ARS Editorial Staff

1 Dec 2021

"Beyond territorial discrepancies and national security interests, questions arise about rights and obligations of states in relation to environmental protection, fisheries and food security, protection of indigenous peoples, climate change, disaster relief and biodiversity which altogether has economic and sustainable development impacts to states concerned."

The Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung, together with the Foundation for the National Interest and the Amador Research Services, is proud to present an executive report on the recently concluded two-part webinar series, Beyond Maritime Security - a continuation of the Kwentong Mandaragat series.

Beyond national security and sovereignty issues, the maritime situation in the West Philippine Sea has immediate and long-term implications to Filipinos’ livelihood and food security, as well as to the sustainability of the country’s marine resources. Beyond Maritime Security aims to amplify awareness of these issues, particularly the protection and sustainability of fisheries, climate change and its impact on the blue economy. The two-part webinar series held on 6 October 2021 and 26 November 2021 brought together international and local experts to tackle these topics. Members of the Philippine Government, the academe, diplomatic missions, non-profit organizations, military/uniformed services, private sector and think tanks from all over the country attended the event.

The first webinar titled Beyond Maritime Security: Protection and Sustainability of the Fisheries Sector highlighted the global and local challenges of the fisheries sector as well as government and civil society initiatives to address these problems. The webinar’s focus on this sector is premised on the Philippines’ dependence on aquatic resources for trade, livelihood, and food security. The second webinar titled Marine Environment & Climate Change: Impact on the Blue Economy highlighted the present challenges of the sector, one whose economic value is grossly untapped and whose viability is threatened by climate change. The webinar discussed national and local measures, including ways forward in promoting sustainability in the Philippines’ blue economy sector.

Among the recommendations presented were an integrated, whole of society approach to ocean governance to protect the fisheries sector. Responding to enforcement challenges in Illegal Unreported and Unregulated Fishing (IUUF) and poaching require increased engagement with stakeholders or participatory governance. Long-term planning for the sector, including exploring options, i.e., scaling back development or transitioning to a higher-value sector, was also proposed. Meanwhile, the crucial role of regional cooperation in developing the blue economy was highlighted given the transboundary and complex nature of the challenges in the sector. Innovative solutions, alongside community engagement and better governance were suggested to be equally important. Lastly, educating Filipino citizens, especially the youth, on the opportunities and challenges of the blue economy to build durable support for the sector was foregrounded.

The executive report finds three key policy recommendations:

1) Empower and build partnerships with local communities and LGUs
2) Research and development through public-private partnerships and regional cooperation
3) Develop a roadmap for the blue economy

Detailed findings may be found in the report proper.

Beyond Maritime Security: Executive Report