Summit highlights coastal protection in Guimaras, Xiamen

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NUEVA VALENCIA, Guimaras – The success stories of the province of Guimaras and the City of Xiamen in China’s Fujian province in implementing the integrated coastal management (ICM) took center stage during the 2018 PEMSEA Network of Local Government (PNLG) forum here on Thursday.

The forum gathered 150 participants from 50 member- local governments across East Asia, forming as one of the triannual East Asia Seas (EAS) Congress organized by the Partnerships in Environmental Management for Seas of East Asia (PEMSEA) and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and held at Andana Resort in Nueva Valencia, Guimaras.

“Guimaras has been able to show positive changes in governance mechanism and also in the environmental indicator where we were able to show some improvements in the aerial extent of coral reef that are in protected status,” said PEMSEA representative Nancy Bernas in a press conference.

She added that the integrated coastal management (ICM) programs of Guimaras are aligned with the global goals, as reflected in the province’s state of the coast report presented during the forum.

Guimaras Governor Samuel Gumarin said that the ICM is the “key development strategy” in the island.

“Guimaras is the first province in our country to have passed the ICM ordinance where its provisions and articles are aligned with the ICM bill being reviewed by the 17th Congress,” he said.

Ten of the 12 ICM sites in the province are among the destinations that were visited by 430 delegates during the one-day field visits on Friday.

Meantime, the Xiamen’s Story (ICM) Book that was launched during the forum, speaks of the achievement of the city in the past 20 years.

“Xiamen has one of the most successful cases of ICM. The development, economy and comprehensive strength of Xiamen highly relies and benefits from ICM,” said Mr. Lin Guozhong, Deputy Director General of Xiamen Municipal Bureau of Oceans and Fisheries through an interpreter.  The ICM process in Xiamen started in 1994.

“It underwent legislation process, centralized coordination, scientific support, comprehensive law enforcement, and public participation,” he said.

Meanwhile, PNLG President Noraini Roslan said that the ICM implementation of their local government-members is on different levels and some have not progressed well.

However, she emphasized that there is always help for those that are not doing well. They can go to areas where the ICM implementation is successful, such as Xiamen.

She also lauded members in the Philippines, which she said are “very good in collaborating with local community.”

Bernas encouraged members to monitor implementation of their ICM program so that they will be able to show progress.

“What is lacking at the local government level is the monitoring aspect. We have the plans, the program is in place but sometimes they don’t monitor and we don’t establish targets so we don’t know if indeed we are achieving our targets,” she added. (PNA)

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