The world's tropical coasts are home to over two billion people, many of whom live in poverty and depend on coastal resources such as coral reef fish for their livelihood, sustenance, and cultural traditions. The Global Socioeconomic Monitoring Initiative for Coastal Management (SocMon) works through regional and local partners to facilitate community-based socioeconomic monitoring. Household and community level data are collected to inform dependence on coral reef resources, perceptions of resource conditions, threats to marine and coastal resources, and support for marine management strategies such as marine protected areas. To date, over 60 assessments have been completed in 30 countries.
Since 2003, socioeconomic monitoring in the world’s coral reef areas through the Global Socioeconomic Monitoring Initiative has increased exponentially. A number of chronological events precipitated this increase.
- 2000- publication of the GCRMN Socioeconomic Manual for Coral Reef Management (Bunce, Townsley, Pomeroy, Pollnac 2000)
- 2002- formation of the Global Socioeconomic Monitoring Initiative for Coastal Management (SocMon), which serves as the socioeconomic monitoring arm of the GCRMN
- 2003- publication of SocMon Regional Guidelines for the Caribbean and Southeast Asia (Bunce and Pomeroy 2003), initiation of NOAA International Coral Grants for Socioeconomic Monitoring
- 2004- translation of the Caribbean Guidelines into Spanish, translation of the Southeast Asia Guidelines into Tagalog and Vietnamese
- 2006- publication of the Western Indian Ocean SocMon Guidelines, translation into French, Kiswahili, and Portuguese
- 2008- publication of SEM-Pasifika (SocMon Pacific) Guidelines and SocMon South Asia Guidelines, publication of the first SocMon Global Report, summarizing the information collected through SocMon to date.
As a result, there are currently six regions throughout the world that are successfully conducting socioeconomic monitoring through the SocMon Initiative: Caribbean, Central America, Southeast Asia, Western Indian Ocean, Pacific Islands, and South Asia. SocMon fills a critical need by advancing a global and regional understanding of human interactions with and dependence on coastal resources.