EAS Congress 2006 Bulletin

 


Published by the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD)

 

Vol. 131 No. 5
Tuesday, 19 December 2006

SUMMARY OF THE EAST ASIAN SEAS CONGRESS 2006:

12-16 DECEMBER 2006

The East Asian Seas (EAS) Congress 2006 convened from 12-16 December 2006 in Haikou City, People’s Republic of China. The event, hosted by the Chinese Government and organized by the Partnerships in Environmental Management for the Seas of East Asia (PEMSEA), a regional programme supported by the Global Environment Facility, the United Nations Development Programme and the International Maritime Organization, provided a region-wide platform for dialogue, knowledge exchange, capacity building, strategic action and cooperation for the sustainable management and development of the seas of East Asia. Over 700 participants attended the Congress, representing governments, UN agencies, international organizations, non-governmental organizations, industry, academia and youth.

The Congress featured several events: the International Conference on Coastal and Ocean Governance (12-14 December), the Ministerial Forum on the implementation of the Sustainable Development Strategy for the Seas of East Asia (SDS-SEA) (14-15 December), and the Inaugural Meeting of the EAS Partnership Council (16 December). Thirty-nine thematic workshops and seminars, as well as a Youth Leaders Forum, were held during the International Conference, exploring issues ranging from ocean security to innovative financial mechanisms. The Congress culminated in the signing of the Haikou Partnership Agreement on the Implementation of the Sustainable Development Strategy for the Seas of East Asia and Operating Arrangements by 11 ministers and high-level officials from countries in the East Asian region on Friday, 15 December. The accompanying Partnership Operating Arrangements were also signed by 12 PEMSEA stakeholder partners during the EAS Partnership Council meeting. These agreements transform PEMSEA into a fully-fledged regional partnership, featuring a decision-making body, a resource facility and a financial mechanism, to advance the sustainable development of the region’s marine and coastal resources.

A BRIEF HISTORY OF COOPERATION IN THE SEAS OF EAST ASIA

The seas of East Asia cover six large marine ecosystems and their respective watershed areas, which are rich in natural resources. These ecosystems are home to an estimated 30% of the world’s coral reefs, account for over half of global fishery production and 80% of its aquaculture, and contribute up to 60% of the GDP of some countries in the region. At the same time, rapid population growth and economic development in the region are outstripping its ecosystems’ capacity to sustain current levels of productivity. As a result, environmental degradation in these seas is outpacing the setup of appropriate policies and management interventions. Moreover, economic development and poverty reduction are increasingly constrained by environmental decline, including degradation of fisheries and habitats, scarcity of safe and sustainable water supply, and air and water pollution.

UNEP REGIONAL SEAS PROGRAMME: The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) launched its Regional Seas Programme in 1974 by encouraging groups of countries sharing common seas to find regional solutions to their particular problems. The Regional Seas Programme now covers 18 regions of the world, including East Asian Seas. The Coordinating Body on the Seas of East Asia (COBSEA) steers the implementation of the East Asian Seas Action Plan, approved in 1981 and revised in 1994. The member countries of COBSEA are: Australia, Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, People’s Republic of China, the Philippines, the Republic of Korea, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam.

PEMSEA: PEMSEA was established in 1994 by countries bordering the East Asian seas in response to the need for a common vision to ensure the sustainable development of shared waters and coastal and marine resources in the East Asian region. This intergovernmental, interagency and intersectoral partnership was initially set up as a regional project of the Global Environment Facility (GEF), implemented by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and executed by the International Maritime Organization (IMO).

PEMSEA evolved as a regional project on marine pollution prevention and management under the GEF pilot phase with the participation of 11 countries in the region. Its second phase, with 12 member countries, focused on building partnerships in environmental management for the seas of East Asia. Building upon its current structure, PEMSEA is in the process of transforming itself into a longer-term regional arrangement to implement a sustainable development strategy for marine and coastal resources.

Fourteen countries are presently members of PEMSEA: Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), Indonesia, Japan, Lao People’s Democratic Republic (Lao PDR), Malaysia, the Philippines, People’s Republic of China, the Republic of Korea, Singapore, Thailand, Timor-Leste and Vietnam.

