ILOILO CITY, PHILIPPINES—Ministers and senior government officials from 11 countries in the East Asian Seas region arrived at the 2018 East Asian Seas (EAS) Congress to attend the closing ceremony of the international conference, hearing the final conclusions and recommendations delivered during the various sessions of the 3-day event. A key highlight was the signing of the Ministerial Declaration on “East Asian Region Moving as One to Secure Healthy Oceans, People and Economies.”
The officials signed the Ministerial Declaration during the 6th Ministerial Forum, a triennial event that serves as an opportunity for concerned government ministers of the region to meet and engage in policy dialogue. The Ministerial Forum provides direction pertaining to key concerns for regional cooperation and the fulfilment of their international commitments related to sustainable development.
The 2018 Ministerial Declaration outlines the following commitments towards a sustainable future:
• Pursue achievement of 25% coverage of the region’s coastline under ICM (integrated coastal management)
• Adopt and implement ICM national laws and policies
• Regular updating of the State of Oceans and Coasts (SOC) reports for monitoring
• Commit to support PEMSEA’s operations
• Develop blue economy investments
• Reduce or prevent marine pollution
• Implement policies and programs on sustainable coastal tourism
• Continuously align strategies with UN SDGs, Aichi Biodiversity Targets, UNFCCC (United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change) Paris Agreement
The 2018 Ministerial Declaration reaffirms commitments previously made in previous Ministerial Forums such as: (Putrajaya, Malaysia 2003) working towards sustainable development of the region’s coasts and oceans under the Sustainable Development Strategy for the Seas of East Asia (SDS-SEA); (Manila Declaration 2009) strengthening the implementation of ICM for sustainable development and climate change adaptation; (Changwon Declaration 2012) on moving towards an ocean-based blue economy and the (Da Nang Compact 2015) on aligning the region’s strategies in the SDS-SEA with global goals and targets.
The Ministerial Forum also saw the presentation of the Regional and National State of Oceans and Coasts Reports. The reports recognize the efforts made by countries at the regional and national levels with their blue economy initiatives, as well as lessons learned. The reports are expected to be useful for countries in their development planning.
For more information on the 2018 EAS Congress, visit: http://eascongress2018.pemsea.org/