The lack of an integrated approach to sustainable management, utilisation and protection of the coastal zone in Soc Trang Province, unclear responsibilities of local authorities and economic interests in shrimp farming have led to rising concerns over environmental and social impacts and resulted in the unsustainable use of natural resources in the coastal zone thus threatening the protection function of the mangrove forest belt and reducing income for local communities.
The overall project goal of the GTZ project, Management of Natural Resources in the Coastal Zone of Soc Trang Province, is to ensure that poor local communities benefit both economically and ecologically from sustainable management and utilisation of coastal areas. The objective for the first phase (2007-2010) is to promote co-management of the coastal zone between resource users (local communities, shrimp farmers) and local, district and provincial authorities.
For the project to achieve its goal it is important that staff of local authorities and social and women organisations have a clear understanding of the concepts of sustainable coastal zone management. These staff and local people should also have general awareness about environmental issues.
PanNature is working with the GTZ project to assess level of awareness and understanding of sustainable coastal zone management and general environmental issues of different stakeholders of the project. In addition to carrying out field assessment in three districts of Soc Trang province, PanNature also trains staff of the district project teams on assessment techniques and data analysis skills.