The partnership is coordinated by the Programme Steering Committee comprised of the participating governments, UNDP and IMO, with the PEMSEA Regional Programme Office, based in Manila, the Philippines, serving as Secretariat. The overall objective of the partnership is to implement SDS-SEA and advance implementation of commitments concerning oceans, seas, islands, and coastal areas contained in Agenda 21 and the Johannesburg Plan of Implementation agreed at the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD). This is being achieved through: endorsement of SDS-SEA by national governments; development, adoption and operationalization of national coastal and ocean strategies and policies; formulation and implementation of national action plans; and creation of a sustainable financing mechanism to support the implementation of these action plans, focusing on transboundary concerns at the sub-regional and regional levels.

In the course of its operation, PEMSEA has endeavored to remove critical barriers to effective environmental management such as inadequate or inappropriate policies, disparate institutional capacity and technical capabilities, and limited investment in environmental facilities and services. An integral part of this regional effort is the on-the-ground implementation of two management frameworks: an integrated coastal resources management (ICRM) framework; and a risk management framework that applies to sub-regional sea areas and human activities in marine ecosystems. PEMSEA has also carried out several ICRM demonstration projects and established sea area pollution “hotspots” management sites, which focus on building local, national and sub-regional capacities in environmental governance.

EAS CONGRESS 2003: Held from 8-12 December 2003 in Putrajaya, Malaysia, the inaugural EAS Congress brought together various stakeholders from diverse disciplines to discuss sustainable management for the seas of East Asia and foster regional partnerships, knowledge exchange and collaboration. The event was marked by the adoption of the Putrajaya Declaration of Regional Cooperation for SDS-SEA and the endorsement of SDS-SEA by ocean and environment ministers from the then 12 PEMSEA member countries. SDS-SEA represents a common platform for regional cooperation in addressing transboundary issues, and a framework for policy and programme development and implementation at the national and local levels.

GLOBAL PROCESSES: Global processes with an influence on regional seas management include: the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) that sets forth the rights and obligations of states regarding the use of the oceans, their resources, and the protection of the marine and coastal environment; the 1995 Global Programme of Action for the Protection of the Marine Environment from Land-based Activities, designed to be a source of conceptual and practical guidance to prevent, reduce, control and/or eliminate marine pollution from land-based activities; and the 2004 Tokyo Declaration on Securing the Oceans that introduced the concept of “securing the oceans” requiring that all aspects of ocean management, including military activities, the peaceful use of the oceans, resource extraction, environmental management, and scientific research be addressed in an integrated manner.

REPORT OF THE MEETING

The opening ceremony of the EAS Congress 2006 took place on Tuesday morning, 12 December. Chen Lianzeng, Deputy Administrator of China’s State Oceanic Administration (SOA), welcomed delegates to the Congress and expressed hope that it will boost capacity at all levels to implement ICRM.

Yu Xun, Deputy Governor of the Hainan Provincial Government, emphasized that local coastal management and conservation on Hainan Island have benefited from international experiences, and welcomed the opportunity to gain further awareness to promote economic development and environmental protection.

Chen Ci, Mayor of Haikou City, described the oceans as “the cradle of life” and “a bonanza of resources.” Adding that Haikou benefits from marine transportation, fisheries and tourism, he emphasized the value of ocean legislation and zoning measures for sustainable marine management.

Chua Thia-Eng, PEMSEA Regional Programme Director, outlined the Congress’ objectives, including providing a common platform for stakeholders within and outside of the East Asian region to share information on all aspects of coastal and ocean governance. He also emphasized the need for an innovative partnership approach for the sustainable management of East Asian seas to: resolve transboundary issues “from the hilltops to the sea”; facilitate the participation of all stakeholders in the planning, implementation and assessment of management interventions; and work with international organizations and donors to accelerate the achievement of global targets. Noting the signing of the Putrajaya Declaration as a major accomplishment of the EAS Congress 2003, Thia-Eng said the inaugural Meeting of the EAS Partnership Council and the Youth Leaders Forum would be the highlights of the EAS Congress 2006.

Youth representatives from China and the Philippines drew attention to pollution and other environmental challenges in their countries, urging delegates to “keep working hard” to protect oceans for the children.

