Makati, Philippines – From July 24 to 26, 2017, PEMSEA Country and Non-Country Partners convened for the 9th East Asian Seas Partnership Council, which tackled a number of policy matters that centered on three key messages: Collaboration, Sustainability, and Alignment with the Global Oceans Agenda.
In support of the East Asian Seas region’s post-2015 commitments, the 9th Partnership Council reviewed the draft Implementation Plan for the Sustainable Development Strategy for the Seas of East Asia (SDS-SEA) for 2017-2022. The Plan serves as the region’s main reference in the next five years and is envisioned to facilitate collaborative planning and assessments, as well as provide a roadmap toward achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and other international and regional commitments. Key components of the Plan, particularly capacity building or knowledge management and targeted research, were further highlighted during the collaborative discussions to identify initiatives for joint planning and action for 2017 and 2018 among Council members and other regional organizations.
Parallel to this initiative, the PC also looked into the progress and further actions needed pertaining to the development of ICM Professional Certification, and the regional and national State of Oceans and Coasts (SOC) reports focusing on Blue Economy.
The final Third-Party Assessment Report on PEMSEA’s Sustainability was well received, noting its useful findings and recommendations, including: PEMSEA’s financial self-sustainability; the value placed by countries and partners on PEMSEA and the ways and means of enhancing PEMSEA services to Country and Non-Country Partners in the future. In relation to this, the Council supported the development of a project to design and initiate an Ocean Investment Facility as a sustainable financing mechanism to accelerate SDS-SEA implementation.
All these initiatives are deemed crucial to ensure that the achievements and momentum gained in the implementation of the SDS-SEA are sustained and further enhanced for the benefit of the region.
As the region prepares for the East Asian Seas Congress 2018 and PEMSEA’s 25th Anniversary, the 9th PC urged all PEMSEA Partners and collaborators to work hand in hand in ensuring that all these ongoing initiatives are incorporated into the programming for the EAS Congress 2018. Building on the success of the 1st UN Oceans Conference held in June 2017 and the increasing global attention on oceans, the Partnership Council considered that the EAS Congress 2018 is the region’s key milestone event and that conscious effort be made to ensure that SDS-SEA implementation is well aligned and contributing to achieving the global ocean agenda.
The Meeting was co-hosted by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) of the Philippines. The Country Partners consisted of Cambodia, China, Indonesia, Japan, Lao PDR, Philippines, RO Korea, Singapore, Timor Leste, and Vietnam; while Thailand participated as an observer. The Non-Country Partners that were represented are ASEAN Centre for Biodiversity (ACB), Conservation International (CI) Philippines, IPIECA The Global Oil and Gas Industry Association for Environmental and Social Issues, International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), Korea Marine Environment Management Corporation (KOEM), Ocean Policy Research Institute Sasakawa Peace Foundation (OPRI, SPF), Oil Spill Response Limited (OSRL), Plymouth Marine Laboratory (PML), and UNDP/GEF Yellow Sea Project. Representatives from PEMSEA’s new Non-Country Partner, Marine Biodiversity Institute of Korea (MABIK) were also present. Representatives from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) participated as observers.
The entire proceedings of the 9th EAS Partnerships Council will be available online.