A strategic location in Abra de Ilog
The pilot site is located near Abra de Ilog on the Verde Island Passage. This remote area of Mindoro island harbours an extremely rich marine and terrestrial biodiversity. It is an ideal site to conduct our project which integrated approach illustrates how intimately linked the earth and the sea are. earth and sea remain around an established Marine Protected Area and sustainable farming practices.
In 2016 Ecotone Resilience initiated a local development project in northern Mindoro island, in the Philippines. We arrived in the locality of Udalo, a remote area rich with a breathtaking biodiversity, a singular social diversity and a rare human generosity.
The project started with the establishment of a Marine Protected Area, then expanded to sustainable farming practices with the creation of model farms and finally the launch of the production of Virgin Coconut Oil. Not to mention the electric solar installation in remote Iraya villages, totally left behind modernisation.
Over time we have integrated this land, or rather it has integrated us, while it stands on the cusp of decisive changes: until recnetly, Udalo was accessible only by foot or by boat. But a major road is under construction, connecting Udalo to Abra de Ilog and its pier in the West, and to the touristic town of Puerto Galera in the East.
This modernization initiative connects the territory to urban areas, bringing new opportunities(markets, employment, education, etc.); but also real threats of ecological degradation, cultural disruption, social exclusion, of immigration and population growth which would increase the pressure on natural resources.
The first step consisted in creating a powerful human resources support network to enhance key resources
Ecotone Resilience core team brings together marine biologists, ecology scientists, sustainable farming , development and finance experts. The team is working closely with the University of the Philippines, with the support of the Municipality of Abra de Ilog as well as local communities in Sigman, Udalo, Bugtong and all the other stakeholders.
Ecotone Resilience's approach is based on close collaboration between local, national and international stakeholders. We aim at ensuring the sustainable well-being of local communities by helping them restore and manage the health and productivity of local resources.
In partnership with the local populations and the local government, ER has been working since 2016 to anticipate his change, and to support the region in this turning point.
Thanks to our collaboration with research institutes, we conduct and publish scientific studies that guide our decisions and inform the local politicians. We have constituted and trained a competent and committed local team, that monitors and coordinates our actions on the field.
Creation of a Marine Protected Area
A four year battle which was won in 2020 and allowed immediate regeneration of the fish stock.
We have managed to initiate the transition towards more sustainable fishery, thanks to the establishment of a Marine Protected Area, including an Environmental Monitoring Base (under the management of local authorities) and artificial coral reefs.
We support the local agro-ecological transition:
Solar project in two Iraya villages
With Hybrid Social Solutions, our local partner, we have initiated solar electrification of the indigenous villages of Latag (in 2018) and Balas (in 2020), which had no connection to the electricity grid.
After winning a scolarship from the Luxembourg Bazar, we launched our Virgin Coconut Oil project in the Bugtong village. This project aims at creating a sustainable local business for Iraya women.
Local awareness expansion
Finally, we have carried out numerous educational activities with the schools and the residents, to raise awareness on the impact of humans on the environment, on the management and reduction of waste, on agroecology and sustainable agricultural practices.
We have faced environmental and human challenges. Severe climatic episodes and typhoons impacted the homes and lands of the local population, including of our partner-farmers. The outmigration of young people and qualified human resources to the cities, led us to recruit people from other regions and to train local recruits. We have conducted numerous consultations with local political actors, with the populations, to clarify misunderstandings, promote dialogue, and reach consensus or compromise.
As in any project, we faced unexpected events, changes in trajectories. Like nature, we have managed to adapt, to adjust, with flexibility and common sense and became more resilient.