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Governance Institutions and the Adaptive Capacity of Small-scale Aquaculture to Climate Change in the Philippines

Authors / Editors: Fernandez, Pepito R.


The Philippines, as a country, is vulnerable to climate change, i.e. intense and prolonged weather patterns caused by emissions from fossil-fuel-dependent and industrialized countries, due to its physical characteristics. The physical and ecological threats of climate change are aggravated by the high level of poverty, inequality, and poor health of residents. All these can lead to conflict and magnify existing environmental, political, economic and socio-demographic issues and concerns. Case examples revealed that successful adaptation to climate change in the Philippines was possible at different scales. Maintaining and up-scaling best practices was important. For SSA, at the household level, there was evidence that the adoption of extensive polyculture practices, complemented by small-scale agriculture and mangrove reforestation, proved to be resilient to climate change. At the local community level, e.g. leadership, trust and social network, the creation of aquaculture cooperatives provided advantage when: constructing sea walls and beach reinforcements; strengthening fishponds and related infrastructures; tapping into developmental and livelihood projects/programmes from external partners/donors; and operating fishponds for profit and poverty alleviation. At the larger political-geographic level, support of state and/or civil society groups was important in setting up technological and/or people-centered approaches to: (i) institutionalize early warning techniques, environmental education and awareness-raising systems; (ii) create hazard and vulnerability maps; (iii) improve communication and transport systems; (iv) conserve and enhance watersheds, coral reefs, mangroves, sea grasses and littoral vegetation; (v) address vulnerabilities (e.g. public health, waste management and water resources); (vi) improve legal, judicial and police systems; and (vii) promote local livelihood and economic development (e.g. through mariculture parks using intensive methods). Proper monitoring and investment in large-scale and intensive aquaculture and mariculture operations, however, was crucial to prevent pollution and disease outbreaks, promote social equity, and develop a market for “sustainable seafood”. At the national and international levels, lobby groups and international partners should push for the proper implementation of pro-poor aquaculture-related projects and programmes to prevent the opposition of private interests. Current institutional arrangements and strategies may be enhanced by improving the level of trust and partnership between state and non-state sectors.

Published by: Enhancing the contribution of small-scale aquaculture to food security, poverty alleviation and socio-economic development , | Page Nos: 153-164
Link: http://www.fao.org/docrep/019/i3118e/i3118e.pdf
Type of Publication: Journal Article