Dr Vera Horigue (centre) facilitates an innovation history workshop in Palawan, Philippines. Photo: K. Follosco

Understanding governance systems for MPA networks

Community leaders have different preferences in terms of ranking, rationalising and rating various ecosystem services based on their personal ideals and backgrounds, a study of how different stakeholders perceive marine protected area (MPA) networks and marine spatial planning (MSP) has revealed.

Led by Dr Vera Horigue from University of the Philippines Marine Science Institute (UP MSI) the activity is investigating stakeholder knowledge and perceptions on different approaches to establishing MPA networks, and the management of multiple resource-use zones at El Nido, Palawan, in the Philippines.

Approaches to establish MPA networks include scaling up or coordinating local establishment, and scaling down regional (broader scale) designs. Palawan has the potential to scale down a regional design because managers at both the provincial and municipal governance levels are represented in the Palawan Council for Sustainable Development (PCSD). The PCSD is a multi-sectoral and interdisciplinary body that influences the planning and development trajectory, and resource management approaches in Palawan. Its members can collectively decide and act to implement a provincial MPA network design.

Moreover, the governance research activity will enable the team to evaluate how the existing multi-level governance structure in Palawan can adapt and embed conservation planning processes in MSP processes. Understanding coastal resource governance requires looking at the entire system – policies, institutional arrangements and dynamics.

The following methods are being used to achieve the governance research objectives:

  • Institutional analysis was conducted to evaluate the current status of marine resource governance, to be able to recommend policy amendments and/or interventions, and management strategies; and
  • Key Informant Interviews (KII) were conducted to describe the beliefs, perceptions and preferences of community and institutional leaders.

These KII were conducted in three parts:

  1. How these leaders value ecosystem services, and prioritise management actions;
  2. Their knowledge, beliefs and preferences for MPA networks and MSP; and
  3. The relationships of people and institutions that have been significant, and have influenced the changes that have occurred at El Nido.
  • An Innovation Histories Workshop, which was conducted at Puerto Princesa, Palawan, to describe the transformation of coastal resource governance, resource-use, and evolution of multi-sectoral planning in the pilot study site.

By understanding the current government system this study can help the Capturing Coral Reef & Related Ecosystem Services (CCRES) project provide meaningful and appropriate management recommendations at El Nido and in Palawan.

Specifically, it can help identify leverage points and make specific recommendations that can enhance existing policies and institutional arrangements (i.e. structure, process, and standards) to facilitate the uptake of CCRES tools, MPA network design recommendations, and how to apply MSP at the pilot study site, and the Philippines.

For more details, contact:

Dr Vera Horigue
University of the Philippines Marine Science Institute
+63 920 956 5878