Cycle 1 (2011 Deadline)
Pathways for indigenous knowledge engagement on marine biodiversity conservation
PI: Marivic G. Pajaro, Haribon Foundation for the Conservation of Natural Resources, Inc.
US Partner: Douglas Medin, Northwestern University
Project Dates: June 2012 - May 2015
The Philippines is a global priority for the conservation of marine biodiversity. The country is also highly dependent on marine resources, with more than one million people directly dependent upon the fisheries sector. This project is based on the belief that local people using indigenous knowledge are capable of solving many environmental challenges, particularly if supported by their jurisdictions. In the Philippines, moving from an exclusive top-down approach to include a bottom-up approach for coastal resource management has become widely accepted as governments decentralize. Even so, local people remain marginalized on issues surrounding natural resource conservation and management. Larger geographical-scale concepts such as biodiversity may be somewhat beyond local knowledge systems and require targeted learning strategies. This project will address the related need for a cross-cultural understanding of environment and biodiversity in fisherfolk cultures. It builds upon fisherfolk social knowledge systems, historic and contemporary cultural profiles, and consideration of economic and political institutions and practices for linked communities.
The current knowledge base indicates that Philippine fisherfolk communities develop through a process of allocating and distributing rights over specific resources and places. The researchers heading this project will work with PAMANA, a national alliance of community-based coastal resource managers. The goals will be to develop a protocol for expanding the ecohealth lens to encompass biodiversity conservation within a wide range of fisherfolk communities and to assist them through best practice transfer to be more engaged in their own future sustainability. The project is also intended to facilitate the development of community-based science curriculum for the first Philippine bioregional or biodiversity-based Bachelor of Marine Science program at an academic institution in Aurora Province, northeast Philippines.
Summary of Recent Activities
During a training workshop held January 11-13, 2013, a dozen PAMANA leaders received training on methods for leading focal group discussions and reporting financial, administrative, and research data. Their first data collection using the Cultural Consensus Model was reviewed by Dr. Pajaro and her research team and discussed relative to the future development of training programs and formal education. The goals of the workshop were to begin assessing the needs of PAMANA fisherfolk leaders as frontline researchers and to establish an initial feedback strategy so they could better understand the use of the research outputs and their emerging roles. With regard to field data collection activities, the project is focusing on four provinces: Catanduanes, Quezon, Isabela, and Aurora. The Haribon researchers are ahead of schedule in obtaining an initial dataset from Catanduanes, which will be used to assess the best approach for further province-wide activities in the broader Bicol Region. In Quezon and Isabela a collaboration framework was further defined by in-province meetings with the Provincial Government and the State University to prepare for activities scheduled for early 2014. In Aurora Province, the project was advanced through meetings leading to a letter of endorsement from the Provincial Health Office to work in collaboration with the Haribon team on their Ecohealth approach. Subsequently an orientation meeting was held with representatives from each of the eight Municipal Health Offices. Thanks to the foundation laid by these meetings, the team aims to move three to six months ahead of schedule in applying a combination of methodologies on the Cultural Consensus Model and best practice transfer on Action Research in Aurora.
Workshops with local fisherfolk are an ongoing activity.
The Aurora Province orientation meeting was held with representatives
from each of the eight Municipal Health Offices.
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