As part of the four-year Capturing Coral Reef and Related Ecosystem Services project, specifically for Component II, Dr. Carl Smith and Dr. Russell Richards, professors at the University of Queensland, held the second Systems Thinking workshop on 6 -10 July 2015 at the PSU Hostel.

Participants to the workshop were the four core modelling teams (CMTs) assembled during the first workshop in November 2014 comprised of individuals from Palawan State University, Palawan Council for Sustainable Development (PCSD), and the El Nido Foundation(ENF) with representatives from the El Nido local government unit (LGU). These CMTs are crucial in fulfilling the Systems Analysis activity of Component II.

The goal of this component of the CCRES project is to ‘develop decisions support tools that assist in the design of businesses that protect or enhance coastal ecosystem services whilst being profitable and supporting local livelihoods’. Thus, systems thinking is essential in mapping and understanding the interactions between socioeconomic systems and ecosystems which result to socioecological problems in the community.

Each CMT tackled a socio-ecological concern that affected the Municipality of El Nido. PSU Team A comprised of Dr. Patrick A. Regoniel, Engr. Maria Rosario Aynon A. Gonzales, Engr. Agustin Miraflores, Jr., and Mr. Roy Bero focused on the problem of water pollution while PSU Team B composed of Prof. Marissa S. Pontillas, Ms. Eva Marie Ponce de Leon, Ms. Gianina Decano, and Mr. Mark Joseph Buncag concentrated on fish catch decline. Meanwhile, the PCSD group led by Mr. John Pontillas focused on the socioecological problem, mangrove loss.

On the other hand, ENF headed by Ms. Irma Rose Marcelo, along with the LGU, tackled the issue of food insecurity. During the second quarter of 2015, the teams conducted FGDs to develop rich pictures for the identified socioecological problems produced from the community stakeholder group meetings.

The output from these FGDs was the focus of the workshop. The CMTs shared their experiences in conducting the first round of FGDs. The results of the FGDs, especially the differences and similarities among the teams, were discussed. Each group also presented a summary of their report regarding the socioecological concern that they focused on. Dr. Smith addressed the concerns of the group regarding the summary reports and further discussed concepts on systems dynamics. On the other hand, Dr. Richards presented an updated version of the iPad application, SESAMME, and solicited suggestions to improve the app.

Along with Dr. Smith and Dr. Richards, the groups revised and refined the scripts and ran mock focus group discussions. Moreover, the teams developed work plans and schedules for the next round of stakeholder group discussions set at the last quarter of the year. Additionally, the groups also agreed on facilitating an integrated municipal-level stakeholders’ meeting in November 2015.

Ms. Noreen Marie Follosco and Dr. Vera Horigue from the UP-Marine Science Institute were also present to extend assistance during the training workshop.