Published: 26 November 2021
The Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung (FES) and the German Embassy in Manila, in partnership with the Foundation for the National Interest (FNI) and Amador Research Services (ARS) concluded its Beyond Maritime Security webinar series last November 26, 2021. The webinar titled “Marine Environment & Climate Change: Impact on the Blue Economy” highlighted the present challenges of the blue economy, a sector whose economic value is grossly untapped and at the same time under threat by climate change. The webinar discussed national and local initiatives and ways forward in promoting sustainability in the Philippines’ blue economy sector.
The webinar was opened by German Ambassador H.E. Anke Reiffenstuel of the German Embassy in Manila and Dr. Vinzenz Huzel, Resident Representative from FES. The resource speakers were: Undersecretary Analiza Rebeulta-Teh of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources; Dean Roland U. Mendoza of the Ateneo School of Government, and Mr. Terence Dacles - Senior Adviser to the German Agency for International Cooperation (GIZ).
Ambassador Reiffenstuel shared that the high interest in the webinar series underlines the importance of addressing issues of maritime security in an archipelagic country like the Philippines. In addition, the webinar is also relevant given the rich resources from the waters surrounding the archipelago. It is important to understand responsibilities not just in maritime security but also to act responsibly in the utilization of these resources.
Dr. Huzel shared that the intention of the webinar is to highlight topics that are often neglected in the discussion of maritime security and those that have a direct impact on the everyday lives and livelihood of the Filipinos.
Undersecretary Teh presented the state of the blue economy and government initiatives. She shared that blue economy sectors such coastal and marine tourism, fisheries, aquaculture, ports and shipping contributes a total of PhP 6.7 Billion to the Philippine economy. However, the sector is highly vulnerable to the risk of climate change and natural disasters as well as human activities such as pollution and biodiversity destruction. She informed the audience that the DENR is pursuing integrated coastal management as a national strategy in ensuring the sustainable development of the country’s coastal and marine environment and resources.
Dean Mendoza shared current technologies to improve the blue economy as well as policy directions to be undertaken to support its growth. He mentioned international technologies that can be adopted in the Philippines such as vertical ocean farming, ocean based renewable energy, and marine biotechnology. He shared that the Philippines has a lot of potential in high value areas such as in shipbuilding, seabed mining, and ocean energy conversion. He recommended conducting marine spatial planning and encouraging better governance particularly at the local government level to be able to harness these opportunities.
Finally, Mr. Dacles shared GIZ’s implementation of sustainable coastal protection and biodiversity conservation projects in the Philippines, particularly in response to challenges of marine litter and mangrove deforestation. He shared various successful and innovative initiatives that GIZ has implemented in partnership with the government, nonprofit organizations, local communities, and the private sector.
Last October 2021, FES and its partner organisations successfully launched the first webinar on existing approaches and best practices in the development and sustainability of the fisheries sector. The event featured the discussion topic in a bid to broaden the conversation on maritime issues beyond the usual focus on territorial discrepancies and national security interests.
Participants in this webinar included government officials from the ff agencies: BFAR provincial offices, the Coast Guard, PNP, DILG, DFA; students and professors from various universities; members of the business community and NGOs.
The webinar was broadcasted live on the Official Facebook page of FES Philippines and can be viewed through this link: https://fb.watch/9wfHdWOilY/
Screenshots of the event found below.