Aimee T. Gonzales and four PEMSEA country representatives shared information about the EAS Congress 2018 with Mr. Peter Thomson, Mr. Kristian Teleki, and the GEF officials
PEMSEA has a strong relationship with the Global Environment Facility (GEF), which together with UNDP has provided generous support for PEMSEA since its beginning and shares a common vision of a sustainable future for the East Asian seas. We are proud to be taking part in the 6th GEF Assembly in Da Nang, Viet Nam. The GEF Assembly is the governing body of the GEF and meets every four years.
As part of this assembly PEMSEA assisted the Vietnam Administration of Seas and Islands (VASI) in hosting a workshop on “Current developments, strategic direction and support for sustainable development of Vietnam’s coasts”. This workshop covered two projects PEMSEA is partnering on with VASI, UNDP, and the GEF to complete. One is the framework program “Reducing pollution and rebuilding degraded marine resources in the East Asian Seas through Implementation of intergovernmental agreements and catalyzed investments”, which involves 8 PEMSEA country partners including Viet Nam through VASI. The second is the “Scaling up the implementation of the Sustainable Development Strategy for the Seas of East Asia in Viet Nam (2015-2019) project”, which aims to rehabilitate and sustain coastal and marine ecosystem services and build a sustainable coastal and ocean-based economy by assisting Viet Nam’s national ICM strategy. Contents of this workshop included priorities and targets of the SDS-SEA project, institutional and legislative support for the project, scientific support for ICM, and knowledge management and dissemination.
An important topic of discussion during the Assembly was that of marine plastics. PEMSEA and its partner countries used the conference to discuss ways to tackle this transboundary issue. Discussions on regional action to tackle plastic pollution were held with UN Special Envoy for the Ocean Mr. Peter Thomson, World Resources Institute/Friend of the Ocean’s Mr. Kristian Teleki, and officials of the GEF, among others. Solving this problem is now seen as critical for success in reaching the aims of SDG 14: Life Below Water.
Aimee T. Gonzales speaking at the “Marine Plastic Debris Management” side event
Plastics were also the focus in the side event “Marine Plastic Debris Management”, in which PEMSEA’s Executive Director Aimee T. Gonzales served as a panelist. Ms. Gonzales stated that “Population growth and economic growth are rapidly outpacing development of waste management infrastructure in the Southeast Asian region. We need international collaboration on science, law enforcement, community engagement, and most importantly blended financing to tackle marine pollution challenges in the region.”