Washington, DC, USA — In recognition of the role of the Global Environment Facility (GEF) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) as organizations that were instrumental to its success, PEMSEA attended the recent GEF Council Meeting last 5 November 2013 to present its achievements in the East Asian Seas region for the past 20 years.
The 45th GEF Council Meeting was a great opportunity for PEMSEA to promote its efforts in the region to a broader audience comprised of GEF country representatives from different parts of the world. At the Meeting, Stephen Adrian Ross, PEMSEA Acting Executive Director and Chief Technical Officer, shared a 15-minute presentation on the evolution of PEMSEA from a marine pollution demonstration project in 1993 into an independent and self-sustaining regional organization focused on coastal management and ocean governance. He provided an overview of PEMSEA's partnership approach in promoting regional cooperation and ownership in developing ocean policy and legislation, scaling up integrated coastal management (ICM) to cover 12 percent of the regions’ coastline, and addressing sectoral (i.e., pollution reduction, sustainable fisheries, biodiversity conservation) and cross-cutting (i.e., climate change adaptation, ocean-based blue economy) sustainable development issues.
Following Mr. Ross' presentation, copies of PEMSEA's anniversary publication, Perspectives on Building a Regional Mechanism for Coastal and Ocean Governance in the Seas of East Asia, were presented to the GEF CEO, Dr. Naoka Ishii, and the Deputy Executive Director of the GEF-UNDP International Waters (IW) Program, Ms. Adriana Dinu. The book showcases the experiences of leaders and champions from PEMSEA, partner international organizations, academia and the private sector who all have played a vital role in PEMSEA's evolution in the last two decades. Perspectives also puts forward the directions and future prospects of PEMSEA as it transforms into a full-fledged and self-sustaining international organization dedicated to coastal management and ocean governance.
"We hope that this publication not only provides the reader with perspectives on why and how PEMSEA has evolved, but more importantly, with inspiration and commitment to adopt, adapt or replicate the good practices and lessons learned from the PEMSEA experience in other countries and regional sea areas," Mr. Ross said during the launch.
Dr. Ishii congratulated PEMSEA and its Country and Non-Country Partners for their impressive progress in addressing the many challenges to sustainable development of coastal and marine resources in the East Asian Seas and wished the organization more success as it enters its next project phase.
Ms. Dinu commented that PEMSEA, one of the longest-running GEF programmes in international waters, is indeed unique among the many initiatives funded and supported by the GEF and UNDP, and that there are many lessons and good practices to be shared with other GEF programs in other regions that are also focused on strengthening coastal and ocean governance and management programs.
Mr. Ross confirmed PEMSEA's interest to explore opportunities in sharing good practices and experiences in ICM and coastal and ocean governance and to work with the GEF and UNDP in this continuing effort.