Las Historias Detalladas (Basados en visitas de campo y entrevistas extensas)
- Filipinas – Isla Apo – El Santuario Marino de la Isla Apo: Restaurando la Pesquería del Arrecife Coral – Un santuario marino rescata a una pesquería y un ecosistema arrecifal al borde del colapso.
- Tailandia – Provincia Trang – Recobrando los Manglares con Gestión Comunitaria – Al oponerse a poderosos intereses para proteger un recurso común, se detonó la regeneración social, económica y pesquera.
- Tailandia – Provincia Nakhon Sawan – Restauración de Cuencas Hidráulicas con Agrosilvicultura y Gestión Forestal Comunitaria – La adopción de la agrosilvicultura y la gestión forestal comunitaria habilitó a aldeanos pobres en la optimización de sus recursos, tanto naturales como humanos.
- Tailandia – Provincia Nonthaburi – Reutilización y Reciclaje en el Templo Wat Suan Kaew – Wat Suan Kaew Un templo combina la reutilización creativa y el reciclaje, la agricultura sustentable y programas sociales.
- Vietnam – Dengue, Copépodos y Control Biológico de Mosquitos – Con participación comunitaria se utiliza un pequeño depredador de larvas de mosquito para erradicar al mosquito transmisor de dengue, librando a millones de personas de dicha enfermedad.
Las Historias Cápsulas
- Filipinas – Ciudad Marikina – Renovación Urbana – El plan de un nuevo alcalde por restaurar la viabilidad y orgullo de una empobrecida ciudad industrial.
- Indonesia – Parque Nacional Bunaken – Gestión de Recursos Costeros – La restauración de manglares y el cultivo del bambú brindan sustento alternativo y purifican aguas residuales.
- Tailandia – Pak Mun Dam – Reapertura Experimental de una Presa – La reapertura experimental de la presa Pak Mun Dam revela los costos sociales y ecológicos de las megapresas, y los beneficios de los ríos a las numerosas comunidades que dependen de ellos.
Filipinas – Ciudad Marikina – Renovación Urbana
by Amanda Suutari
Since 1787, “Mariquina,” as it was known before the entry of the US, located in metropolitan Manila, is a 2,150-hectare area bordered by mountain ranges and a river. Known for its large shoe industry, this otherwise faceless town had been a dirty city with haphazard shantytowns lining a blackened, polluted river, with no proper garbage disposal, and whose apathetic population was jaded by years of neglect by authorities.
This situation began to change when incoming mayor Marides Fernando came in with a vision to revamp the city in the model of Singapore, which has been praised for its efficient services, clean air and water, and civic responsibility. Fernando believed in the “Broken Window Pane” theory, which describes how citizens will become alienated from dilapidated surroundings, losing their motivation to maintain them (and the corollary that a new sense of cooperation will develop if there is a concentrated effort to rehabilitate them).
A Marikina City Development Authority (MCDA) was created to come up with a master plan which ranged from services to infrastructure to environment and legislation. The initiatives include:
- A riverside development plan, with a river cleanup program, public education about protecting the river, and the creation of pathways, parks and other public places. This made the riverside safer and cleaner, which encouraged people to spend leisure time there. There was also an economic development strategy with the creation of a commercial area near the river, with bars, restaurants, and stores. Cultural and historic heritage were also promoted with the preservation of a historic shrine, and a shoe museum. Ample space has been provided for parks, playgrounds, and promenades.
- A settlement office was set up to provide adequate shelter for shanty dwellers. Those living in slums by the river were relocated to a model resettlement area. The city’s ultimate goal is to have a squatter-free city. One way to do this was under the Community Mortgage Program, which helps residents to own the lots that they occupy.
- Strict zoning regulations were enforced, which complemented the relocation of shanty dwellers. The zoning also was aimed at illegal vendors who were seen as obstructions on pedestrian areas. At the same time, a public market was set up, and its safety standards are being regularly tested.
- A waste management program was set up, with a materials recovery facility, garbage collection services, and enforceable anti-littering laws.
- Education program and supplies fee coverage for eligible elementary and high school students.
