MANILA, PHILIPPINES - The PEMSEA Network of Learning Centers (PNLC) recently held a virtual meeting to discuss its accomplishments over the last five years and ways to evolve and strengthen the PNLC as a regional learning network in light of the global pandemic and emerging opportunities. The meeting also aimed to solicit inputs on the draft PNLC Charter that will formalize the institution and sustain and build on its operations.
The PNLC was established as a forum for information exchange, networking, and sharing of expertise, experience and techniques in Integrated Coastal Management (ICM) across countries in the East Asian Seas region. It is also a valuable technical support mechanism for the implementation of the Sustainable Development Strategy for the Seas of East Asia (SDS-SEA).
Officially launched in November 2015, the PNLC is comprised of professionals and scientific experts from several universities and scientific institutes that include PEMSEA’s Regional Centers of Excellence (RCOE) and ICM Learning Centers. Currently, the network has 19 members (16 ICM Learning Centers and 3 RCOEs) from nine countries in Asia.
The PNLC is now working on a Charter that will specify the network’s ground rules on membership; identify joint activities and outputs amongst its members; and explore options for sustainability and funding support such as through voluntary member contributions or joint fundraising initiatives.
“It has been such a privilege to be able to connect to local governments, communities and ICM practitioners with the support of local and international expertise. PNLC has provided excellent opportunities to harmonize scientific tools and methodologies relevant to ICM across the region,” said Dr. Wansuk Senanan, PNLC Chair and Associate Professor, Department of Aquatic Sciences, Burapha University (BUU) in Thailand.
“PNLC will continue to be a platform for collaboration to research, develop, and apply locally relevant innovative management tools and methodologies. The recently proposed PNLC charter will serve as a first step towards formalizing and solidifying the network,” Dr. Senanan added.
Emerging opportunities and accomplishments
Opportunities to expand the network’s role in the region will come from participating in a list of current and upcoming high- profile initiatives such as the United Nations (UN) Decade of Ocean Science, the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and the East Asian Seas (EAS) Congress 2021.
In the last five years, however, its accomplishments already include the following:
- Provision of technical and training services and expert advice to national and local governments supporting the implementation of coastal management programs and projects;
- Facilitation of knowledge transfer and sharing at the regional, national, and local levels; and
- Provision of opportunities for collaboration and networking between academic institutions.