Beihai, China, 1 November 2012 - More than 40 experts from ten countries participated in a workshop on mangrove protection and restoration in Beihai City, Guangxi Autonomous Region, China, October 29-31.
The objective of the workshop on “Incentives to Catelyze Sustainable Management and Restoration of Mangroves in Asia and the Pacific” was to identify alternative ways of combining mangrove protection and subsistence for local communities, as well as to explore feasibility and capacity needs for sustainable financing mechanisms and incentives. The event was organized by APFNet and co-sponsored by IUCN, WWF, PEMSEA, The Nature Conservancy, Guangxi Mangrove Research Center and The International Tropical Timber Organization (ITTO).
Prof. John Pernetta, Director of UNEP/GEF South China Sea Project, gave an introduction on the current status of mangroves in Southeast Asia and future prospects. Recognizing that small scale actions can have measurable contribution to regional targets, it is nevertheless of paramount importance for the sustainability of mangrove protection in the future to increase the value of mangroves. This requires innovative ideas and thinking out of the box.
Dr. Don Macintosh, Senior Advisor of Mangroves for the Future, talks about IUCN-MFF experiences in South and Southeast Asia. Founded in 2004, MFF has been focusing on designing ecologically and socioeconomically sound coastal rehabilitation, promoting civil society awareness and participation in decision-making, and supporting environmentally sustainable livelihoods. Dr. Macintosh presented a new publication, called A Regional Synthesis of Results and Lessons from Mangroves for the Future Small Grants Projects 2009-11. “Perhaps the most important lesson to emerge from the Small Grants Projects is the effectiveness of small grants”, he said, “and that experienced local partners are the key to sustainability after a project itself ended.”
During the workshop, participants discussed plans of actions, gaps and capacity development needs in governance, technology and restoration, partnerships and networking. An urgent need for deeper regional collaboration and for long-term projects was identified. Mr. Qu Guilin, Executive Director of APFNet, called the meeting a successful one, pointing out that the regional discussion about mangroves conservation moved forward significantly, moving beyond what and why, on to discussing how-to and livelihood improvements.