EAS Congress 2006 Chair Alfred Duda, GEF, noted that marine and coastal areas in East Asia are among the world’s most threatened ecosystems, and that to reverse current trends of environmental degradation, commitments made in SDS-SEA and Partnership Agreement to be signed at the EAS Congress 2006 need to be successfully implemented.

The following summarizes the main proceedings and outcomes of the EAS Congress, including sections on the International Conference on Coastal and Ocean Governance, the Ministerial Forum on the implementation of SDS-SEA and the Inaugural Meeting of the EAS Partnership Council. Due to a large number of overlapping sessions, IISD coverage focused on a selection of the Congress’ workshops and seminars. Detailed daily reports are available online at: http://www.iisd.ca/ymb/easc2006/dec12.html; http://www.iisd.ca/ymb/easc2006/dec13.html; and http://www.iisd.ca/ymb/easc2006/dec14.html; http://www.iisd.ca/ymb/easc2006/dec15.html

INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ON COASTAL AND OCEAN GOVERNANCE

The International Conference on Coastal and Ocean Governance opened on Tuesday, 12 December, under the theme “One Ocean. One People. One Vision.” In addition to four keynote presentations, 39 workshops and seminars were held on the Conference’s seven themes: communities in sustainable development; securing the oceans; ecosystem-based management; safer shipping and cleaner oceans; certifying sustainability; local government financing for water, sewage and sanitation; and applying management-related science and technology. The outcomes and recommendations of these themes were presented to ministers during the Conference’s closing plenary on Thursday, 14 December.

KEYNOTE PRESENTATIONS: Four keynote presentations were made during the Conference.

Chuan Leekpai, Thailand’s former Prime Minister, spoke on the need for a wider vision for protecting the region’s coasts, oceans and waterways, noting that East Asia is home to 1.9 billion people and its seas support significant fishery, aquaculture and marine transportation industries. Expressing concerns about overfishing, marine invasive species, pollution, and coastal biodiversity and habitat loss, he cautioned against regarding environmental protection as less urgent than economic development. He said that placing a lower priority on environmental issues and opting for short-term gains was unacceptable, and called for a region-wide cross-sectoral platform for development and cooperation to ensure the future of East Asian seas and coasts.

Magda Lovei, the World Bank, outlined the World Bank’s Framework Strategy for East Asian Partnerships, emphasizing that the East Asian Partnership Investment Fund for Pollution Reduction supports innovative approaches to pollution control. She called for addressing: perverse incentives such as subsidies that promote fishing overcapacity; inefficient legal and regulatory frameworks for pollution control providing no incentives to apply cleaner techniques; overlapping institutional mandates preventing integrated management; and limited representation of local communities in decision-making. Lovei highlighted the importance of: scaling up successful pilot programmes on alternative livelihoods, protected area co-management, and payments for ecological services; integrating environmental considerations into planning; and strengthening regional partnerships.

Paul van Hofwegen, World Water Council, spoke on linkages between water, environment and development. Stressing the need to intensify efforts to provide safe water and sanitation services in order to achieve the relevant Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), he highlighted: the role of local governments; use of local knowledge and expertise; enhanced access to finance; capacity building; public-private partnerships; and implementation of integrated water resource management. Van Hofwegen emphasized the importance of decentralization to allow for better participation by local stakeholders as the implementation of the water agenda and management of water resources and services are carried out primarily at the local level.

Su Jilan, SOA Honorary Director, presented on applying the ecosystem approach to integrated ocean and coastal management, focusing on the ecosystem-based management of China’s seas. Stressing the impacts of overfishing in China’s seas caused by the country’s growing food demand, he expressed concern regarding “fishing-down” the food web and the impacts of bycatch on marine ecosystems. Noting the impracticality of applying a catch-quota management approach to Chinese fisheries, Su said that China has adopted a fishing-closure policy and that its strategy for sustainable fisheries is based on shifting the catch-target and promoting poly-mariculture. He concluded that challenges for sustainability of marine and coastal ecosystems remain an important area for scientific research.

COMMUNITIES IN SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT: The theme emphasized the importance of stakeholder involvement in the implementation of sustainable development programmes at the local level. Biliana Cicin-Sain, University of Delaware, US, introduced the theme, examining the WSSD commitments relating to oceans and coasts and emphasizing the need to, inter alia, form coalitions, and enhance intersectoral and national institutional capacity.

