MANILA, PHILIPPINES—From its humble beginnings as a marine pollution demonstration project in 1993 to its current status as a leading international organization promoting the sustainable development of the East Asian Seas region’s oceans and coasts, PEMSEA (Partnerships in Environmental Management for the Seas of East Asia) is celebrating its 25th year, which will culminate at the 2018 East Asian Seas (EAS) Congress scheduled on November 27-30, in the Philippines.
In line with PEMSEA’s core principles, the EAS Congress 2018 is designed to showcase and celebrate collaborative initiatives at the local, national, regional and international level. In particular, the Congress seeks to mark 25 years of partnership, learning, innovation and transformational change, featuring initiatives from among PEMSEA Country and Non-Country partners and various collaborators, whose efforts have contributed a wealth of knowledge and experience towards delivering strategic solutions to the needs of the region, as well as to scaling up sustainable development and integrated coastal management (ICM) initiatives.
“The EAS Congress 2018 marks an important milestone for the entire East Asian region and the partners who make up PEMSEA. Building on our 25 years of experience and through the EAS Congress 2018, we aim to usher in concrete and impactful regional actions that are strategically aligned with the key principles and targets of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), particularly the global ocean agenda,” said Aimee Gonzales, PEMSEA Executive Director.
The coastal city of Xiamen was one of PEMSEA's early pilot sites.
When PEMSEA’s first phase was launched in 1993, ICM pilot sites were set up in Xiamen, PR China and Batangas Bay, Philippines. The pilot project, covering around 286 kilometers of coastline, was primarily aimed at preventing and managing marine pollution. Twenty-five years later, PEMSEA’s geographical and functional scope has expanded significantly, covering coastal and ocean governance and specialized issue areas such as habitat protection and restoration, climate change and disaster risk reduction, water use, pollution reduction, sustainable livelihoods and blue economy. In terms of ICM coverage, PEMSEA now implements ICM initiatives in dozens of sites across East Asia, covering more than 40,000 kilometers of coastline and benefitting tens of millions of people living in coastal and watershed areas.
A number of these best practices, lessons learned and innovations in coastal and ocean development will be showcased at the EAS Congress 2018 through various partner-led sessions and keynote presentations from eminent experts from within and outside the East Asian seas region.
The 2018 EAS Congress is hosted by the Government of the Philippines, with support from the Global Environment Facility (GEF) and United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
Through the ICM program, Xiamen stakeholders have successfully developed a coordinating mechanism for coastal and marine management, established a legislation framework, implemented functional sea-use zonation and strengthened integrated enforcement for marine management.