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Bataan Gears Up for Asia-wide LGU Forum

Balanga City, Philippines — The Provincial Government of Bataan has started to prepare for its hosting of the 2009 Forum of the PEMSEA Network of Local Governments for Sustainable Coastal Development (PNLG), an association of local governments in the East Asian region implementing ICM programs. The forum will be held in November as part of the East Asian Seas (EAS) Congress 2009.The hosting of the PNLG Forum is one of the major activities lined up by the Bataan Integrated Coastal Management Project (BICMP). The organization of the forum was discussed during a workshop held on 2-3 April 2009 in Balanga City (Bataan) to refine the BICMP work program for 2009. Bataan will be closely coordinating the organization of the Forum with PEMSEA and PNLG Secretariat based in Xiamen, PR China.During the Bataan Coastal Care Foundation Fellowship held on 26 February, the Provincial Government of Bataan headed by Governor Enrique Garcia, Jr., also the incumbent PNLG vice president, announced the Province's commitment to host the said event. In particular, Bataan will host the PNLG General Assembly on 21 November and the site visit on 22 November. For the Technical Workshop, the PNLG will co-convene the workshop focusing on land- and sea-use zoning which will be conducted as part of the EAS Congress' International Conference in Manila.With its 24 member and 7 observer local governments from 9 countries across the East Asian region, including other interested groups and local government networks in the Philippines, in particular, the PNLG Forum is expected to be attended by over 100 participants. The newest ICM parallel site of PEMSEA, Thua Thien-Hue Province (Vietnam), is expected to be inducted during the General Assembly meeting bringing the membership to 25 local governments.The PNLG members meet annually to exchange information and practical experiences, as well as to discuss and identify strategies to address challenges to sustainable development that are being encountered by local governments. Since 2001, the Network has conducted seven forums covering key issues such as natural and man-made hazards prevention and management and water resources protection, utilization and management. The Province of Chonburi (Thailand) has expressed its intent to serve as host of the 2010 PNLG Forum.