Four workshops convened on: achieving the MDGs through enhancing legal capacities for ICRM; environmentally friendly aquaculture; Asian fisheries in the context of ICRM; and rights-based fisheries management. Two seminars were also held on civil society participation in sustainable development and sustainable eco-tourism.

The main issues addressed included: capacity development strategies for ICRM; the role of civil society; core governance criteria for achieving ICRM objectives and the MDGs; establishing a network for sharing best practices and experiences; encouraging private sector involvement in sustainable tourism; and enhancing local knowledge.

Achieving the MDGs through enhancing local capacities for ICRM: The workshop addressed the convergence of the MDGs and ICRM. Case studies from the Philippines on coastal resource management and marine protected areas development, and from Indonesia on community capacity development in the Aceh Province in the aftermath of the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami were presented. Participants discussed, inter alia: stakeholders’ contribution to achieving the MDGs; an enabling environment to achieve the MDGs and ICRM objectives; collaboration between policy-makers, communities and non-governmental organizations (NGOs); and the importance of partnerships, leadership, and ownership in local-level capacity development for ICRM and for the achievement of the MDGs.

Sustainable eco-tourism: The workshop explored sustainable eco-tourism practices that promote both local economic development and resource protection. Examples from Thailand, the Philippines, Japan, and the Republic of Korea were presented. Participants noted that eco-tourism is the fastest-growing market in the tourism industry and that, if done properly, can benefit both communities and the environment. The need for improved cooperation between tourism operators and local communities was highlighted, particularly in the creation of sustainable livelihoods and building local capacity.

Recommendations: The theme’s recommendations focused on:

  • the need for policies to mainstream civil society participation;

  • considering the carrying capacity of ecosystems when developing aquaculture policies;

  • fisheries co-management;

  • encouraging private sector involvement; and

  • enhancing local knowledge and capacity building, local governance, financing, and partnerships for sustainable eco-tourism development.

SECURING THE OCEANS: The theme addressed issues related to coastal and ocean governance. Introducing the theme, Tadao Kuribayashi, Keio University, Japan, outlined the concept of “securing the oceans,” which recognizes the oceans’ role in fulfilling global societal aspirations and seeks to holistically address the use of ocean resources through broad stakeholder involvement, international cooperation and integrating ocean-related science into policy-making. He said that the concept of security is no longer confined to national defense but embraces economic, social and environmental issues.

Four workshops were held on: development of national ocean policies in East Asia and around the world; the Tokyo Ocean Declaration: upholding the advocacy; ICM experiences, lessons learned and scaling up; regime-building in coastal and ocean governance; and advocacy, leadership, legislation and interagency collaboration in coastal and ocean governance.

Participants emphasized: the emerging “securing the oceans” concept contained in the Tokyo Ocean Declaration; integrated national policy development and interagency collaboration; building a regional regime through partnerships, legislation and enforcement; and advocacy and leadership.

Development of national ocean policies in East Asia and around the world: Workshop participants discussed a study on integrated national and regional ocean policies, highlighting the need for comprehensive ocean policies that: consider the broader sustainable development framework; apply the precautionary, ecosystem and science-based approaches; enable public involvement; and secure adequate funding.

National and regional experiences in development and implementation of coastal and ocean policies from the EU, the Philippines, the Republic of Korea, Indonesia and Japan were presented. They noted approaches such as development of regional maritime policies and national ICRM plans, establishment of multi-agency task forces and national ocean councils, and a shift from centralized planning by government agencies to joint implementation by all stakeholders. Several participants pointed to the lack of integration among sectoral policies on coasts, oceans and fisheries.

Tokyo Ocean Declaration: Upholding the advocacy: The workshop, held on Tuesday, was intended as a follow-up to the Tokyo Declaration on Securing the Oceans, which broadens the concept of ocean security so as to comprehensively include all aspects of ocean management in an integrated way. It was noted that Japan’s Ocean Policy Research Foundation (OPRF) and the Nippon Foundation had established an advocacy group on the concept.

The discussion focused on: the rights and jurisdiction of coastal and port states; joint development of ocean areas with disputed sovereignty claims; the importance of the collective will of states; integrated coastal and ocean management; regional and sub-regional cooperation; bilateral and multilateral response to marine environmental challenges; and ownership of international agreements. One participant advocated for the establishment of an international advisory council to guide policy and decision-making on ocean cooperation issues.

