Partnerships in Environmental Management for the Seas of East Asia (PEMSEA) recently held a virtual signing ceremony that formalized the entry of the Institute for Global Environmental Studies (IGES) in Japan and the Coastal and Ocean Marine Institute (COMI) based in Xiamen University as its new regional centers of excellence; and the formal acceptance of the Norwegian Institute for Water Research (NIVA) as a non-country partner.
“The strength of PEMSEA lies in partnerships—Country Partners and Non-Country Partners all working together towards the health of our shared East Asian seas. Partnerships enable PEMSEA to address a broad range of priority issues, coordinating and applying resources, skills and expertise for the effective implementation of the Sustainable Development Strategy for the Seas of East Asia (SDS-SEA),” said Mr. Arief Yuwono, East Asian Seas (EAS) Partnership Council Chair.
New Regional Centers of Excellence
In 2008, the EAS Partnership Council approved the concept and designation process for PEMSEA’s Regional Centers of Excellence (RCOE) Program, which provides the organization with a partner that has achieved internationally-recognized scientific excellence, and with competencies that add value to SDS-SEA implementation through capacity building, cutting-edge research and technical assistance.
In 2019, IGES was chosen as PEMSEA’s third RCOE, focusing on Climate Change Adaptation and Disaster Risk Reduction. Established in 1998, IGES is a global environmental policy development and strategic research institute that reflects research results into political decision-making for a more sustainable society in the Asia-Pacific region and globally.
“IGES is truly honored to be designated as PEMSEA's Regional Center of Excellence in Climate Change Adaptation and Disaster Risk Reduction,” said Prof. Kazuhiko Takeuchi, IGES President.
“One of our projects aims at integrating adaptation and disaster measures into the land use plan around Laguna Lake in the Philippines. Other projects include working on building capacity in ASEAN countries,” said Prof. Takeuchi. “Based on these achievements, I am certain that IGES can play a crucial role as PEMSEA's Regional Centre of Excellence,” he added.
In 2020, the EAS Partnership Council approved the application COMI as an RCOE in Sustainable Coastal Development. COMI was established as a research organization of Xiamen University in October 2005. It is dedicated to initiate interdisciplinary research and higher education of ocean and coastal sustainable development science, with the support of relevant international organizations including the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), PEMSEA, and Xiamen Municipality.
“COMI has a long-term cooperation relationship with PEMSEA since its establishment, and we are looking forward to our future collaborations on the PEMSEA Regional Center of Excellence program,” said Prof. Qingshun Quinn Li, COMI Director. “We believe that working with PEMSEA through this program will make it possible for COMI to share our knowledge and expertise in sustainable coastal development, and contribute to the region’s sustainable development strategy.”
New Non-Country Partner
The Norwegian Institute for Water Research (NIVA) joins PEMSEA as its 23rd Non-Country Partner following the approval of NIVA’s application during the PEMSEA Partnership Council Meeting last July 2020. NIVA is Norway’s leading institute for fundamental and applied research on marine and freshwaters. Its research comprises a wide array of environmental, climate and resource-related fields.
“It is a great honour to sign the agreement for NIVA becoming a PEMSEA non-country partner. I’m looking forward to a good, long term collaboration,” said Dr. Thorjørn Larssen, Research Director of NIVA. “I wish for a long term, mutually beneficial collaboration that contributes to reaching the goals and objectives of both parties, and through this, contributing to healthy rivers, lakes, coasts and oceans.”
Dr. Larssen added that NIVA has already established its project collaboration with PEMSEA through the ASEANO project, which stands for ASEAN-Norwegian cooperation project on local capacity building for reducing plastic pollution in the ASEAN region. “In this ASEAN-wide project, we carry out case studies related to plastic waste and plastic pollution in several countries. PEMSEA is leading the project activities in the Philippines,” Dr. Larssen said.
For the ASEANO project, PEMSEA, NIVA and partners will provide technical and capacity building support to local governments in the province of Cavite on enhancing the local implementation of solid waste management to include good practices in plastic pollution policy reduction measures; and enforcement as well as innovative technologies.
PEMSEA Executive Director Ms. Aimee Gonzales led the online signing of the agreements, welcomed the new members of the PEMSEA family, and said she looked forward to productive and meaningful collaboration to produce more local solutions with global impacts.
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