The Ecosystems Research and Development Bureau (ERDB) together with the Biodiversity and Watersheds Improved for Stronger Economy and Ecosystem Resilience (B+WISER), a project designed and funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) in collaboration with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), spearheaded the conduct of the National Workshop: Harmonizing the Guidelines on Mangrove and Beach Forests Development and Management held on June 26-27, 2014 at the Century Park Hotel, Manila.

Speakers and participants came from DENR agencies, namely ERDB, Forest Management Bureau (FMB), Environmental Management Bureau (EMB), Land Management Bureau (LMB), Biodiversity Management Bureau (BMB), Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB), and National Mapping and Resource Information Authority (NAMRIA), regional and provincial offices, B+WISER, private organizations, academe and research institutions, and other government agencies.

The presenters talked about success stories, assessments of Yolanda's impact on mangrove and beach forests, lessons learned from mangrove rehabilitation, livelihood scheme for mangrove communities, and the initiatives of the local government units in the rehabilitation. On the second day of the workshop, the participants have been grouped into five for the critiquing of the Mangrove and Beach Forest Development and Management (MBDM) Guidelines. The break-out sessions focused on 1) general implementing mechanism (stakeholders involvement and procurement services); 2) Site assessment, rehabilitation, development, and management of mangrove and beach forests; 3) capability, sustainability, and institutional development; 4) monitoring and evaluation-cum-action research and development; and 5) fishpond and beach areas for mangrove rehabilitation and establishment of green belt barrier.

The workshop aimed to refine the sections of the guidelines for Mangrove and Beach Forest Development and Management that ERDB, with inputs from BMB and FMB, and B+WISER have drafted. ERDB and the partner organizations and agencies look forward that the MBDM Guidelines will serve as an effective tool in sustainable development and management of mangrove and beach forests in the country. Jobelle Mae L. Zuraek, TTD