WAVES Guidelines Piloted in The Philippines


In January 2016, The Conservancy in partnership with the World Bank Wealth Accounting and Valuation of Ecosystem Services (WAVES) program published Guidelines for Measuring and Valuing the Coastal Protection Services of Mangroves and Coral Reefs.  The Guidelines review the role of coral reefs and mangroves for coastal defense in science, policy and practice and show how the protective services of mangroves and coral reefs can be measured and valued for national economic accounts. The overall aim is to ensure that nature-based solutions can be easily included into development, disaster risk and coastal zone management decisions.

In March 2016, TNC and the World Bank WAVES program began working with the government of the Philippines to implement the Guidelines to measure the protective services of mangroves and to incorporate these values into the Philippine System of National Accounts.  In December 2016, TNC and the World Bank jointly led workshops in Manila, where 30+ participants from more than 10 government agencies learned about the approach proposed in the Guidelines, and received preliminary results from our work to value the protective services of mangroves across the Philippines.  TNC and partners met with key government officials to discuss how this work can help inform policy and practice, including how this framework for coastal protection may be extended to the Philippines’s coral reefs. Major policy applications were discussed including how the results can help inform the countries risk assessment and flood mapping; priority sites for mangrove restoration under the national Greening Program; prioritizing natural infrastructure in the Philippines’s Comprehensive Land Use Plans; and identifying new funding for wetland conservation associated with Disaster Risk Reduction Financing.

At the heart of the Guidelines is a recommended approach for ecosystem service valuation — the Expected Damage Function (EDF) approach — which is adapted from engineering and insurance industry approaches to assess risks and benefits. This approach works by examining what flooding levels are now, and comparing these to what flooding levels would be if coastal habitats were lost. The difference in flooding level, and the social and built capital that exists between those flooding levels, is the expected benefit from keeping natural defenses in place.