After a year of strategic cooperation between the Department of Marine and Coastal Resources (DMCR) Thailand and IUCN Thailand, a meeting was held on 26 December, 2016 at the DMCR office in Bangkok to discuss the progress of the collaboration and provide updates on IUCN-led marine and coastal resource related projects.
The meeting was chaired by the Director General of DMCR, Ms. Suthiluck Raviwan and attended by the Director of Mangrove Conservation Office, the Director of Research and Development Institute and DMCR experts.
In 2016, IUCN Thailand implemented a number of marine and coastal resource initiatives, including ongoing projects, Mangroves for the Future (MFF) and Ecosystems Protecting Infrastructure and Community (EPIC), and activities as a result of IUCN's partnership with Marriott and Thai Union Company. Another two projects, the Thai-Cambodian Dolphin transboundary project and the Mangroves and Markets project, were completed in early 2016.
"DMCR has recently responded to and promoted Sustainable Development Goal 14 (SDG14): conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development. Scientific and socio-economic studies, especially on value-added products that provide benefits to coastal communities, should be conducted to provide a better understanding of livelihood and ecosystem changes after project implementation,” said Ms. Suthiluck Raviwan, the Director General of DMCR.
DMCR made a recommendation to IUCN to continue to provide technical support for future initiatives and advised IUCN to invite technical experts to share and exchange knowledge on nature-based solutions for coastal erosion. This is considered a big threat to Thailand’s coastline. DMCR also suggested that IUCN should play a key role in establishing transboundary collaboration between Thailand and Myanmar.
“I had joined a field trip to the Andaman Sea, during which I spotted pods of spinner dolphins and many other endangered marine mammal species in the transboundary waters of Thailand and Myanmar. In these areas, surveys have never been conducted. I hope IUCN will be able to fill this gap and help initiate a transboundary Thailand and Myanmar Marine Protected Area. This would be crucial for fish and coral spawning” said Mr. Vudhichai Janekarn, DMCR Expert.
IUCN is currently supporting the enforcement and implementation of the new Marine and Coastal Resource Promotion Act (2015), which includes the realisation of a Provincial Committee on Marine and Coastal Resource Management. This is considered to be a crucial mechanism in achieving the participatory approach at the provincial level.
As a result of this meeting, DMCR will appoint a working group with representatives from DMCR and IUCN to develop a 2017 Action Plan and a four-year strategic plan (2017-2021).