Improving governance and management

Blue Communities identified a need for new or improved approaches to – or innovations in – marine management

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Tropical marine and coastal ecosystems – coral reefs, mangroves, seagrasses – are vital for the livelihoods, food security and well-being of millions of people in Southeast Asia. However, many families are locked in poverty as the marine resources that they depend on dwindle due to destructive practices, overharvesting and the deterioration of ecosystems. Current management of tropical marine resources is not effective. Blue Communities identified a need for new or improved approaches to – or innovations in – marine management.
Analysis of promising innovations in marine planning in three UNESCO Man and Biosphere Reserves in Indonesia, Philippines and Vietnam, and a large marine park in Malaysian Borneo formed part of the programme. Using a newly designed Participatory Marine Governance Analysis toolkit, the work revealed the enablers and barriers to the design and implementation of the innovations to find opportunities to improve management of the marine reserves and parks. The innovations studied included marine zoning, the development of tourism livelihoods as an alternative to destructive fishing, and the establishment of marine protected areas.
The project enabled Blue Communities’ partners and key stakeholders to systematically analyse the governance context within which they are working, and for other stakeholders participating in the process to learn from each other and reflect on ways to improve the performance of marine governance in the future.
Marine planning programmes and projects also tend to focus on win-win solutions, where two or more social, economic and ecological objectives are achieved simultaneously. However, mounting evidence has shown that such win-wins are elusive because objectives often compete with, rather than complement, each other.
Improving governance and management
In Blue Communities, we also sought to find ways to support decision-makers make hard decisions in marine planning. While many programmes and policies often promise to benefit both people and planet, such win-wins can be elusive in reality. Interventions (e.g. policies, management actions, and new technologies) typically result in gains for some people, sectors, or ecosystems, but losses for others. The distribution of gains and losses are known as “trade-offs”. We explored marine practitioners approaches in Southeast Asia for dealing with such trade-offs. We then developed an innovative participatory tool, MaPTA, discussed below to support trade-off decision-making in the future. 
MaPTA video screenshot
Blue Communities successfully developed a new tool called Marine Planning Trade-off Analysis (MaPTA). MapTA is a participatory process that helps marine planning practitioners identify and assess the acceptability of potential trade-offs resulting from their programmes and interventions.

Tools, findings and resources

List of publications

Videos and images

Downloadable resources

Improving governance and management sketchnotes

Satellite mapping of coastal habitats and aquaculture - English version