KeSEMaT in The 1st ASEAN Mangrove Congress on Research and Development, Manila, Filipina

Manila - KeSEMaTBLOG. To integrate, re-focus and update the research directions on mangrove resources based on current environmental and political conditions of the ASEAN countries, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources- Ecosystems Research and Development Bureau (DENR-ERDB), in coordination with the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), organized and conducted the 1st ASEAN Mangrove Congress on Research and Development on December 3-7, 2012 at the Century Park Hotel, Manila.

Dr. Honorato G. Palis, as overall coordinator of the congress and OIC Chief, Coastal Zone and Freshwater Ecosystem Research Division (CZFERD) welcomed all the participants in the ASEAN region and provided the overview of the mangrove congress. He emphasized the common management and R&D issues in the region that need to be addressed. Similarly, he stressed that this activity could be a spring board for sustained research collaboration and networking among R&D workers in the region and institutionalized periodic holding of this congress.

In his keynote speech, DENR Asst. Secretary for Field Operations and ERDB Director Marcial C. Amaro, Jr. said, "In all of these endeavors, a science-based foundation is viewed as the most logical approach to sustain the development and conservation of the mangrove ecosystem. Amidst the threats posed by climate change, mangroves will continually serve their function as natural buffers and more technologies have to be generated and shared among ASEAN countries to continue enjoying the benefits that they provide."

Dr. Jurgenne H. Primavera, Scientist Emerita of the Southeast Asian Fisheries Development Center (SEAFDEC) - Aquaculture Department was the plenary speaker during the program. She emphasized the need to review the protocols on mangrove rehabilitation which are not science-based. She also mentioned that we have to maintain, rehabilitate, and preserve the mangrove especially now that we have to adapt to climate change impacts.

The participants were composed of 41 paper and poster presenters from the ASEAN countries as follows: Indonesia (include KeSEMaT), Malaysia, Myanmar, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam. Thirty- two participants (32) from the DENR, DFA, and other institutions such as the ASEAN Center for Biodiversity (ACB); the Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic and Natural Resources (PCAARRD), the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR), the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA), and representatives from the State Universities and Colleges (SUCs) comprised the Philippine delegation. The other participants came from the nongovernment organizations (NGOs) and the civil society.

The congress served as a forum for the exchange of research information and updates among researchers and managers on the status of mangrove resources management in the ASEAN region and to stimulate interest on mangrove research and development (R&D). It also aimed to identify research and development gaps on mangrove resources management; and integrate science into the formulation and implementation of mangrove conservation and management plan. (Source : http://erdb.denr.gov.ph).