A case study on the protection of the marine environment from ship-source pollution in the Straits of Malacca and Singapore, which are used for transporting half of the world’s oil supply, was presented. The study highlighted the need for enhanced cooperation on safety and environmental protection between user and littoral states in the implementation of existing treaties.

Recent developments in international and regional law and their implications for the East Asian region, notably those of IMO-designated Particularly Sensitive Sea Areas and the EU Directive on Criminal Sanctions for Ship-source Pollution, were also highlighted.

Participants called for a continuing dialogue to translate the Tokyo Ocean Declaration into concrete measures through an action plan and proposed advancing the “securing the oceans” concept through: improving ocean governance; education and awareness; multilateral and practical approaches; and dispute resolution and collaboration at all levels.

Regime-building in coastal and ocean governance: The workshop addressed regional cooperation in coastal and ocean governance, including existing legal frameworks, ocean management networks, interagency cooperation, and training and education. Examples from the Baltic Sea region, the Arctic and the Benguela Current Large Marine Ecosystem (LME) were presented.

Participants noted that cooperation in the seas of East Asia is: lacking a regional legally-binding regime; jurisdictionally fragmented; characterized by territorial and maritime boundary disputes; and increasingly impacted by global issues, such as trade, security and climate change.

Several participants highlighted PEMSEA as a successful example of a regional ocean management network. PEMSEA Secretariat stressed that during consultations on the SDS-SEA, PEMSEA member countries had indicated that no regional legally-binding agreement would be desirable, and that the partnership mechanism for SDS-SEA implementation would be non-binding, flexible, inclusive and supported by voluntary funding.

Participants further prioritized: strengthening regional environmental standards to better protect ecosystems and human health; building capacity to implement effective governance; promoting inter-regional coordination and coherence based on the idea of “sufficient consensus” for action; transferability of PEMSEA’s experience and leadership to other regions; civil society involvement; and corporate social responsibility.

Advocacy, leadership, legislation and interagency collaboration in coastal and ocean governance: The workshop explored the role of advocacy in achieving good coastal and ocean governance, underscoring that youth can act as powerful advocates for change. It was noted that advocacy can include legal action, education, and enforcement.

Participants discussed key preconditions for effective leadership, including long-term commitment, access to resourceful networks, willingness to take risks, innovation and creativity, integrity, passion and optimism. Participants further highlighted the role of NGOs in leading international partnerships, and constraints posed by political timeframes in ensuring continued leadership. It was also noted that leadership can be exercised from the highest political to the grassroots level.

On legislation, participants learned about national and international legal frameworks governing activities in coastal and ocean areas, noting that: local maritime legislation is often ahead of national legal frameworks; legal frameworks need to adjust to emerging issues and transboundary concerns; and sub-regional collaboration mechanisms should be promoted.

Participants also stressed that the achievement of WSSD targets on oceans and coasts requires strong interagency collaboration, which remains a challenge from the international down to the local level, citing interagency tensions and agencies’ tendency to “fiercely protect” their mandates and budgets. An industry representative lamented the lack of integrated response to offshore and land-based pollution from oil spills, and several participants noted that emergencies often mobilize agencies to work together. One participant noted that civil society involvement can foster interagency collaboration, while others emphasized the government’s role in such collaboration.

Seminar on coastal and ocean governance: Following presentation of case studies from Thailand, the Philippines, Indonesia, Japan and China, participants stressed that site-specific action programmes help generate support for strategic approaches and discussed: activities on the ground to promote environmental risk management, and integrated water and sanitation systems; new approaches for a better public understanding of science such as adaptive learning and “edu-tainment”; and empowerment of marginalized groups. Examples of miscommunication of environmental risks in the coastal management context were highlighted, with one participant calling for a culture of questioning and accountability. A comparative study on legal instruments for the protection of the marine environment in China and Venezuela was also presented.

Participants agreed on the common interest in winning stakeholder commitment and government support for achieving sustainability, and prioritized: improving government coordination; increasing community awareness and ownership of problems; and making information concise and accessible to policy-makers.

