German group lauds coastal project in Surigao Norte town

MALIMONO, Surigao del Norte (MindaNews/31 August) – An organization that operates in behalf of Germany’s Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development has expressed satisfaction on the results of an ongoing partnership program involving coastal resources management in this town.

The Deutsche Gesellschaft fur Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH has been assisting the program in partnership with the local government unit through its Conflict Sensitivity Resource and Asset Management (COSERAM) program.

Apparently as a result of the positive assessment, the GIZ-COSERAM last week signed a memorandum of agreement for participatory land use and development planning for sustainable and peaceful ecosystem management with the LGU.

Ralph Timmermann, Charge d Affaires of the German Embassy in Manila, voiced delight in the progress of the coastal management program after visiting the locality last week.

“The development is a big step forward. As a representative of the German government, it is very important to see what’s happening on the ground. So far, the progress of the project is highly commendable,” said Timmermann.

He stressed the importance of the project amid the growing consciousness of communities in Caraga about the fragile ecosystem and their concern for the environment.

“We have more and more natural disasters, we had the flooding in
Manila several weeks back, we had typhoon Sendong last year. The world’s climate is changing,” Timmermann said.

“It is important for us to do something about it. As far as I understand, the great advantage that you have is that your ecosystem is still quite intact. You still have forests and you still have shorelines, which you can protect,” he added.

Dr. Stephanie Schell-Faucon, principal advisor of GIZ-COSERAM, said there is much room to improve the ecosystem of the locality given the serious commitment of the people in the fishing villages.

“Looking back a year ago when we first initiated the project, there was no “bantay dagat” (sea watchers) in Malimono, there was no functioning Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources,” she recalled.

But one thing was very important, which was the people’s engagement in the discussion on how to protect the area, Faucon said.

Faucon said that conflict of interests could arise in managing natural resources but that can be addressed through conflict resolution mechanisms.

Since January 2011, GIZ-COSERAM has been working in Caraga region, in partnership with different stakeholders, to ensure that governance of natural resources and assets is implemented in a peaceful and sustainable manner for the benefit of the communities. (Erwin Mascarinas/MindaNews)