GIZ-COSERAM supported local- and regional agencies to establish the HIPADA Marine Monitoring Team (HMMT) composed of staff coming from Surigao City based SUNGCOD, Inc. (NGO), coastal LGU’s of Bacuag and Malimono and from the Management Office of Hinatuan Passage Development Alliance (HIPADA) in the Province of Surigao Del Norte. The HMMT received trainings on certified advanced scuba diving, underwater assessment- and marine monitoring skills. Furthermore GIZ turned over full diving equipment for six HMMT professional divers, needed for underwater assessment and monitoring in coastal barangays. This is in line with the peaceful and sustainable Ridge-To-Reef approach supported by COSERAM’s conflict sensitive comprehensive land use planning process.
From December 2013 to April 2014, the HMMT had conducted underwater assessments in all 13 coastal barangays of Malimono, one of the members of HIPADA. Results had been presented to relevant stakeholders and became the bases in the identification of appropriate interventions for the protection of the remaining natural resources and allowed for discussions to resolve various conflicts raised by the local populace.
Until the end of 2014 HMMT will replicate the underwater assessments to the remaining HIPADA members (six Municipalities and one City) aiming to assess the current state of their marine resources and assist the member LGUs in developing appropriate strategies and interventions to sustainably manage their marine resources and in resolving resource conflicts.
The donation of diving equipment, accompanied with relevant provision of technical skills was highly appreciated by the HIPADA Members and they were very thankful for the continuing support of the COSERAM program on their efforts to support the protection and management of their remaining natural resources, lying in the Ridge and the Reef.
by Virginia Guanzon, GIZ-Senior Advisor to the COSERAM program