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About the Congress

Last modified December 01, 2009

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The East Asian Seas (EAS) Congress takes place every three years. It is a pioneering region-wide platform for knowledge sharing, capacity-building, strategic action, partnership building, and a forum for dialogues between policymakers, environmental and natural resource managers, business communities, academics, NGOs, local governments, and grassroots organizations.

The EAS Congress was created as one of the major mechanisms to monitor the progress of the Sustainable Development Strategy for the Seas of East Asia (SDS-SEA) which was adopted by the countries of East Asia as the regional blueprint for action, and to serve as a vehicle in identifying and addressing emerging issues on coastal and ocean resources and environment.

The phenomenal success of the EAS Congresses in 2003 and 2006 has established the EAS Congress as an "intellectual marketplace" and one of the major and crucial coastal and ocean-related events not only within the East Asian Seas region but in the international arena as well.

EAS Congress 2003

The concept of the EAS Congress was stimulated by the recognition that the pressing environmental problems of the Seas of East Asia and the oceans in general can only be addressed through collaboration and concerted efforts.

With this realization, the first EAS Congress was convened in December 2003 in Putrajaya, Malaysia. This Congress was organized as a response to the recommendations of the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) regarding the regional implementation of global commitments on matters related to coasts and oceans.

The EAS Congress 2003 witnessed the endorsement of the Sustainable Development Strategy for the Seas of East Asia (SDS-SEA) (7MB PDF) through the Putrajaya Declaration signed by the 12 Ministers from the region. The adoption of the SDS-SEA is a historical event as it is the very first instrument of the region that provides a common platform of action on the sustainable development and management of the East Asian Seas.

EAS Congress 2006

In 2006, the region took a bolder step with the organization of a bigger EAS Congress 2006 in Haikou City, Hainan Province, PR China, carrying the theme "One Ocean, One People, One Vision". This event introduced yet another innovation in regional collaboration on coastal and ocean governance through the signing of the Haikou Partnership Agreement by the 11 Country Partners and the Partnership Operating Arrangements of 12 non-Country Partners of PEMSEA. This Partnership Arrangement provides for both government and non-government stakeholders to stand as Partners and serve as complements of each other in the implementation of the SDS-SEA.

For more information about the EAS Congresses 2003 and 2006, click here. More information and images from IISD's coverage of the EAS Congress 2006 is available here.

EAS Congress 2009

In 2009, the EAS Congress once again convened to review and present to the region the results and impacts of the partnership arrangement and the SDS-SEA implementation, with the objective of assessing the achievements and map out future action to ensure the steady advancement of partnership initiatives in the region towards the sustainability of the Seas of East Asia.

Carrying the theme, "Partnerships at Work: Local Implementation and Good Practices" the EAS Congress 2009 highlighted the initiatives and good practices at the local level covering wide area or issues on coastal and ocean management. This Congress emphasized on-the-ground actions and innovations that contribute significantly to the achievement and meeting of regional and global environmental targets and commitments. At the same time, this Congress engaged various stakeholders from the local up to the international level in the discussions of key issues that are most critical to the local level.

The EAS Congress 2009 featured the:

A number of side events or meetings, including the Second EAS Youth Forum, Meeting of the PEMSEA Network of Local Governments and many others, organized by PEMSEA, its Partners, and collaborators were also be held during the Congress.

The Congress was hosted by the Government of the Philippines and organized by PEMSEA and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), Philippines. The East Asian Seas Congress 2009 was supported by the Global Environment Facility (GEF), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS) and the Coastal Management Center (CMC).