Governance of coral restoration in the Philippines

Abstract: Much work on coral restoration to date has focused on experimenting with diverse technical approaches and techniques. However, as the implementation of coral restoration globally increases, it is increasingly recognized that there is a need to better understand how to govern this emerging technology effectively, which requires assessing the social, economic and political contexts in which reefs are restored. Coral restoration raises a series of governance challenges, including how to align the technology with local priorities and values, how to generate and monitor social and economic benefits, and how to effectively regulate it. In this presentation I provide an overview of a project focused on the governance of coral restoration in the Philippines, working in four sites across the country, and with policy stakeholders at the national level. The project takes an action research approach that combines social research on the factors influencing the institutional effectiveness of coral restoration, with practical programs of work to support government agencies in their work to effectively manage coral reefs. In detailing the activities and outcomes of the project I also discuss some of the tensions that exist between applied and basic research approaches in marine social science. 

Biography: Michael Fabinyi is an Associate Professor in the Climate, Society and Environment Research Centre at the University of Technology Sydney. From 2010-2016 he worked at the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies, James Cook University, and he has lived and worked in China, Indonesia, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, the Philippines and Solomon Islands.  His research interests are focused on coastal livelihoods, agrarian change, food security in coastal contexts, seafood trade and fisheries governance. Current projects include China's role in global fisheries (Nippon Foundation Ocean Nexus Centre); sandfish mariculture and coral reef governance in the Philippines (Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research); and small-scale fisheries livelihoods (Australian Research Council).