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The Philippines Gears Up for the East Asian Seas Congress

Last modified April 30, 2009

The Government of the Philippines will host the East Asian Seas (EAS) Congress 2009, to be held on 23-27 November at the Philippine International Convention Center in Manila. Co-organized by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and PEMSEA with support from the Global Environment Facility (GEF), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Coastal Management Center, the Congress carries the theme "Partnerships in Action: Local Implementation and Good Practices," emphasizing on-the-ground actions and innovations that contribute significantly in the achievement and meeting of regional and global environmental commitments.

The six major workshop themes of the International Conference will touch on various issues, good practices and local initiatives/implementation of coastal and ocean management. Each theme will address essential aspects of sustainable coastal and ocean development and the interrelated social, economic and environmental challenges being faced by governments, the private sector and communities alike. These include: a) Coastal and Ocean Governance; b) Natural and Man-made Hazard Prevention and Management; c) Habitat Protection, Restoration and Management; d) Water Use and Supply Management; e) Food Security and Livelihood Management; and f) Pollution Reduction and Waste Management.

The EAS Congress 2009 will also feature the Ministerial Forum on Application of Integrated Coastal Management (ICM) for Climate Change Adaptation, the PEMSEA Network of Local Governments (PNLG), the 2nd EAS Youth Forum on Youth, Oceans and Climate Change, and the "SEAnergies" exhibition on innovative technologies and good practices.

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"The Philippines' hosting of the EAS Congress will be a venue for the country to demonstrate the actions taken in response to various regional and global environmental instruments and targets. We have many good examples that showcase initiatives and achievements in coastal and ocean management, including the integrated coastal management sites in Bataan, Batangas, Cavite and Guimaras which demonstrate local government implementation of Executive Order 533, our national policy on sustainable development of the country's coastal and marine environment and resources." states Philippine Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Secretary Jose L. Atienza, Jr.

"The sharing of knowledge and lessons learned from various governments on how they are tackling the pressing environmental issues in the region is truly the highlight of the Congress. Equally important is the Youth Forum where young people in the region can learn more about the marine and coastal areas, including climate change. We all know that these are urgent issues that many people care about but the youth have the most at stake," adds PEMSEA Executive Director Raphael P.M. Lotilla.

The EAS Congress convenes every three years to review and present to the region the results and impacts towards achieving sustainable development in the region. In 2003, the Congress witnessed the signing of the Putrajaya Declaration by the 12 Ministers from the region, which endorsed the Sustainable Development Strategy for the Seas of East Asia (SDS-SEA), the region’s common platform for capacity building, strategic action and cooperation in managing the ocean and coastal resources of the region. In 2006, the region took a bolder step through the signing of the Haikou Partnership Agreement and Partnership Operating Arrangements which provide for both governments and nongovernmental organizations to stand as Partners and serve as complements of each other in the implementation of the SDS-SEA. In November, the EAS Congress 2009 will highlight the initiatives and good practices at the local level covering various areas of coastal and ocean management.

Key national government agencies join the DENR as part of the National Organizing Committee (NOC). These include Foreign Affairs, Tourism, Budget and Management, Interior and Local Government, Office of the President, Customs, Metro Manila Development Authority, Manila International Airport and the Philippine Information Agency.

Coastal and economic managers, national and local government officials, policymakers, scientists and representatives from local and international NGOs, the private sector, the academe, and youth representatives throughout East Asia as well as other regions of the world are expected to attend the East Asian Seas (EAS) Congress and share knowledge and engage in dynamic discussions regarding trends, issues and future actions related to coastal and ocean governance.

For more information on the EAS Congress, contact the Secretariat at congress@pemsea.org or visit www.pemsea.org/eascongress.