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Gender Issues within the Population-Environment Nexus in Philippine Coastal Areas
Sixty percent of the Philippine's population resides in the coastal zone. Women and men in coastal communities depend chiefly on the sea for subsistence. Over fifty percent of the dietary protein requirements of coastal communities are derived from municipal fisheries and shallow coastal habitats (reef fishes, marine plants, and mangroves). Coastal populations are young and expanding at rates that exceed regional and national averages. Expanding human pressures and man-made disturbances (over harvesting, destructive fishing, siltation, etc.) that offset natural processes are destroying habitats and creating protein food security crises and increasing malnutrition. At the same time conflicts among users of coastal resources are escalating. Access constraints, gender inequities, and cultural barriers stymie options for women and men to plan their families and create alternative livelihoods. National and local government agencies are addressing food security concerns through vertical policies and programs (e.g., fisheries management, integrated coastal management). The IPOPCORM project uses a cross-sectoral approach and quasi-experimental evaluation design to test the hypothesis that food security will be achieved more quickly when coastal resources management (CRM) and reproductive health (RH) management are implemented together. The purpose of this article is to review the project's experience and highlight the trends observed in program monitoring and evaluation during 2001–2004, which suggest better impact on RH, CRM, and gender indicators in the sites where the synergistic approach is being applied.
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