Sustainable Development Success Stories

Regional Programme on Prevention and Management of Marine Pollution in the East Asian Seas

Location  Philippines, Brunei, Cambodia, China, Indonesia, Malaysia, North Korea, Singapore, South Korea, Thailand, Vietnam / Asia and Pacific.
Responsible Organisation Global Environmental Facility, United Nations Development Programme, International Meteorological Organisation.

The Programme supports 11 participating East Asian governments in prevention, control and management of marine pollution, both at national and subregional levels, on a long-term and self-reliant basis by strengthening regional capability to manage marine pollution. In January 1994, the Marine Pollution Programme of the East Asian Seas (MPP-EAS) supported activities aimed at testing working models for integrated coastal management (ICM) applications in two sites, Xiamen, China and Batangas, Philippines.

The ICM frameworks in Xiamen and Batangas have common elements although they have different thrusts due to socioeconomic, political and cultural circumstances. The focus in Xiamen has been on interagency coordination and participation, while the Batangas site is heavily driven by public private sector partnerships.

Xiamen: An Integrated Task Team (ITT) was formed by using government agency managers and scientist from various Xiamen institutions and universities. Major tasks included preparing an environmental profile that documented the management issues of the Xiamen coastal resources, their causes, priorities and consequences. This provided the scientific basis for developing a strategic environmental management plan (SEMP) and implementing demonstration activities. To implement the Xiamen SEMP, the Municipal Government established the Marine Management and Coordination Committee and its implementing office in November 1996, building on the project management structures established during 1994-5. Many members of the original ITT were absorbed into a new Scientific Advisory Group that reported to the new committee. The result is an institutional mechanism that can address the multiple-use conflicts and cross-agency management issues.

Batangas Bay In the Batangas Bay Region (BBR), an Environmental Protection Council (EPC) was created with the assistance of the MPP-EAS and support from an industry based NGO (Batangs Coastal Resource Management Foundation). The BBR-EPC provides the venue where stakeholders can meet regularly to deliberate and reach consensus regarding various issues related to activities affecting Batangas Bay. Chaired by the Provincial Governor, it includes the mayors of the coastal municipalities, representatives from government agencies, the private sector, NGOs and communities. Its aims include: coordinating stakeholders, initiating legislation, adopting environmental management plans, raising public awareness, evaluating proposals and monitoring compliance with national and local pollution control requirements.

Key elements of both frameworks include

  • institutional arrangements and mechanisms;

  • legislation and enforcement;

  • environmental monitoring and assessment;

  • scientific and technological backstopping; and

  • Sustainable financing mechanisms.

Issues Addressed Interagency Coordinating Mechanisms for Coastal Management
Results Achieved

The mid-term evaluation (spring 1997) noted that the programme has largely met its objectives. These include:

  • Integrated management framework for land-based and sea-based sources of marine pollution;

  • Working models on marine pollution prevention.

  • Officials from local and national governments, industry, universities and research institutions from the 11 countries benefited by participating in specialized training courses offered by the GEF/UNDP/IMO Regional Programme for the Prevention and Management of Marine Pollution in the East Asian Seas (MPP-EAS).

  • The Programme placed strong emphasis on capacity building, supporting over the last five years some 1,120 participants to participate in training courses, workshops, internships and study tours focused on: the application of integrated coastal management (ICM); oil pollution preparedness, response and cooperation (OPRC); integrated environment impact assessment (IEIA); marine pollution monitoring techniques; pollution risk assessment/damage assessment (RA/DA); application of geographic information systems (GIS); and legal aspects of marine pollution.

  • The focus on tapping indigenous capacity as a fundamental means to ensure sustainability. International consultants were able to build a critical mass of expertise among local staff by using them to implement tasks as the core staff in the project.

Lessons Learned
  • Recognition that coastal environment and resource management projects, whether technological, engineering, financial or scientific, can be effective and sustained only when conducted hand in hand with improvements in decision-making mechanisms based on stakeholder consultation and participation. Project design was based on the needs expressed at the local government level to use and manage marine resources.

  • An experienced project management team had a clear ICM concept and the awareness of local needs necessary to develop the appropriate approaches depending on the nature of the problems.

  • Ability to build a cross-disciplinary team of management and professionals carrying the same vision in both the Programme management office and at the local project level.

  • A heightened public awareness about the necessity for managing the marine environment helps to strengthen the determination of the government to undertake pragmatic solutions.

  • Ability to incorporate coordination mechanisms directly into the development process by getting them adopted statutorily as the official management coordination process.

  • Project planning was sufficiently flexible to adjust and reflect the comparable capability to build local capacity.

  • Project proponents were able to sell the benefits of ICM by demonstrating better use of human and financial resources. This was also done by improving monitoring and analytical capacities of participating institutions that enhanced reliability of data and information and increased sustainability of the monitoring activities.

  • Integrated Coastal Management (ICM) provides a decision-making framework and management process to assist major stakeholders to address resource management issues in a holistic manner. The framework incorporates prevention and mitigation of adverse impacts into the planning, development and operational activities of the stakeholders, thus minimizing conflict. To effectively integrate policy development and implementation requires that a coordinating mechanism be developed, specific for that local.

  • Future activities involve using the two sites as demonstration for other communities and countries. Further efforts will be undertaken to link land-use to the water quality of each site so that at the interface they are consistent. There is also a need to further define the roles and relationships between the major stakeholders, including between national and local government entities as well as between government and non-government entities. The coordination councils presently in place are excellent tools for facilitating the discussions on these issues.


Dr. Chua Thia-Eng, Regional Programme Manager
40 Dept. of Environment and Natural Resources Compound,
Visayas Avenue, Quezon City 1101, Philippines
Mail: IMO, P.O Box 2502 Quezon City 1165, Philippines
Tel. (63-2) 920-2211, ext. 4; Fax (63-2) 926-9712
Email: imo@klink.com.ph
Web: http://www.skyinet.net/users/imo