Recommendations: The theme’s recommendations focused on:

  • scaling up ICRM to achieve full coastal coverage, establishing national ICRM policies, strengthening performance indicators, and achieving effective compliance and enforcement;

  • Exclusive economic zones (EEZ) management, including harmonizing laws, linking coastal and EEZ management programmes, improving national interagency collaboration, assigning dedicated budgets to ocean issues, and promoting a new “ocean ethic”; and

  • regional cooperation, including: the role of PEMSEA and SDS-SEA, a shared vision and a regional implementation strategy; codes of conduct; and dispute settlement mechanisms.

Joint development of disputed ocean areas was also identified as a way forward.
ECOSYSTEM-BASED MANAGEMENT:
John Dunnigan, Assistant Administrator, US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), introduced the theme, describing ecosystem-based management as a tool to achieve healthy and productive coastal and marine ecosystems that benefit society, and promote public involvement and stewardship of coastal and marine ecosystems. He said that the ecosystem approach to management should: be geographically based and adaptive; take account of ecosystem knowledge and uncertainty; consider multiple external influences; and strive to balance diverse societal objectives.

The theme featured a workshop on ecosystem-based management of interrelated river basins, estuaries and coastal seas, and a special seminar on ecosystem-based management.

Ecosystem-based management of interrelated river basins, estuaries and coastal seas: The workshop addressed numerous initiatives to apply the ecosystem approach to managing river basins and watersheds, coastal areas and seas within the East Asian region and beyond. Presentations identified issues affecting environmental management, including rapid population growth, expanding economic activities and conflicting sectoral interests.

Participants highlighted: resolving conflicts by ensuring stakeholder participation in political decision-making; developing a master plan and an assessment framework to guide management; developing transboundary management approaches; strengthening ecological science and technical capacity and using them to design recovery approaches; assessing the economic value of ecosystem services; promoting marine environment management programmes; and getting communities involved by raising awareness in simple ways. Participants also discussed: pollution reduction policies; taking into account climate change in coastal management strategies; building trust between government, industry and NGOs by providing full and fair access to data; bridging the gap between science and policy; and providing incentives for community and industry involvement.

Seminar on ecosystem-based management: Speakers reported on experiences in applying the ecosystem-based management approach from the local to the international level, outlining progress and lessons learned in fields including: marine protected area (MPA) policy; foreshore protection and ecotourism development; urban water pollution; biodiversity protection and ecosystem rehabilitation; fisheries and biodiversity monitoring; and coral bleaching. Presenters emphasized: ensuring adequate budget allocations and strategic planning for MPAs, and communicating MPA benefits to stakeholders; securing political leadership; considering “cumulative effects” when conducting environmental impact assessments of proposed developments; enforcing national legislation; and adapting MPA management to respond to extreme climatic events.

Recommendations: The theme outcomes included calls for:

  • establishing MPAs as an integral component of ICRM;

  • partnerships for dealing with transboundary issues affecting LMEs;

  • maintenance of coastal habitats to ensure the wellbeing of local communities and maintenance of ecological services;

  • promoting practical guidelines for local managers in the conservation and management of coastal resources; and

  • incorporating climate change considerations in SDS-SEA programmes.

SAFER SHIPPING AND CLEANER OCEANS: The theme was introduced by Richard Johnson, International Tanker Owners Pollution Federation, who presented on risk assessment of oil spills in the East Asian region, highlighting: the large volumes of oil being transported; increasing oil tanker traffic and associated spill risks; and non-tank vessels’ contribution to half of the incidents. He emphasized the need to strengthen the region’s preparedness through effective legal frameworks and contingency plans.

Three workshops and a seminar were held, addressing: regulating international maritime shipping; regional initiatives on maritime safety and marine environmental protection in Asia; regional arrangements for preparedness and response to marine pollution in East Asia; national response strategies for oil spills; addressing vulnerabilities to coastal hazards, especially tsunamis; and pollution management.

Implementation of effective regional arrangements for preparedness and response to marine pollution in East Asia: Participants highlighted: regional agreements on preparedness and response to marine pollution; the need for international and regional cooperation and assistance to developing countries; the importance of stakeholder involvement; and strengthening national capacities.

Several participants outlined national response strategies for oil spills, including: the adoption of China’s National Contingency Plan; the establishment of emergency response centers in coastal and river harbors of China; and establishment of mechanisms for oil pollution compensation.

