LGUs trained to use new digital tools for Development Planning

Officers from 13 local government units in Palawan were trained on how to integrate new digital tools in group discussions and decision makings related to the management of natural resources, last April 1 to April 4 at PCSD Conference Room.

The new digital tools, namely Socio-Ecological App for Mental Model Elicitation (SESAMME) and SYSTORY, are two of the 16 tools provided by an international project called Capturing Coral Reef and Ecosystem Services (CCRES).

Both are digital applications that can be downloaded freely on the Apple App and Google Play stores. PC and Mac versions are also available online at ccres.net.

Prof. Marissa Pontillas, one of the tool trainers from Palawan State University (PSU), said, “SESAMME allows us to map the elements of a system and determine how each element is interrelated to another to give us a better and deeper understanding of how the system behaves or operates.”

According to her, the tool helps users visualize the interaction of the elements in the system, identify solutions, and know how these solutions can affect each component of the system. 

The tools were piloted at Selayer, Indonesia and El Nido, Palawan at 2014. Professor Pontillas said that the more a community is alike to El Nido in terms of livelihood and natural resources, the more ideal for it to use the application.

On the other hand, SYSTORY application visually narrates the interaction of humans and coastal ecosystem. It also has an “Experiment” function that enables users to run and simulate actions or interventions and will show its effects to the whole system for the next 20 years.

Pontillas said, “For policy making, we think it is important that we have this application na simple lang at makikita natin, masisimulate natin anong possibleng mangyari kapag nagpasok tayo o nagbago ng mga polisiya.”

She shared, “Ang gusto natin ay mas maraming tao ang maka-access. Maipaabot ito, maituro kung paano gamitin . . . Local communities, policy makers, and teachers.”

CCRES project designed technical tools and knowledge products that assist managers, policy-makers, and planners to improve the management of coastal ecosystems. It is funded by Global Environment Facility (GEF) and The University of Queensland (UQ), implemented by UQ and World Bank. It is also partnership with Palawan Council for Sustainable Development, PSU, El Nido Foundation, and University of the Philippines Marine Science Institute.

Using the SESAMME tool, an LGU officerdrags icons of natural resources into a map. Photo was taken during Focused Group Discussion simulation activity using SESAMME last April 4 at PCSD Building.
Prof. Marissa Pontillas encourages LGU officers to utilize SESAMME and SYSTORY before the first batch of the training workshop on integrating CCRES Systems Tools comes into conclusion. Photo taken last April 2 at PCSD Conference Room.