Understanding socioeconomic factors and the communities’ relationship to coastal and marine resources is crucial for the success of marine conservation. Integration of socioeconomic monitoring at conservation sites can serve to involve local communities in resource management, provide adaptive management strategies to reflect the local needs, and facilitate understanding of the importance of marine and coastal resources. Socioeconomic Monitoring (SocMon) is a tool developed to facilitate coastal planning and management.

As such, the Global Socioeconomic Monitoring Initiative for Coastal Management (SocMon Global) has been pursuing this conservation initiative worldwide. There are only six Regional SocMon Centers in the world. The US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) serves as the coordinating body for this undertaking. Palawan State University (PSU) serves as the Regional Center for SocMon in Southeast Asia, while the Global Center for SocMon Initiative is based in Washington, USA. The SocMon SEA has been active in countries within Southeast Asia region, including the Philippines, for nearly a decade. Since 2007, the PSU and the Conservation International-Philippines (CIP) have been undertaking SocMon-related activities in Palawan Province, Philippines, in collaboration with the local government units (LGUs), national government agencies (NGAs), non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and local communities.

To strengthen the SocMon SEA program and showcase the utility and practical applications that may be derived from using SocMon as tool for adaptive management, a Socioeconomic Monitoring (SocMon) SEA Methodology Training Course was be held at PSU, Puerto Princesa City from 29 February – 3 March 2016, and at Barangay Binduyan on 4-5 March 2016. The SocMon Methodology Training Program provided orientation on the use of SocMon Guidelines for Coastal Managers in Southeast Asia. This offering is for coastal management practitioners at the site level, academic, NGO, and local government personnel tasked to conduct socioeconomic surveys. Included in the package was a three-day theoretical orientation on the SocMon Guidelines, and two days of actual fieldwork, and exercise for the initial SocMon data management on climate-change related variables. This undertaking re-engaged some of the SocMon alumni in the Philippines, and trained a set of new researchers, managers and key stakeholders in applying the SocMon SEA methodology in generating relevant socioeconomic information.

Twenty-eight trainees, mostly extensionists and researchers from PSU and representatives from government units participated in the activity. Trainees came from the following agencies and PSU units: Palawan Council for Sustainable Development (1); Office of the City Agriculture (2); Puerto Princesa Subterranean National River Park Management Office (6); PSU- College of Business and Accountancy (3), PSU-College of Teacher Education (2); PSU- College of Arts and Humanities (3); PSU- College of Sciences (2); PSU-University Extension Services Office (5); PSU-University Research Office (1); PSU- Intellectual Property Rights Office (1); and PSU- Center for Strategic Policy and Governance (1). Dr Michael D Pido, Vice President for Research and Extension and Regional SocMon Coordinator for Southeast Asia led the training. He was assisted by Prof. Marissa Pontillas of the PSU-CTE and Ms Eva Ponce de Leon of the PSU-CBA.

The activity forms part of the project “Re-assessment and pilot-testing of Socioeconomic Monitoring (SocMon) climate change indicators in Binduyan, Puerto Princesa City, Palawan, Philippines” which is spearheaded by the Regional Center for SocMon SEA based at PSU. This project is in collaboration with the City Government of Puerto Princesa and the Palawan Council for Sustainable Development Staff. A subgrant for the project has been accessed by the Center from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF), through NOAA. The College of Business and Accountancy also co-funded the activity.

(EMC Ponce de Leon, 2016)