This Regional Assessment report is one of two regional assessments that form part of a situational analysis that aims to assess the dynamics of change in ecosystem services (ES) associated with marine and coastal systems, and to identify how they support the livelihoods and well-being of the coastal poor. It aims to identify the key challenges for research and current gaps in knowledge and capacity in order to inform the development of a research strategy to support the maintenance of ecosystem services explicitly for poverty alleviation.
For the purpose of this Regional Assessment, a regional review of coastal systems and a detailed review on the marine fisheries systems encompassing South China Sea and Sulu-Celebes Sea were undertaken. Case studies focused on the Philippines, East Malaysia of Malaysia and Vietnam. These countries were chosen because: (1) all three countries/states contain the highest and most diverse coastal and marine ecosystems; (2) the coastal stretches of these countries/states are highly populated; and (3) naturally high numbers of people depend on the coastal and marine ecosystem services for their day to day living including employment, food, housing and recreation.
An introductory chapter explains the rationale for this regional assessment and the importance of carrying it out. The second chapter reviews some of the key coastal and marine systems within the region and the services rendered by/from the ecosystems to the environment and people. The chapter also examines the poverty scenario within the region, and briefly highlights poverty in the coastal zones. Chapter 3 discusses in depth the four key drivers that are rapidly causing the loss of ecosystem services in the region, their impacts on coastal users and poverty and trade-offs related to ecosystem services as a result of this key drivers. Chapter 4 concentrates on highlighting the linkages between ecosystem services and poverty through a number of case studies from the region. It further explores the existing regional knowledge, the existing gaps and the existing policy options concerning ecosystem services. The chapter wraps up by presenting a synthesis of all of this key information in a 'regional ES-poverty linkage' table. The final chapter of this assessment illustrates prioritized recommendations for regional research and capacity building.