Cover Image
close this bookParticipatory Methods in Community-based Coastal Resource Management - Volume 1 - Introductory Papers (IIRR, 1998)
close this folderCommunity-based coastal resource management
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentPrinciples of CBCRM
View the documentComponents of CBCRM
View the documentThe CBCRM cycle
View the documentReferences

The CBCRM cycle

The CBCRM cycle has four major phases: planning, implementation, monitoring and evaluation (PIME). The phases vary in length and level of complexity depending on the capability of the community to undertake the activities in each phase. This is a continuous process which the community undertakes with or without assistance from an external facilitator. The process discussed in the text below is for a comprehensive CBCRM cycle, but there can be smaller, focused cycles for specific projects (e.g., mangrove rehabilitation).


Planning phase

Assessment or pre-planning

During the assessment phase, a comprehensive coastal community profile is compiled to serve as the basis for planning activities and, at the same time, to provide baseline data for future monitoring and evaluation. The data can be broadly categorized into ecological, social, economic, institutional and cultural aspects of the coastal community. The type and extent of information collected must serve the basic needs of future resource management processes but must also reflect community priorities that arise during problem and issue analysis. In CBCRM, social and economic issues are seen as part of resource management challenges, not as separate issues.

Secondary data is collected, and a participatory analysis of these data is conducted at the community level to validate the existing information and identify data gaps and further information needs. Through this process of interaction and collaboration, community leaders and key sectors (e.g., fishers' organizations) may be identified. These leaders or key sectors may be given additional training and can be encouraged to play key roles in CBCRM. Initial environmental education can be conducted during the assessment stage.

The data gaps/needs are filled using a variety of different participatory methods and techniques. The participatory methods to be used depend on the capability of the community and/or facilitators. Different community sectors are encouraged to share their knowledge and experiences.

At the end of this stage, there should be sufficient information available to prepare a comprehensive coastal community profile. The community may also start to identify potential options for developing CBCRM.

Once the coastal community profile has been consolidated, the CBCRM facilitator focuses on participatory methods that assist the community to:

· identify issues and problems of common concern; and
· identify strategic objectives (desired changes).

Coastal community profile

Environmental data

· Assessment of existing coastal habitats and resources (land and sea)
· Bio-geographical features, presence of watersheds and other connecting ecosystems
· Climate, conditions, oceanographic information
· Polluting industries and other major impacts in the area

Socio-economic data

· Demography
· Health
· Education
· Religion, history and culture
· Economy (household and community levels)
· Infrastructure
· Peace and order situation
· Gender roles

Resource use data

· Resource-based livelihoods (fishers, farmers, etc.)
· Commodity flows, marketing
· History of resource use and analysis of trends

Institutions and legal framework

· Land ownership and tenure
· Coastal resource access and existing management
· Existing support services, institutions and organizations
· Community structure, political situation


Planning proper

In this phase, the coastal community uses the information generated to formulate various plans using participatory methods. These plans should be structured around the four CBCRM components (capability building, sustainable livelihood development, resource tenure improvement, environmental conservation).

A long-term community development plan (e.g., a 3-5 year strategic development plan) is prepared first. This plan should reflect in operational terms the community's vision and goals. It should also contain its strategic objectives and targets. The community must determine whether the plan is feasible and if the impacts/risks (environmental and socio-economic) are manageable and/or acceptable. Any additional data needed for this risk and feasibility assessment should be gathered using participatory methods.

The community development plan is then translated into specific action plans that describe the different activities to be undertaken over shorter periods of time.

The community must be able to identify sources of funds and potential partners (e.g., non-government organizations, government, academe, donor agencies) for their plans and activities.


During this stage, the community members execute their CBCRM action plans. This can include community capability building activities, environmental education, resource and ecosystem conservation initiatives and sustainable livelihood development projects. Identified appropriate strategies and technologies are researched, developed, tested, and when successful, adopted and replicated. Education and other technical inputs are often required to successfully implement the CBCRM plan.

Implementation mechanisms, either in the form of task forces or committees or multisectoral councils, should be put in place. Program management systems must also be installed (e.g., communication, finance, administrative policies).

Networking and establishing linkages between the community and external organization/individuals must be initiated to lend additional support to CBCRM activities.


Monitoring is done to record the progress of the project or certain changes in particular indicators at certain regular intervals during the project implementation. It allows adjustments to be made in the targets and plans, or to employ appropriate interventions midstream, if necessary, in order to achieve certain targets on time.

Key to effective monitoring is the selection of appropriate indicators earlier on during the planning phase. The indicators will eventually define the degree of success achieved (or not achieved) by the program or project.


The evaluation stage aims to establish the effectiveness of the CBCRM process by assessing the capability of the coastal community and the accomplishment (or if sufficient time has passed, the impact) of the individual projects/activities measured against the project's objectives and targets. It allows for critical changes to be done following the analysis of end results vis a vis the program targets and objectives.


Various aspects of monitoring and evaluation are usually carried out by different organizations, committees, volunteers and external facilitators. Training on participatory monitoring and evaluation methods will be needed by these different groups. All of the groups will need to feedback the monitoring and evaluation results to the wider community.

At the end of the CBCRM project cycle, there may be a more extensive strategic evaluation to look at more qualitative indicators or impact.

Failures should not be hidden. The community should analyze these to ensure that the mistakes are not repeated and to gain insights into how they can adjust and improve. Lessons learned from the successes and failures should be incorporated into the planning cycle and shared with other communities.