- A program to encourage payment of taxes by offering discounts on government services for those who fully pay their taxes. The MCDA’s master plan, modeled on Singapore, may seem somewhat top-down and draconian, and the effects of its policies on relocated shanty dwellers and “illegal street vendors” bears more investigation. Nevertheless, its vision stressed that proper services and enhanced quality of life was possible as long as citizens cooperated and acted responsibly as well. The city has won multiple awards, and is attracting attention from other municipalities interested in taking similar approaches in other cities, which has contributed to a strong sense of pride of Marikina natives.
For more information visit the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism.
Indonesia – Parque Nacional Bunaken – Gestión de Recursos Costeros
by Amanda Suutari
The site is Bunaken National Park, a series of Islands in Northern Sulawesi Province, Indonesia. This coastal resource management is based on models of mangrove community resource centers in Sri Lanka. With degradation of the mangrove forest in the national park, Yayasan Kelola (a local NGO) and the Mangrove Action Programme joined forces to establish the CCRC (Coastal Communities Resource Center). This is intended as a space for coastal resources protection practitioners to gather for workshops and seminars to promote appropriate technologies and livelihood alternatives for coastal communities, with showcases on the following:
- Improved fuel-efficient cookstoves (relying on charcoal from coconut shells, which coconut farmers tend to throw away as waste instead of a resource), which have been found to save 10% of a fishing family’s monthly income that would be normally spent on fuel needs.
- Eco-bamboo treatment facility – -this was designed to provide sustainable alternatives and supplements to fishers’ and farmers’ income. Bamboo grows fast and so is easily renewable, and use of this in place of mangroves relieves pressure on mangroves and rainforest. The bamboo is treated by environmentally-benign borax and boric acid which keeps it insect – and rot-resistant. The bamboo has been used in construction of the CCRC and orders are being placed for it already.
- Wastewater Gardens – -this is a variation on the theme of phytoremediation (water purification using plants).
- A permaculture demonstration.
- A showcase of other local materials such as the nyapah palm used for thatch.
The project is in the first phase of a two-phase plan to rehabilitate a disused shrimp pond beside CCRC, by organizing planting by villagers and elementary schoolchildren (the remaining 10 hectares had been unsuccessfully planted three times by local government and forestry department).
Services/benefits recovered: income and economic incentive to preserve a resource, food, fuel, waste treatment, storm protection, water regulation, knowledge systems, education, values, sense of place, ecotourism
It should be noted that this is still a pilot project in the early stages, so the benefits are mostly “potential,” although probably more developments have taken place since the last published report.
For more information visit the Earth Island Journal.
Tailandia – Pak Mun Dam – Reapertura Experimental de una Presa
by Amanda Suutari
This case is a good illustration of a system crossing thresholds into new stability domains, both when a dam is built and when it is removed. While dams are being decommissioned increasingly in the US, experimentally reopening gates of a controversial dam in a developing country – -and studying what happens – – is less common.
The Pak Mun Dam (PMD) was completed in 1994 by the Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand and funded by the World Bank, despite opposition by 6,000 families who were displaced by the project as well as efforts by local and foreign non-governmental organizations (NGOs) such as the International Rivers Network.
Yielding somewhat to 10 years of resistance by villagers, the government opened the gates for 1 year and commissioned Ubon Ratchathani University to study the effects of the opening of the dam. The study found numerous things, including:
- Some 152 species of fish returned to the Mun River, 134 of which are migratory (who travel from the Mekong to live, feed and spawn), including the appearance of the endangered Mekong Giant Catfish.
- Of the 74 types of fishing gear normally used, 22 types had been made obsolete by the dam; after the gates’ opening, fishers began using these obsolete types again (fishing gear is directly related to status, dignity and cultural pride for fisherfolk).
- Villagers reported being better fed.
- Vegetation along the Mun River began to recover, much of which was used for food, herbs, fish food, gear, rope, timber, household appliances and ceremonies.
- Land was being used for riverside gardens again.
- The number of inter-village conflicts decreased.
- Household incomes went up. In 1990, 32.7% of residents in the target area were below the poverty line; this figure went up to 62.5% in 2000, and fell to 57.6% in 2001.
However, the Thai government has since ignored the urging of NGOs and villagers to keep the gates open and decided to close them, and said they will continue to do so for 8 months a year.
For more information visit Rivers Watch and a Ubon Ratchatani University study.