Building community resilience with Green Gray Infrastructure in Concepcion, Philippines

By Climate Champions | October 3, 2022


Location & Region: Philippines, Asia Pacific

Partner: Global Mangrove Alliance

Implementer: Conservation International

Area and sector: Coastal / Infrastructure, Nature-based solutions

The Municipality of Concepcion is located in the northern part of Panay Island, the sixth-largest and fourth-most populous island in the Philippines, formed by more than 25 island villages. This coastal area is exposed to the effects of climate change, from more intense dry seasons to extreme storms and typhoons, affecting the livelihoods of local communities.

In 2013, Hurricane Yolanda hit the islands devastating its population. According to Lorene Gabayeron, a community leader from Bagongon Concepcion “when the typhoon struck our community was not prepared, in an instant we lost our livelihoods, our property was destroyed.”

Our partner Global Mangrove Alliance is working with Conservation International to use nature-based solutions along grey infrastructure to increase the resilience of 11 island villages.

In Bagongon island, the Green Gray Infrastructure initiative has focused on three key objectives:

  • Rebuild coastal sediment by replanting mangroves;
  • Halt the ongoing beach erosion, and;
  • Reduce the effects of extreme weather events on residents living in the Bagongon cove.

The project uses a combination of wave attenuation fences, sediment trapping fences, low-crest semi-permeable breakwater as grey solutions, and mangrove restoration and the establishment of a community-based Marine Protected Area (MPA) as green solutions. So far, a total of 110,363 seedlings of native species have been planted covering an area of 11 hectares of mangrove rehabilitation and establishing a 769.7-hectare community-based marine protected area (CB-MPA), which included capacity building and training.

The community has been directly engaged in the restoration and implementation of the project. As part of the effort to incentivize community participation, two livelihood projects were included: the production of coconut-based products and the production of virgin coconut oil (VCO) as liniment and ointment. This supports the community which is heavily reliant on fishing to diversify their income, and increasing resilience during typhoons, monsoons and other extreme weather events that affect fishing.

The project also supported the community in establishing a Barangay Emergency Response Center and emergency response plans.

“We did not have an appropriate system [Emergency Response Plan] like this before, as we were not actively engaged as a community, but we were able to achieve this now through the participation of our members and community (…) Now we believe we are more prepared to face the challenges of Climate change,” Vivian Amasan, Community Leader Bagongon Fisherfolks Association.


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