PEMSEA at 20 Years: Partnerships for Our Shared Seas

PEMSEA 20th Year Anniversary banner

Bringing together East Asian countries in the last two decades, PEMSEA continues to be in the forefront in offering concrete strategies to achieve the region's shared vision for sustainable oceans and coasts. Over the years, PEMSEA took the lead in fostering dynamic partnerships among the region's stakeholders working to address threats to the East Asia's marine and coastal ecosystems.

The PEMSEA Timeline offers a brief look into PEMSEA's achievements over the past years, from its humble beginnings as marine pollution demonstration project in 1993 and now as a leading international organization promoting the sustainable development of region's oceans and coasts. Photos and videos are also included to commemorate these milestones.

Now on its 20th year, PEMSEA remains committed in forging collective partnerships and in empowering local governments and coastal communities around the region. We invite everyone to join us in this momentous year as we celebrate "People, Partners, Progress: 20 Years of Partnership for Our Shared Seas".

Message from the East Asia Seas (EAS) Partnership Council Chair

Chua Thia-Eng, Chair, EAS Partnership Council, photo"Over the past 20 years, PEMSEA has directed substantial efforts in strengthening coastal and ocean governance so as to protect and preserve East Asia's seas and coasts which support the lives, properties and economic well-being of millions of people."

Message from the Acting Executive Director and Chief Technical Officer

Stephen Adrian Ross, Acting Executive Director and Chief Technical Officer, photo"Through the collaborative efforts among stakeholders, PEMSEA was also able to hone the region's wealth of knowledge and experience in integrated management and sustainable use of the coastal and ocean resources."

Dr. Chua Thia-Eng Library

Dr. Chua Thia-Eng Library Slideshow

To start its year-long anniversary celebrations, PEMSEA dedicated the PEMSEA Resource Facility (PRF) library to Dr. Chua Thia-Eng and launched the PEMSEA History Wall at the PEMSEA Office Building in Quezon City, Philippines last 4 April 2013.

The Dr. Chua Thia-Eng library showcases more than 21,000 print and electronic materials, including more than 300 publications highlighting PEMSEA's achievements and transformation over the last two decades. Guests were also treated to a hands-on demonstration of an online database developed by the Department of Science and Technology of the Philippines to access the library collection.

PEMSEA History Wall

PEMSEA History Wall

The PEMSEA History Wall commemorates PEMSEA's legacy in fostering collaborative partnerships and in promoting the sustainable development of the region's oceans and coasts. Anchored on the theme, "People, Partners, Progress: 20 Years of Partnerships for Our Shared Seas," the PEMSEA History Wall includes a collage of photos of people that have been part of PEMSEA's work over the past years.

The History Wall also includes a timeline offering a brief look into PEMSEA's achievements, from its humble beginnings as marine pollution demonstration project in 1993 and now as a leading international organization promoting integrated coastal management (ICM) across the region. Aside from these, the PEMSEA History Wall also featured the ICM demonstration and parallel sites across East Asia, PEMSEA's capacity building and knowledge management initiatives and the EAS Congresses and Ministerial Forums.

20th Anniversary Celebration

PEMSEA marked 20 years of spearheading the sustainable development of the East Asian Seas in a momentous celebration held on 10 July 2013 at the Diamond Hotel in Manila, Philippines. Representatives from the PEMSEA Country and Non-Country Partners, the East Asian Seas Partnership Council's Executive Committee, sponsoring agencies, collaborators, local government representatives, and current and former staff of the PEMSEA Resource Facility (PRF) gathered at the event to celebrate the achievements, growth and partnerships that have been established by PEMSEA for the past two decades.

Congratulating PEMSEA on its two decades of achievements were heads from the PRF, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) of the Philippines, the East Asian Seas Partnership Council, UNDP Philippines and the State Oceanic Administration of PR China. Senator Loren Legarda of the Philippine Senate also graced the celebration as the keynote speaker.

At the event, PEMSEA gave recognition to the outgoing chairs of the East Asian Seas Partnership Council and former PRF Executive Director for their invaluable contribution in providing guidance and support to the organization. PEMSEA also received recognition from the DENR for bringing the sustainable development of Philippine coastal areas into a higher level of conscious effort.

Click on the thumbnails to launch the videos and photo slideshows of the 20th anniversary celebration.

Video Messages
Video Speech, PEMSEA 20th Anniversary Celebration - Dr. Chua Thia-Eng  Video Speech, PEMSEA 20th Anniversary Celebration - Mr. Stephen Adrian Ross 
Photo Slideshows
20th Anniversary Celebration 20th Anniversary Celebration
PEMSEA History Wall 

PEMSEA’s 20th Anniversary Publication

PEMSEA's special 20th anniversary publication, entitled Perspectives on Building a Regional Mechanism for Coastal and Ocean Governance in the Seas of East Asia, highlights the organization's remarkable journey from its humble beginnings as a GEF/UNDP regional programme and now as a self-sustaining regional entity promoting sustainable ocean and coastal management in the seas of East Asia.

The publication features different chapters written by several key individuals who have played a vital role in PEMSEA's evolution over the years. Each chapter highlights PEMSEA's remarkable journey including milestones it has achieved, challenges faced and valuable lessons learned in the last two decades. With this, the publication also puts forward the directions and future prospects of PEMSEA as it transforms into a full-fledged and self-sustaining international organization in coastal and ocean governance in the EAS region.

To download and order the book, visit the publications section.

Download or order Perspectives on Building a Regional Mechanism for Coastal and Ocean Governance in the Seas of East Asia 


Name and Organization Message

Le Van Thu, Provincial People's Committee Office of Thua Thien Hue Province, Viet Nam

As the first person of Thua Thien Hue Province, Viet Nam was trained on ICM by PEMSEA; since 2002 I have followed my deep interest, ICM and usually participate in PEMSEA congress and PNLG annual workshops; I understand that PEMSEA has a great contribution not only to East Asia Seas protection, conservation and governance but also to the cooperation, friendship and sharing between member countries and PNLG member local governments. On the case of 20th Anniversary of PEMSEA, I would like to send my faithful congratulations to Dr. Chua, Dr. Adrian Ross, Ms. Nancy Bermas and all friendly staff members of PEMSEA and PNLG; and I wish PEMSEA will develop well and continue to have more contribution to the sustainable development of East Asia Seas and the close cooperation between PEMSEA member countries.

Dr. Awni Behnam, President
Dr. Cherdsak Virapat, Executive Director
International Ocean Institute

We have the honor to extend to you on behalf of the IOI Governing Board, its Steering Committee and Network of Operational Centres, our sincere congratulations for the celebration of the 20th Anniversary of the Partnerships in the Environmental Management for the Seas of East Asia (PEMSEA) in 2013.

The IOI recognizes PEMSEA's contribution to our knowledge and experience in implementing integrated coastal management (ICM) programs in the Seas of East Asia and would like to congratulate PEMSEA for addressing the challenges in coastal and ocean governance in the current ocean regime.

The IOI looks forward to working together to fulfill Rio + 20 and the Millennium Development Goals in the years to come and to further strengthen our continued cooperation in the areas of capacity development and outreach to promote ocean governance and sustainable development of ocean resources in the future.

Prof. Merlin M. Magallona, Dean
College of Law, University of the Philippines Diliman, Philippines

Allow me to join in absentia in the glorious celebration of the 20th anniversary of PEMSEA, as it marks its transformation into an international organization for increased environmental integrity to the Philippines and to the region. Permit me to yield to the temptation of sharing your pride and of PEMSEA's achievements as I recall the moments I worked with you in the technical work group towards strengthening PEMSEA structurally for greater service. Congratulations!