07 November 2018
By Dr Jacqualyn Eales, University of Exeter

Project 1 is investigating how human management of marine environments impacts the health and well-being of people who live and work by the coast in SE Asia. Rather than undertaking on-the-ground research, our approach is to use Evidence Synthesis to gather together and report the already available literature on this topic.  This approach allows us to learn from past management challenges and benefit from known successes, so that our SE Asia partners can take these lessons forward in their future marine management plans.

We have started by producing a catalogue of the current literature, known as a “Systematic Map”, on how marine conservation activities in SE Asia affect the health and well-being of local people. The types of literature we are including may be, for example, a research study that investigates the impacts of marine protected areas on fisherpeoples’ livelihoods, or an article written by an organisation on the effect of environmental awareness-raising programs on how coastal communities value nature. These reports will be presented as a freely-available as online resource, presented as an interactive map. The Systematic Map will be completed in Spring 2019, and with the online tool, users will be able to view a summary of each report, pinpointed to the geographical location that the program or activity was undertaken. We will also publish the Systematic Map in a peer-reviewed academic journal.

The next stage of Project 1, in mid-2019, will be a consultation with our partners in Vietnam, Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines to identify from the Systematic Map, which topic areas/research questions to focus on for a full evaluation (Systematic Review) of the evidence. The consultation will aim to ensure that topics of focus are of high relevance and priority for the partners. All of the evidence gathering methods used in this project will be “Systematic”, meaning that we will search widely, across academic journals, organisational reports, and in local languages, for any evidence that will inform our research questions.

A programme of training in Evidence Synthesis for programme partners is under way, beginning in November 2018. We have also set up a network of researchers in SE Asia who are involved in Systematic Evidence Synthesis methods. The training and network are key to capacity building for our programme partners in SE Asia.

In summary, Project 1 will provide a base understanding of what we already know about how management activities in SE Asia impact health and well-being of people at the coast. It will also highlight areas where insufficient evidence is available- pinpointing opportunities for new research studies. By building capacity for Evidence Synthesis in SE Asia, we will enable researchers to understand and implement locally-relevant marine management practices for future, sustainable environments and communities in the region.
Project 1: Evidence synthesis
Project lead: Dr Ruth Garside (University of Exeter)
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