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Coastal and Ocean Governance

Last modified June 09, 2010

Coastal and Ocean Governance

The theme underscored the importance of coasts and oceans as life-support systems while covering central- and local- level initiatives related to the development and implementation of ocean and coastal governance and the economic contribution of marine activities in East Asia.

The series also discussed various transboundary environmental issues and ocean and coastal sciences, including scientific education and how it is utilized to improve efficiency. The series also served as a venue for the discussion of programs that adopt an ecosystem-based approach and land and sea-use zoning strategies in preventing and managing natural disasters brought about by climate change.

Coastal and Ocean Policy and Legislation: Implementation and New Initiatives

The workshop highlighted the importance of coasts and oceans and discussed the various initiatives and efforts at the central and local level in developing and implementing ocean and coastal governance. It benefited from the practical implementation, lessons learned and future actions related to coastal and ocean governance.

The workshop had three sessions. Session 1 focused on the national initiatives, both successes and failures, in developing national coastal/ocean policy, strategy and legislation. The session looked into the experiences and lessons learned in the implementation of national policies and strategies as well as sharing efforts with new initiatives. Session 2 examined how the planning and management framework of ICM could be effectively applied in an integrated manner for addressing the issues of climate change, marine pollution, biodiversity conservation, food security and freshwater resources depletion. Session 3, the Legislators’ Dialogue, provided a venue for exchange of ideas among legislators and policymakers. The heart of the dialogue was the next legislative or policy action agenda that will contribute to the enabling environment for coastal and ocean policy development and implementation as well as wider application of the ICM approach for integrated implementation of relevant international conventions.

Contributions of Marine Economic Sectors to Regional and National GDP in an Uncertain Climate

The economic contribution of marine activities is considered to be increasingly important part of the economy and international trade within and across East Asian countries. For example, China's marine economy has achieved rapid development in recent years, with the output of major marine industries surging from RMB 6 million in 1978 to RMB 1.7 trillion in 2005, and the ratio of its contribution to the country's GDP growth rising 4% (Gov.CN; May 11, 2006). In a similar vane, in March 2008, addressing the fourth International Exhibition on Shipbuilding, Marine Technology and Transportation, Vietnam's Deputy Prime Minister stated that the marine economy must account for more than 50 percent of gross domestic product by 2020.

The workshop addressed how these marine economic sectors will continue to contribute to regional and national GDPs at these levels as the impacts of climate change shape the economics of the region in the coming century. With countries forecasting further development of their marine sectors, the workshop provided answers not only on how countries will achieve their objectives, but also how they can ensure that such development will serve as an enabling vehicle for addressing mitigation and adaptation policies and strategies for global warming.

The Continental Shelf: Post-May 2009 Perspective

The session served as a venue for academic discussions and sharing of information and perspectives on country submissions on an extended continental shelf as of May 2009 and potential cooperative arrangements and opportunities in shared marine areas.


Initiatives in East Asia for Addressing Transboundary Issues through Regional and Subregional Seas Cooperation

Since 2003, a number of subregional transboundary projects on marine and coastal environmental management have been initiated or are progressing, each with a goal of developing a subregional Strategic Action Plan (SAP), and led by concerned countries, donor agencies, UN organizations, international NGOs, etc.

In reviewing these projects/programmes, the 2nd EAS Partnership Council Meeting (July 2008) noted the need for collaboration between these projects/programmes for creating synergies and sharing knowledge in order to reduce possible duplication of effort, inefficient use of resources, and limited sharing of knowledge, experience, skills and tools. The need for an effective coordination mechanism for the region among the various projects/programmes and implementing agencies/organizations was also noted by the Council.

Hence, the workshop on Addressing Transboundary issues through regional and subregional seas cooperation at the EAS Congress 2009 served as a venue to discuss various transboundary environmental issues and their implementing mechanisms, especially on governance, and identified good practices and areas of collaboration among the stakeholders involved.

The Science in Ecosystem-based Management

The East Asian Seas Region is confronted with similar if not more complex environmental management challenges as other regions around the world. It can therefore share its experiences as well as gain benefits from the scientific and management advances of other regions particularly in engaging wider participation of stakeholders in the scientific process and facilitating coastal and ocean policy and management reforms.

In response to the increasing challenges of climate change in the coastal and marine areas, both national and international efforts are gearing towards adopting holistic and ecosystem-based management approaches, which require the integration of scientific information and knowledge as well as utilizing innovative technologies in providing effective science-based management decisions. The session highlighted how the various ocean and coastal sciences, including scientific education, are utilized to improve ocean and coastal governance efficiency. It illustrated how various programs that adopt an ecosystem-based approach, which takes into account ecosystem knowledge and uncertainties, transboundary influences and balancing societal and environmental objectives, have contributed to promoting interdisciplinary research, which is essential for sustainable development of coastal seas.

Land and Sea-use Zoning: Challenges and Opportunities

The session discussed land and sea-use zoning as a strategy in preventing and managing natural disasters brought about by climate change as well as for promoting sustainable use of coastal and marine areas and resources. The session promoted a sharing of ideas and strategies on how existing zoning plans can be strengthened and effectively enforced and implemented at the local level.

This workshop provided answers to how local governments can zone for climate change, whether a land and sea-use zoning scheme can be used as a market-based instrument for managing coastal and marine areas and resources, and how local governments are effectively implementing and enforcing land and sea-use zoning schemes.

Workshop on Mainstreaming Marine and Coastal Issues into National Planning and Budgetary Processes

During the Second Intergovernmental Review of the Global Programme of Action for the Protection of the Marine Environment from Land-based Activities (GPA) held in Beijing in October 2006, governments asked the UNEP/GPA Coordination Office to provide assistance to countries in assessing how the conservation of marine and coastal ecosystems contributes to poverty alleviation and the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). The UNEP/GPA Coordination Office was also requested to support countries in mainstreaming the sustainable development of oceans and coasts into international development frameworks and national planning and budgetary processes.

In response to this call, the UNEP/GPA Coordination Office has developed an Analytical Framework, Guidelines and Checklist for the Mainstreaming of Marine and Coastal Issues into National Planning and Budgetary Processes, and organised a series of regional meetings to promote this approach. During the workshop, speakers from Asia, Africa and Wider Caribbean explored the links between the management of coastal and marine resources, poverty reduction and economic growth, based on their country experiences, with a particular focus on policy development and implementation processes. Countries that have embarked on the development of a coherent policy framework to address these challenges also shared their mainstreaming experiences.