Myths and Realities of Participation in Philippine CBCRM: Lessons from an Analysis of Who Participates in What

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"There have been significant coastal resources management (CRM) efforts in the Philippines in the past twenty five years. Among these efforts, community-based coastal resources management (CBCRM) is a popular approach to address both human and natural resources issues in the coastal areas. It has been viewed as a means to expedite the management of coastal resources for the long-term benefit of present and future generations given the inefficiency of state management. CBCRM is also a means to address equity, poverty alleviation and more importantly, empowerment of marginalized coastal dwellers, particularly small fishers. In general, the immediate objective of many community-based coastal resources management in the Philippines is to organize small fishers in order to empower them to develop socially, and integrate management interventions as part of the development process (Uychiaoco et al. 2000). Notably, because of the political roots of organizing in the fishery sector, majority of the earlier CBCRM efforts shunned cooperation with the government. However, new paradigms in CBCRM have evolved with the devolution of responsibility to manage municipal waters and resources to the local government (i.e. R.A 7160 -The Philippine Local Government Code of 1991 and R.A. 8550-The Fishery Code of 1998) and the realization of the need for an integrated approach to CRM. While the local government has the legal mandate to manage coastal resources, avenues for the active participation of local communities in various aspects of resources management have grown in the past two decades. "Case studies of various community-based coastal resources management projects in the Philippines attest to positive outcomes of various community-based coastal resources management projects that were initiated and/or facilitated by NGOs, academe or national and local governments (reviewed in State of the Field of CBNRM-Coastal omponent 2001). It is widely accepted that an essential element of successful coastal management is active participation of direct resource users and other stakeholders. Many synthesis and case studies invariably conclude that involvement of the local community in resources management and high levels of participation in decision making are crucial (Polotan-de la Cruz 1993, Aliño and Juinio-Meñez 1995, Ferrer et al. 1996, Rivera and Newkirk 1997, Alcala 1998, White and Vogt 2000, Pollnac et al. 2001). It is also commonly accepted that active community participation should be encouraged from inception through the implementation phase. As experience grew, it became apparent that local participation in monitoring and evaluation is also an important factor for the sustainability of initiatives (Uychiaoco et al. 1999, White and Vogt 2000). "This paper focuses on who among the local community members participate in community-based coastal resources management activities and the nature of their participation based on 47 projects reviewed for the State of the Field of CBNRM Project. The strategies employed by projects to enable and enjoin community participation are reviewed in relation to the costs and benefits of participation to local community members. The factors affecting the sustainability of community participation and community-based coastal resources management interventions are discussed."



IASC, common pool resources, coastal resources, CBRM, participatory management, fisheries, devolution