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Successful First Meeting of Executive Committee Chairs

Quezon City, Philippines — The First Executive Committee (EC) Meeting of the PEMSEA regional mechanism was held at the new PEMSEA Office in Quezon City, Philippines, on 14-15 September..Mr. Hiroshi Terashima, Technical Session Chair for the EAS Partnership Council served as the Acting Chair of the Meeting. Among the priority issues discussed during the gathering were: a) The Global Environment Facility's approval of the new project on Implementation of the Sustainable Development Strategy for the Seas of East Asia (SDS-SEA); b) recruitment of the Executive Director, and c) PEMSEA's legal personality.The PRF has been experiencing delay in the GEF's approval and endorsement of the Project Document. While the current project's funding would be able to cover the operations of the existing project until December 2007, further delays will significantly affect the project operations. Dr. Anna Tengberg, Regional Technical Advisor of the UNDP Regional Centre in Bangkok, has agreed to facilitate the immediate approval and endorsement of the GEF/UNDP Project Document by the GEF.With regard to the recruitment of a new Executive Director, it was agreed that the EC be involved or consulted in the process of recruitment or selection of the PRF Executive Director. In view of various commitments from October to December 2007 and the possible delay in the appointment of the Executive Director as the PRF awaits the approval of the Project Document, Dr. Chua, outgoing Regional Programme Director and Interim Executive Director, sought the agreement of the EC to assign Mr. Adrian Ross as the Acting Regional Programme Director and Interim Executive Director for the said period. Mr. Ross having efficiently served PEMSEA and its pilot phase over the past 12 years was identified as the most suitable person to lead PEMSEA during this critical period.As for PEMSEA's legal personality, the purpose of the discussion was to gather inputs on the need to establish the legal personality of PEMSEA. Key persons who lent their expertise during this special session of the EC were Prof. Merlin Magallona, University of the Philippines College of Law; Dr. Wilfrido Villacorta, Asian Institute of Management; Dr. Tony La Viña, Ateneo School of Government; Mr. Woo Dong-Sik, Ministry of Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, RO Korea; Dr. Tengberg; Mr. Kyo Naka, UNDP Manila; Ms. Amelia Dulce Supetran, UNDP Manila; Ms. Clarissa Arida, UNDP Manila; and Assistant Secretary Analiza Rebuelta-Teh, Department of Environment and Natural Resources, Philippines. Several options were reviewed and evaluated within and outside of the UN framework. Hence, it was agreed by the discussants that the PRF create a Task Force or Working Group of policy and legal experts to develop a work plan for the PEMSEA Transformation phase and the establishment of PEMSEA's legal personality.