Several representatives from international and regional organizations introduced their activities on marine pollution preparedness and response, including: a tiered response approach to oil spills; the IMO/ International Petroleum Industry Environmental Conservation Association Global Initiative, which aims to support implementation of international conventions and liability and compensation associated with oil spills; contingency plans; and sub-regional partnerships.

The workshop further discussed potential areas for future cooperation among maritime administrations, including: recycling of ships; implementation of IMO conventions; regional arrangements for pollution response; improving access to and transboundary movement of international oil spill equipment and resources; recent developments in claims and compensation for oil spills; and regional arrangements for pollution response in East Asia’s high-risk areas.

The workshop also held a session on hazardous and noxious substances (HNS) preparedness and response. The Protocol on Preparedness, Response and Cooperation to Pollution Incidents by HNS was highlighted as an important framework to facilitate international cooperation and assistance and develop national and regional capacity to prepare for and respond to HNS accidents. Participants emphasized that because of different chemical and physical properties of chemicals, HNS preparedness and response measures are complex and difficult compared to oil spills, and require a different set of skills, expertise and equipment.

Several speakers outlined their experiences in enhancing the regional response capacity to deal with the increasing number of HNS accidents, emphasizing achievements in: strengthening cooperation among stakeholders; engaging specialized research institutions and industries; and improving response skills through training.

Safer coasts: Living with risks: This seminar focused on the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami and the 2005 Hurricane Katrina, which demonstrated that all countries are vulnerable to the effects of extreme climatic events. Two issues were discussed, resilience and adaptation in the aftermath of tsunamis and addressing vulnerabilities to coastal hazards.

On resilience and adaptation in the aftermath of tsunamis, speakers outlined the experiences in post-tsunami rehabilitation and reconstruction of countries in the region. These experiences included: developing national master plans for rehabilitation and reconstruction; preparedness and education programmes; establishing national disaster warning centers, training centers and information databases; and developing tsunami alert systems.

Participants highlighted that forests and dunes are effective at stopping tsunami debris, reducing water flow and currents, and sheltering people. They also said NGOs play an important role in the aftermath of natural disasters, including providing assistance to communities and acting as a source of unbiased information.

One speaker discussed post-tsunami ICRM, noting that the tsunami wrought environmental changes beyond ICRM’s framework, fundamentally altering landscapes and land tenure, buffer zones, coastal ecosystems and livelihoods. Explaining that ongoing resource-use conflicts, coastal degradation and poverty were aggravated by the tsunami, he called for demonstration sites to evaluate rehabilitation, recovery and mitigation efforts.

Discussion also focused on: coordinating the delivery of foreign aid; reevaluating existing ICRM practices; integrating physical restoration into social and economic rebuilding; improving the lives of local people; and the need for high-quality baseline data for tsunami modeling.

On addressing vulnerabilities to coastal hazards, presentations were made on: marine emergency response systems for mariculture areas; review and assessment of existing emergency response procedures; emergency training for local government staff; development of public information materials; vulnerability and adaptation of coastal communities to climate variability, extreme climatic events and sea-level rise; adaptation-sensitive ICRM planning, including land and sea use zoning; insurance coverage for coastal families and properties; and limiting subsidies and incentives that promote excessive coastal development.

Presenters also discussed: the increasing frequency and magnitude of flooding due to land subsidence as a result of over-extraction of groundwater; the IMO GloBallast Partnership Project; approaches to addressing waste dumping at sea, including regulations for prevention of pollution from construction waste; allocating responsibility for extreme event forecasting; and the importance of reliable scientific information.

Special seminar on pollution management: Four Chinese experts in the area made presentations, focusing on: strengthening marine environmental monitoring; methodologies, standards and tools used to monitor marine pollution; oil spill response options in China’s offshore waters including mechanical recovery, chemical dispersing and microbiological degradation; minimizing oil spill risks; and carrying out training programmes.

Presenters reported on the IMO conventions, including enacting national laws and regulations to implement them. They also discussed measures on oil spill prevention and response, including a ship routing system, vessel traffic services, an automatic identification system, search and rescue, flag state control, supervising dangerous goods and activities, and enacting the National Contingency Plan for Marine Oil Spill from Ships.

