Mobilising Stakeholders to Inform the Development of a Science-based Decision Support System for Coastal Wetlands in the ASEAN Region (Discussion Paper)

To support the sustainable management of coastal, marine, and wetland ecosystems and achieve positive outcomes for the environments, societies, and economies of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) region, the ASEAN Centre for Biodiversity and partners have identified the need to coordinate access to data of national and regional importance for decision-making through the development of a regional science-based decision-support platform.

In order to understand the information and capacity needs of governments (the anticipated primary users of the platform) and other stakeholder groups in the region, the challenges they face around marine and coastal decision-making, and the potential opportunities for greater cooperation, a process of national and regional consultation was held with representatives and stakeholders from all 10 ASEAN Member States, including national workshops, a regional experts forum, and an online survey. These activities were structured with the view to inform the design of the new platform. There were 197 survey responses in total, with an average of 41 participants per national consultation, representing stakeholders from across government, non-governmental organisations, academia, and the private sector.

Respondents reported a wide range of relevant data that is collected and utilised in the region, most commonly those around species names and images, biophysical elements such as water quality, and socioeconomic data, including population trends. These data are used for several objectives relating to marine and coastal decision-making in the region, including for monitoring species’ statuses and environmental condition, planning and decision-making, modelling future trends, and ensuring compliance. These data were also reported to support activities such as education and research. Commonly produced outputs included maps and technical reports, in addition to others such as statistics, videos, and magazines. Respondents expressed a need to access more complete and relevant data, and to increase partnerships and data/knowledge sharing. The consultation indicated that data curation in the region most commonly occurs through storage within spreadsheets, particularly for government participants, though data are also stored in other digital formats or as physical copies.

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