The Philippines’ marine biodiversity has long been a key source of food security and economic activity, underpinning Philippine economic and social development for the 60% of Filipinos that live within the coastal zone, 40% of whom live in poverty (World Bank 2005).

However, rapid population growth, poor coastal planning and weak governance have subjected Philippine ecosystems and society to extraordinary pressures over the last 30 years. This manifests itself at the community level with inconsistent MPA governance and enforcement, and a tendency for over-fishing and destructive fishing in and around MPAs to become socially tolerated. The result has been a dramatic reduction in biomass and ecosystem integrity, a trend now amplified by the increasing effects of climate change. With 70% of the country's 1,500 municipalities found on coastlines, the Philippines is one of the world's most at-risk nations from climate change (World Bank 2008; Yusuf and Francisco 2010).

Effective management of networks for MPAs for effective ecological integrity and climate resilience is increasingly recognized as key to coastal climate change adaptation and Philippine socio-economic development (World Bank 2006; IUCN-WCPA 2008). Successfully managed MPAs such as Tubbataha and Apo Reef, as well as municipal MPA networks like Dauin (Negros Oriental) and Camotes (Cebu) represent "bright spots" which show that effectively managed local networks of MPAs can be a "core" institution around which ecological resilience and social adaptive capacity can be built, with support from clusters of Local Government Units (LGUs). As home to more than 25% of the world's approximately 4,800 MPAs, successful MPA management in the Philippines is critical to both preservation of global marine biodiversity (Nañola et al. 2010) and to demonstrating effective adaptation to climate change.

USAID, through its implementing partner, Rare and other local partners, will build upon its current MPA program in the Philippines and use Rare’s proven Pride approach to train and support local leaders to deploy a combination of social marketing, program management, technical implementation, and scientific monitoring. Key elements include:

  • Integrated social marketing and communication campaigns that transform target communities’ positive engagement in and capacity to address overfishing, climate change adaptation, and related issues.
  • Intense investment in building and embedding local capacity and governance to implement MPA network and climate adaptation management.
  • Creative partnerships between organizations from different sectors (government, academia, NGO, business, etc.)


  1. 14 campaigns launched, estimated to reach at least 740,000 people, of which over 29,000 are full time fishers, with up to an additional 499,000 of which over 48,000 are full time fishers
  2. Improved ecological resilience factors in 14 project sites, such as 10% improvement in coral habitat health by 2015 and 10% increase in fish & invertebrate density and diversity
  3. Reach an audience of an estimated250,000 coastal stakeholders about MPA network management for coastal adaptation
  4. Up to 14 local leaders trained and given the opportunity to earn Masters Degrees (awarded by the University of Texas El Paso)
  5. At least another 100 local executives trained through Mayors’ Workshops

Last updated: April 28, 2014

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