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Wise Coastal Practices for Sustainable Human Development Forum

Further views on education and land purchase for conservation.

Posted By: D. A. D. Diamante-Fabunan, R. Leonard, R. H. Charlier, T. Tiong Sa, U.K. Overseas Territories Forum.
Date: Monday, 26 March 2001, at 1:35 p.m.

In response to: ' Education rather than purchasing is a better option to conservation / Philippines.' (http://csiwisepractices.org/?read=292) (G.H.A. Santos)


MODERATOR'S NOTE: There has been a considerable response to the contributions on purchasing pristine areas for conservation [Mr. Miguel Olvera Novoa and Ms. Angela Speed (http://csiwisepractices.org/?read=283), Messrs. Faulkner, Subramanian and Potter (http://csiwisepractices.org/?read=290), and Mr. Santos (http://csiwisepractices.org/?read=292)]. These responses have been combined in several separate postings, the third one follows.


Indeed, there are many options that individuals and groups may take for purposes of conservation. I would not go as far as to say that purchasing certain pristine areas is not a wise alternative, although I quite agree with Mr. Santos (http://csiwisepractices.org/?read=292) that education is the better option, despite it being a medium- to long-term process. Perhaps, purchasing certain pristine areas for protection is viable in some case, but it should not stop stakeholders from planning and implementing more effective, long-term endeavours.

I would also take education further, to mean not merely information dissemination, but also advocacy and communication, carefully timing the information dissemination, based on the maturity and readiness of the recipients, priming them for more, until they are moved to action. Such action would eventually be translated into values that would guide us through generations.

There has to be a starting point. Scattered environmental activities have mushroomed in the Philippines in the past three decades and are gradually gaining ground, but the rate is still too slow when compared to the environmental destruction. It is therefore imperative to accurately discern where available resources and energies should be directed and to pool our resources. (Dolores Ariadne D. DIAMANTE-FABUNAN)

Mr. Santos (http://csiwisepractices.org/?read=292) presents an interesting point of view that perhaps over- simplifies the debate. Surely the two - education and purchasing - must run together, although given the pressures of finite budgets, the ability to purchase will be limited. As for development, the starting point is to resist all development, but as the community become involved, they will define what is acceptable or not. We must remember that whilst as conservationists, we may wish to 'educate' people (not a term I am comfortable with), like it or not people will set their own agendas and priorities. Those of us in government or other non-profit agencies only exist because of tax payers and/or public generosity, in other words 'people'. Let's not educate, but begin true partnerships and learn from each other. (Ray LEONARD).

I share the view that purchase of certain sites is a wise move towards coastal protection. However, funds for such purchases are not easy to come by, thus the approach remains a limited and local solution. (Roger H. CHARLIER)

Purchasing coastal lands for conservation or for the regulation of coastal development is an interesting idea. However, problems may arise regarding the funding and the governance. There have been cases where development authorities or special island authorities have acquired premium coastal land with the expressed objective of regulating resort development or conservation. Needless to say, the victims of enforced land acquisition have complained about inadequate compensation. And even worse, acquired land may end up in the hands of powerful companies who commercialise the property under the guise of ecotourism projects. Purchasing land for conservation or other purposes, where it will benefit the general public, is an option worth considering, however, where governance may be a problem, this idea should be pursued with great caution. (Teh TIONG SA)

A recent international conference on environmental conservation in small territories (Calpe 2000: Linking the fragments of paradise) discussed the importance of owning land in order to ensure long-term conservation. Island territories with National Trust type legislation have a useful mechanism for governments to enlist the resources of non-governmental organisations. Lands given by governments to National Trusts can be declared inalienable, so that the National Trust can treat this land as an ordinary disposable asset, but must safeguard it in trust for the people. Such transfers of land by government tend to attract further contributions by private individuals, making this a very cost-effective investment by government. It is also important to ensure an income stream for site management. Conservation funds can be one of the few popular taxes. (U.K. OVERSEAS TERRITORIES CONSERVATION FORUM)

Ms. Dolores Ariadne D. Diamante-Fabunan, Coastal Resources Management Project, Cebu, The Philippines.

Mr. Ray Leonard, Project Manager, Turning the Tide, Durham County Council, U.K.

Mr. Roger H. Charlier, Free University of Brussels, Belgium.

Mr. Teh Tiong Sa, Nanyang Technological University, National Institute of Education, Singapore.

U.K. Overseas Territories Conservation Forum, Forum News 19, February 2001.


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