Tagaytay City, Philippines — The ASEAN Centre for Biodiversity (ACB) and PEMSEA signed a Letter of Cooperation (LOC) on 13 August in Tagaytay City, Philippines, to formalize their partnership in promoting the conservation and sustainable use of coastal and marine biodiversity and resources in the Seas of East Asia."Joining hands with PEMSEA on this endeavor is an important activity of the Centre as the partnership is in line with our goal of working with various groups and sectors to promote biodiversity conservation in the ASEAN region," Mr. Rodrigo U. Fuentes, Executive Director of the European Union-assisted ACB, said."The rich biodiversity that exists in the Seas of East Asia is far too valuable to be ignored. The partnership with ACB opens new doors for collaboration and for the sharing of expertise and experiences in attaining our shared vision of achieving sustainable development of coastal and marine resources," said Prof. Raphael P.M. Lotilla, Executive Director of PEMSEA.ACB is an intergovernmental regional centre of excellence which works on policy formulation, capacity development, and awareness-raising, for the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity.The two international organizations participate in joint or complementary capacity development initiatives and other events related to the sustainable development and conservation of marine and coastal biodiversity resources and areas."We will also explore opportunities to strengthen regional cooperation in implementing an integrated approach to biodiversity conservation using regional and global multilateral environment agreements as frameworks and platforms for multi-sectoral cooperation; and continuously support common advocacy efforts within the bounds of PEMSEA's and ACB's mandates," Fuentes said.Information exchange is another area of collaboration between ACB and PEMSEA. They will establish and maintain an information exchange and awareness campaign that will promote their respective mandates and activities. An initial activity is co-publishing an issue of Tropical Coasts Magazine focusing on Food Security."ACB will also co-convene a workshop on Marine Protected Areas at the East Asian Seas (EAS) Congress 2009 to be held on 23 to 27 November 2009 in Manila," Prof. Lotilla said.Set to benefit from the partnership are the millions of people in the ASEAN region who depend on coastal and marine resources for food, livelihood, and other services.For more information on ACB and PEMSEA, log on to www.aseanbiodiversity.org and www.pemsea.org.