilience using ecosystem-based approaches. The symposium was followed by a field visit to Satkhira, a coastal district of Bangladesh. Technical contribution and support were provided by Ecosystems for Life, a Bangladesh- India initiative of IUCN.    

MFF-UNEP regional project Green Fins goes digital

Asia Region 03 Feb 2014

MFF regional project in Maldives and Viet Nam get spotlight as Green Fins launches, a new digital platform featuring best practice in diving industry, and the Top 10 best dive operators applying the Green Fins approach.    

Country Updates

Hai Phong moves towards becoming Viet Nam's first "Green Port" city

Hai Phong City, Viet Nam 27 Mar 2014

The Hai Phong Peoples Committee, Viet Nam in collaboration with the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) under Mangroves for the Future (MFF) initiative, co-organized a National Workshop on ”Green Growth – Green Port City”. During the workshop, stakeholders discussed ways to implement green growth, blue economy and shared international best practices as well as lessons learnt at the local level in Hai Phong to provide recommendations for successfully implementing Viet Nam's Green Growth Strategy.    

Wetlands in Seychelles proves successful against flooding

Mahe, Seychelles 06 Feb 2014

The Roche Caiman Sanctuary in Mahe, Seychelles, focus area of recently-completed MFF project "Mangroves for Mankind", reports how a well-functioning wetlands system successfully prevented floods in surrounding areas. Through the MFF project, mangroves and reed beds were successfully restored since July 2013, and positively contributed to the health of the urban wetlands sanctuary.    

Immunizing natural disaster impacts with natural infrastructure

New Delhi, India 06 May 2014

Amongst the most productive ecosystems on the planet, coastal habitats ensure the well-being of a large percentage of the countries’ population, regulating global climate and contributing to the essential adaptive capacity of coastal communities. The tsunami of 2004 was a rude reckoning of how vulnerable communities really are in the face of extreme and unpredictable changes in their environment. The future depends on our capacity to manage human uses and impacts on coasts, in order to avoid compromising our resilience to natural disasters.    

Strengthening the Resilience of Coastal Communities, Ecosystems, and Economies to Sea-Level Riseand Coastal Erosion

Karachi, Pakistan 15 Jan 2014

A national consultative workshop debated and discussed findings of a national assessment report on Coastal Erosion in Pakistan, and brought experts and stakeholders up to date about the urgency of managing of coastal zones of Pakistan in a more scientific manner.    

Recent MFF Videos

Mangroves for the Future - Investing in Coastal Ecosystems

The video shows the MFF programme outline.