Capturing Coral Reef and Related Ecosystem Services Annual Forum On 8-10 February 2016, the Capturing Coral Reef and Related Ecosystem Services project held its annual forum at the Marco Polo Hotel, Pasig City and at the Oakwood Premier Joy-Nostalg Center, Mandaluyong City.

With the theme integration, expansion and collaboration, the CCRES forum centered on four key objectives – (a) understanding and creating integration across activities, (b) developing a strategy for how CCRES technical skills, information and outputs can be disseminated and connected into other forums and networks in the region, (c) understanding and agreeing to how CCRES can value-add to other regional investments projects and initiatives and (d) maintaining networks and relationships.

Palawan State University was well represented by Dr. Michael D. Pido, Vice President for Research and Extension, and the members of two CCRES core modelling teams (CMTs) namely, Engr. Maria Rosario Aynon A. Gonzales, Dr. Patrick A. Regoniel, Engr. Agustin R. Miraflores, Prof. Marissa S. Pontillas, Ms. Eva Marie Ponce de Leon, and Ms. Precious Joy L. Latras.The three-day event was organized to bring together the different teams involved in the three components of the CCRES project. During the forum, participants collaborated and shared ideas from different perspectives and integrated these for further development and improvement of the project. During the Planning Workshop, Ms. Melanie King, CCRES Project Director, presented the highlights of activities conducted by the different teams in Indonesia, Philippines, and Australia. King also presented future activities that are lined up for the project.

Participants were also given a preview of 16 innovative tools that are currently being developed for the project. These tools will assist in exhibiting the relationships between the ecosystem, community and the implementation of management plans. Some of the tools, however, were already tested by the CMTs, specifically the SESAMME app. The application was used during the series of focus group discussions facilitated by the CMTs in El Nido, Palawan. The app enabled the team to create rich pictures of El Nido regarding specific socio-ecological problems that the municipality faced based on the perceptions of the local community.

During the second day, the different research teams presented their initial outputs to community stakeholders such as local government officials and representatives of non-government organizations. After the presentations, the stakeholders were given the opportunity to ask questions and provide feedback to the teams. They were also encouraged to visit the exhibit of the CCRES teams and interact with the team members. This exchange of ideas between stakeholders and researchers was crucial in further improving and strengthening the tools in terms of its productivity and services platforms. Furthermore, stakeholders were also asked about which areas of the project they would likely be involved in. Systems Analysis headed by Dr. Carl Smith gathered the most number of votes.

On the final day of the planning workshop, participants shared their feedback and evaluations from the Stakeholders Forum and Planning Workshop. The teams were also given time to review their progresses and construct draft plans for the remaining 2016 and 2017 work programs. Action plans were also developed to incorporate the feedbacks into the outputs.

(P. Latras, 2016)