Adaptation to climate change in coastal areas

Project description

Title: Adaptation to climate change in coastal areas (ACCCoast)
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety (BMUB)
Country: Philippines
Lead executing agency: Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR)
Overall term: 2011 to 2014

Philippines. Thanks to their firmly anchored roots, mangroves protect coastal areas against erosion, reduce the impact of tropical cyclones and offer a vital habitat for fish and other forms of marine life.  (Photo: Dr A. Ehlers) © GIZ


The Philippines is an island nation consisting of around 7,100 islands and has one of the world’s longest coastlines, extending for 36,000 kilometres. The country is located in the Coral Triangle, a species-rich area in the Indo-Pacific spanning six million square kilometres. The as yet intact resources in this region support the livelihoods of over 120 million people. The Philippines is home to particularly rich levels of biodiversity.

In order to protect the coastal ecosystems, 1,200 marine protected areas have already been created in the Philippines. These efforts, however, have seen varying levels of success and impact, due in many cases to inadequate management and insufficient funding at the national and local level.


Governmental agencies, local authorities and municipalities are implementing strategies for adaptation to the impact of climate change in coastal regions and for conserving biological diversity. The conservation and improved management of marine protected areas is increasing the resilience of coastal ecosystems.


The project encompassed policy advice and capacity development for the Department of Environment and Natural Resources of the Philippines with a particular focus on support for the Coastal and Marine Management Office. The establishment of better organisational structures increased the performance capacity of local administrative bodies such as cities, municipalities and provinces, enabling them to manage marine protected areas and the factors that affect these areas more effectively.

Considerable emphasis was placed on providing national policy support in coordination with other donors, including the Asian Development Bank (ADB), national and international environmental organisations and regional organisations like the ASEAN Center for Biodiversity (ACB), as well as domestic and foreign universities.

The project promoted the exchange of lessons learned and best practices. It also supported the establishment of networks and initiatives. One of the networks on which the partners have worked is the Coral Triangle Initiative, a multilateral partnership of six countries in the South-East Asia region that works to protect this globally significant marine area.


The development of national and local adaptation strategies has improved the ability of coastal ecosystems and their inhabitants to cope with the impact of climate change.

To generate an empirical basis for sustainable coastal protection, the project supported 16 different activities ranging from ecosystem-based coastal zone management and scientific research to environmental education. As a result, around 25 hectares of mangrove forest were rehabilitated, management plans for around 20 marine protected areas were drawn up and corresponding conservation regulations were introduced. Various authorities in the Philippines have successfully worked together to protect mangroves more effectively.

Training courses for employees of the national Coastal and Marine Management Office resulted in the office being officially recognised as a centre of excellence for the coastal and marine sector. This means that it is better qualified, able to manage marine resources sustainably and equipped to carry out technical measures geared to coastal protection.

With a view to improving the relevant political framework, a bill on integrated coastal resources management has successfully completed the process from draft to imminent signature.

The project reached 1.2 million people in 12 regions, 26 provinces and 93 municipalities and cities in the Philippines. It helped to improve the management of 103 marine protected areas, which comprise an area of 237,868 hectares. Good examples of effective coastal protection were established and made available to other coastal municipalities as a practical model for environmental and coastal protection.

Additional information