Tokyo, Japan — The Centre for Marine Environmental Research and Innovative Technology (MERIT) in Hong Kong has been designated as a PEMSEA Regional Center of Excellence (RCoE) in Marine Pollution. The recognition was achieved following presentation of the results of an expert review to the 2nd East Asian Seas Partnership Council in July, in Tokyo, Japan.PEMSEA's RCoE Program aims to mobilize existing areas or centers of excellence as regional partners in local, national and regional capacity building to meet the technical and capacity building needs of PEMSEA's Country and non-Country partners, local governments, and other collaborating stakeholders. The RCoE Program aims to enhance the mechanism for linking the stakeholders' technical needs with the available expertise in the region.MERIT is an Area of Excellence in Hong Kong, with a task to undertake the development and application of innovative chemical, biological and engineering technologies for monitoring, assessing, and controlling the effects of human activities on the marine environment. It is a dynamic collaboration of scientists and researchers from six universities in Hong Kong and various universities outside the EAS region, which has gained international recognition for the development of innovative technologies that show considerable potential for widespread use by government agencies and other researchers. It is also a productive training ground for graduate students and researchers aspiring to be future environmental professionals in the forefront of technology.MERIT was selected and designated as an RCoE in Marine Pollution based on:Its excellence in marine pollution research, an important field contributing to marine and coastal governance, as demonstrated by its current recognition as an area of excellence in Hong Kong;The quality of its service and outputs, which are at par with internationally recognized counterparts;The relevance and cost-effectiveness of its work in addressing environmental concerns in the region; andRecognition by peers of its contribution to the body of knowledge in marine pollution assessment, monitoring and remediation, and its technical and organizational capability to contribute to national and regional capacity building.The designation involved a thorough process of documentation and external review facilitated by the PEMSEA Resource Facility (PRF), prior to endorsement to the EAS Partnership Council.Through the designation of MERIT as an RCoE, the Country and non-Country Partners have acknowledged the leadership of MERIT in the field of marine pollution research, the distinctive contribution of their work, and their willingness and commitment to contribute to the sustainable development of the EAS region.As an RCoE in Marine Pollution, MERIT is expected to contribute to the protection and improvement of the regional marine environment by:Providing expert views on marine pollution issues;Coordinating and undertaking studies/projects and making research results available to participating countries and institutions;Training researchers from nations of the region;Organizing or participating in regional training courses on marine pollution; andAssisting the countries concerning specific technical needs in implementing the SDS-SEA.The RCoE Program operation is based on partnership and mutual support among the PRF, the RCoE, and the concerned countries and institutions in addressing technical and capacity building needs of Partners, within the framework of the Sustainable Development Strategy for the Seas of East Asia (SDS-SEA) and within existing capacities and resources.