Monday, 15 November 2021



“The PEMSEA Story” chronicles 28 years of collaborative ocean governance in the Seas of East Asia. (Photo Credit: PEMSEA/John Castillo)


A new publication produced by the Global Environment Facility (GEF), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and Partnerships in Environmental Management for the Seas of East Asia (PEMSEA) is set to be launched on December 1 as one of the key outputs of the 2021 East Asian Seas (EAS) Congress. Titled “Sea Change: The PEMSEA Story,” the coffee table book chronicles 28 years of collaboration for the Seas of East Asia and highlights the growth and development of PEMSEA from its initial work on water pollution, to its current role as a regional coordinating mechanism for the implementation of the Sustainable Development Strategy for the Seas of East Asia (SDS-SEA).


“As PEMSEA celebrates its 28th year of existence, we at UNDP are proud to be part of a dynamic organization supporting more than 30 percent of the world’s coral reefs and 80 percent of global aquaculture. We share PEMSEA’s conviction that the East Asian region’s billion-strong population, especially its poorest and most vulnerable, deserves more inclusive development, including via the blue economy,” Ms. Kanni Wignaraja Assistant Secretary General and Director of the Regional Bureau for Asia and the Pacific of UNDP, wrote in the book’s Foreword. “As the world strives to build back better beyond the COVID-19 pandemic, the 14 countries in the East Asian Seas region can look to PEMSEA to support a green recovery by harnessing more innovative ways to sustainably co-manage the coastal and marine resources of the region,” she added.


Mr. Arief Yuwono, Chair of the East Asian Seas Partnership Council of PEMSEA, remarked that “This book provides an updated narrative on why strategic partnerships and integrated management solutions are important elements in establishing a regional partnership mechanism to manage large marine ecosystems. It focuses on the successes and lessons learned from PEMSEA’s experience at the local, national and regional levels to protect, manage and restore coasts and ocean, aligned with international agreements and targets such the UN SDGs, the Aichi Biodiversity Agreement, the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, among others.”


Mr. Yuwono also acknowledged PEMSEA’s partners, saying “We are grateful for the continued support of the Global Environment Facility (GEF), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the International Maritime Organization (IMO), country partners, non-country partners, local governments, learning centers, youth network and many other collaborating organizations and institutions to implement and institutionalize the programs and actions agreed in the SDS-SEA through the years.”




Integrated management solutions and strategic partnerships remain crucial for tackling the region’s ocean challenges. The PEMSEA Story shows how such partnerships have grown, and how they will continue to do so in the coming years. The book includes the reflections of some of the men and women who helped transform PEMSEA, and likewise drew from key historical documents written by the staff of the PEMSEA Resource Facility (PRF) through the years.


Among the key stories featured in the book include:


  • Initial pollution development projects, including the successful implementation of integrated coastal management (ICM) in Xiamen, China;
  • The development and scaling up of the SDS-SEA;
  • PEMSEA’s transformation into a regional partnership with a distinct legal personality;
  • The expansion and development of ICM into a versatile, widely adapted system;
  • The creation of the State of Ocean and Coasts (SOC) monitoring and reporting mechanism, a tool that allows for the assessment of coastal systems;
  • The creation and development of PEMSEA’s network of partners, including the PEMSEA Network of Local Governments (PNLG) and the PEMSEA Network of Learning Centers (PNLC);
  • Lessons in building an ocean-based economy; and
  • A look into PEMSEA’s future in the wake of uncertainties and opportunities brought about by the global pandemic.
    The PEMSEA Story will be formally launched during the 2021 EAS Congress Partnership Night, a homecoming segment of the Congress that will feature former and current partners, staff, sponsors, collaborators and stakeholders of PEMSEA. Hosted by the Royal Government of Cambodia, the 2021 EAS Congress will be held virtually and onsite in Cambodia on December 1 and 2.


A copy of The PEMSEA Story will be available for download starting December 1, 2021 at


For more information on the 2021 EAS Congress, visit



(Ms) Reggie U. Olalia
PEMSEA Communications Specialist
(63-2) 0917-9028121


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