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PEMSEA Staff Pay Tribute to Dr. Chua Thia-Eng

Quezon City, Philippines — After more than 13 years of service as Regional Programme Director of PEMSEA, Dr. Chua Thia-Eng officially retires on 31 December 2007.As a special tribute to and celebration of his inspiring leadership and contribution to the East Asian Seas region, staff of the Regional Programme Office presented a brass sculpture of a fisher to Dr. Chua, who has served not only as a manager, but as a teacher and mentor to all those associated with the project. Indeed, it is difficult to envision PEMSEA without Dr. Chua. In his message to staff, however, Dr. Chua stated that he is confident that PEMSEA has established a strong foundation that will enable its continuous growth and success. He is also optimistic that whoever will be the PEMSEA Resource Facility (PRF) Executive Director will bring PEMSEA to a higher level of service to the region. Under his leadership, PEMSEA has progressed in a number of areas, including: the successful establishment and operation of integrated coastal management (ICM) demonstration and parallel sites in various countries of the region; the establishment of the PEMSEA Network of Local Governments; the creation of the Sustainable Development Strategy for the Seas of East Asia (SDS-SEA) as the region's blueprint for coastal and ocean management; the adoption of the SDS-SEA with the signing of the Putrajaya Declaration by 12 State members; and the transformation of PEMSEA from a project-oriented entity into a regional collaborative mechanism for the implementation of the SDS-SEA with the signing of the Haikou Partnership Agreement by 11 Country Partners and the Partnership Operating Arrangements by 15 non-Country Partners. During his career, Dr. Chua has authored more than 200 papers, articles and a number of books on coastal and ocean management. His recent publication entitled The Dynamics of Integrated Coastal Management is considered one of the key resource materials for academicians, coastal managers and policymakers.Prior to becoming PEMSEA's RPD, Dr. Chua has served various academic institutions — University of Singapore, Science University of Malaysia and the University of the Philippines. He has also played significant roles in various international and UN organizations by managing regional projects under the GEF, UNDP, IMO, FAO, USAID, ICLARM and NACA, and was the founder of the Asian Fisheries Society (AFS) and Malaysia Society of Marine Sciences. A recipient of several awards from societies and government for his dedicated service to the East Asian Region, Dr. Chua continues to be a member of the Research Council of the Ocean Policy Research Foundation (OPRF) of Japan and associate editor of the Journal of Ocean and Coastal Management. While Dr. Chua exits as the RPD of PEMSEA, his service to PEMSEA and the region continues, being the elected Chair of the East Asian Seas Partnership Council. Again, from all PEMSEA staff, we wish Dr. Chua all the best in his much deserved retirement.