Community-led and climate compatible: Rare partner campaigns at FAO FishAdapt
The impacts of climate change on ocean and coastal resources threaten the sustainable development of more than 1 billion people that depend on small-scale fisheries for their food.
Over the last few days, Rare and partners from Kepulauan Seribu National Park in Indonesia and the coastal community of Pilar, Cebu in the Philippines presented to over 150 scientists and practitioners at FishAdapt, the first Global Conference on Climate Change Adaptation for Fisheries and Aquaculture, August 8-11 in Bangkok, Thailand, on the links they are making between improved fisheries and habitat protection and community resilience to climate change
FishAdapt, sponsored by FAO, Rare, and development partners including NORAD, NOAA and the Government of Japan, is a global forum to discuss the current state of knowledge on climate change adaptation for fisheries and aquaculture. It provides a unique opportunity for Rare partners to share the development of risk management and adaptation strategies in their communities, as well as the community-led and climate compatible solutions being identified for sustainable small-scale fishery reform. Small-scale fisheries account for 50% of global fish catch and 90% of fisheries sector jobs.
Endang Tatang Hidayat, a Rare Campaign Fellow of Kepulauan Seribu National Park, explained how his community is responding to changes that small-scale fishers in Kepulauan Seribu are witnessing in their coastal fisheries:
“Fishers in Seribu are having to adapt to unpredictable situations in order to catch fish and feed their families. Between erratic weather conditions at sea, such as unpredicted monsoon seasons and strong storms, and ecosystem degradation in areas surrounding their homes, fishers face many risks to their livelihoods. They now link decreased amount and size of fish and need to travel further distances to catch fish to climate change’s increasing impacts.
To address this problem, we have been applying Rare’s behavior change intervention — what is known as a Pride Campaign— to promote Territorial User Rights for Fisheries implementation [TURF]. TURFs provide rights to fishers and provide many benefits to the community, because co-management encourages more responsible behavior towards an ecosystem and its resources. Better resource management can improve fish quality and quantity, and restored fisheries on well-managed fishing grounds closer to shore lessen the risks of fishing and increase economic benefits to fishers. TURF is indeed increasing fishers’ resiliency toward climate change impact in Kepulauan Seribu.”
In order to help build community resilience to climate change, Rare believes that climate change needs behavior change. Rare trains Fellows like Tatang to inspire communities to adopt change and apply solutions such as TURFs through locally-led “Pride Campaigns,” which can build social resilience and increase a community’s ability to organize and respond to climate-related threats. According to Tatang, the community and fisher response to the KSNP campaign has been promising:
The community-led intervention has resulted in high engagement from local fishers to improve coastal fisheries in the Park. Not only are we changing the way people fish in Kepulauan Seribu to make our fisheries more sustainable, but we are helping them to better adapt to climate change."
As partners shared experiences and lessons learned at FishAdapt, a common theme began to emerge: that better managing coastal and marine resources is a viable way to adapt to the impacts of climate change. In Micronesia, Rare partner the Micronesia Conservation Trust is working with non-governmental organizations, government agencies, researchers, and fisher managers to improve fisheries management across seven regional jurisdictions, in order to address climate change threats. Social marketing campaigns have been designed to communicate climate change issues and potential impacts to community members, fishers, marketers, policy makers, planners, and other stakeholders. These efforts seek to identify adaptation “bright spots” - that is, locally-led conservation solutions - and share useful information.
Behavioral approaches, such as these climate adaptation campaigns, can also help to connect the dots between community engagement and national policy. Additional activities in Micronesia work to link and align local, national, and regional programs and mainstream adaptation policies related to fisheries and food security, in order to incorporate community engagement efforts into broader development planning, such as the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Hearing stories of how Rare’s partners in Micronesia, Indonesia, and the Philippines are transforming their local communities as stewards of their coastal and marine resources provides great hope for uncovering more bright spots – especially those in which communities willingly taking part in managing their coastal and marine resources as a way to adapt to climate change’s increasing threats.