Guangzhou, PR China — Bringing together regional experts in marine biodiversity conservation and fisheries management, the Sustainable Ocean Initiative (SOI) Capacity-building Workshop for South, East and Southeast Asia was held last 9–13 December 2013.
Over 90 representatives from international organizations, national and local government and nongovernmental organizations participated in the workshop, which aimed to showcase regional experiences on the conservation and sustainable use of marine and coastal biodiversity. The workshop was convened by the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) Secretariat, in collaboration with the Ministry of Environmental Protection of PR China, PEMSEA, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and other relevant international organizations and initiatives.
Participants of the five-day workshop shared regional, national and local-level efforts toward achieving the Aichi Biodiversity Targets on marine and coastal biodiversity. Among the key tools and approaches highlighted in the workshop include integrated coastal management (ICM), ecosystem approach fishery management (EAFM) and the establishment of ecologically and biologically significant marine areas (EBSAs).
Dr. Chua Thia-Eng, East Asian Seas Partnership Council Chair Emeritus, was among the key presenters and heralded PEMSEA's rich experience in the region for the last two decades. He emphasized the integral role of local governments and communities in achieving the Aichi targets through effective ICM implementation. Dr. Chua also highlighted how PEMSEA and its Partners set forth an operational mechanism addressing regional ocean and coastal management concerns through effective governance, dynamic partnerships, sustainable financing and strengthened institutional capacities.
Mr. Pan Shijian, Vice Mayor of the Xiamen Municipal Government, PR China, and Secretary-General of the PEMSEA Network of Local Governments for Sustainable Coastal Development (PNLG), also shared how working with international organizations, such as PEMSEA, has enabled Xiamen to carry out initiatives on sustainable coastal development, including the effective implementation of ICM programs. Mr. Pan credits Xiamen's success on the following: (a) establishment of a legal framework; (b) centralized coordination by the government; (c) strong scientific support and science-based decisionmaking; (d) joint law enforcement; and (e) active public participation and international cooperation.
Mr. Guo Yinfeng, Programme Specialist of the PEMSEA Resource Facility, highlighted PEMSEA's experiences in implementing ICM in the region and how it aligns with CBD's LifeWeb Initiative. He also presented the Sustainable Development Strategy for the Seas of East Asia (SDS-SEA) Implementation Plan for 2012–2016 as a comprehensive framework in achieving the Aichi targets. Mr. Guo also discussed current collaborative initiatives under development, with an emphasis on the project, “Achieving Aichi Targets through Integrated Coastal Management,” a joint effort with the ASEAN Centre for Biodiversity (ACB).
The SOI is a global platform that aims to build partnerships and enhance capacity in achieving the Aichi targets related to marine and coastal biodiversity. The CBD Secretariat currently coordinates its implementation with funding support from the Japan Biodiversity Fund and the French Marine Protected Areas Agency (Agence des aires marines protégées).