Recommendations: The theme’s recommendations focused on:

improving standards of maritime academic and training institutions in the region, including through bilateral and multilateral arrangements for educational and training facilities;

  • strengthening the existing IMO integrated technical cooperation programmes through partnership arrangements among governments, stakeholders and the IMO;

  • assessing the effectiveness, relevance and contribution of delivered technical assistance in strengthening national capacity;

  • identifying specific national and regional maritime needs with a view to developing targeted capacity-building mechanisms; and

  • improving ratification, implementation and compliance with IMO instruments with a view to improving maritime safety, reducing operational and accidental pollution from ships, controlling dumping at sea, and strengthening regional and sub-regional arrangements for marine pollution response.

CERTIFYING SUSTAINABILITY: The theme focused on examining existing certification schemes and assessing their application in, and impacts on, sustainable environmental management, primarily within the region. Arthur Hanson, International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD), introduced the theme, noting that certification of marine resources is still in its infancy and that the aquarium fish trade is the most advanced industry. He drew attention to: unfair use of data; challenges posed by illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing; and limitations of the current ISO 14000 environment management systems and standards. Hanson further highlighted the potential role of: governments in certified products procurement; aquaculture certification; and the importance of adapting certification schemes to take account of climate change.

A workshop was held on certification and sustainable fisheries, as well as a seminar on clean and safe beaches. Participants highlighted the need for: PEMSEA countries to be more proactive on aquaculture certification; better analysis and communication of the costs and benefits of certification to governments; acceptance of certification by market players; improved fisheries management on the high seas; further development of public-private partnerships; addressing the root causes of beach pollution; improving public information and participation; and building local capacity and awareness.

Certification and sustainable fisheries: Workshop participants discussed current approaches to certifying the aquarium trade, aquaculture and live-fish trade in East Asia, stressing that certification leads to a fundamental change in the management of marine resources. They also underscored that ensuring the industry’s sustainability brings greater benefits than closing it down, which may lead to environmental and social damage. It was further noted that the aquarium trade is the highest value-added product to be harvested from coral reefs, and that the East Asian region supplies 60% of the world’s seafood.

Participants highlighted key issues and challenges, including: difficulties in integrating the global supply chain, roving collectors, ecosystem impacts, unsustainable practices, fair pricing, industry perceptions, and the need for training and financial incentives for sustainable operators. On management systems, one participant advocated for compliance with the criteria set by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).

Clean and safe beaches seminar: Speakers from Australia, China, the Philippines, Denmark, Singapore and Thailand, and agencies, including the World Bank, addressed ways of achieving clean and safe beaches through beach water monitoring programmes including: challenges for implementation; the need for partnerships, stakeholder and country support; certification programmes, including those for environmental management of hotels; and policy options.

In the ensuing discussion, participants listed conclusions and recommendations to be forwarded to the Ministerial Forum, including on: addressing the root causes of beach pollution; improving public information and participation; recognizing the strength of internationally-recognized programmes; encouraging local certification; and building local capacity and awareness.

Recommendations: The theme’s recommendations on certification and sustainable fisheries included the need to:

  • adopt market-based approaches;

  • explore partnerships with the private sector;

  • increase the number of certified fisheries; and

  • promote sustainable enterprises through public sector financing.

On port security, safety, health and environmental management, the recommendations emphasized the need to:

  • extend PEMSEA’s technical support;

  • establish an Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) safety advisory body; and

  • promote national legal frameworks and regulations.

On clean and safe beaches, the recommendations focused on:

  • recognizing the impacts of coastal development, using a scientific approach based on accurate baseline data;

  • investing in sewage plants and cleanups; and

  • mobilizing policy frameworks.

LOCAL GOVERNMENT FINANCING FOR WATER, SEWAGE AND SANITATION: This theme included workshops on the implementation of the Global Programme of Action for the Protection of the Marine Environment from Land-based Activities (GPA), and on pollution reduction investment policies. Cielito Habito, Ateneo Center for Economic Research and Development, the Philippines, introduced the theme, focusing on a new strategic direction for the GPA, and policies and incentives for scaling up investments in pollution reduction.

GPA implementation: National and local government challenges: Chair Anjan Datta, UNEP/GPA outlined a new strategic direction for the GPA, emphasizing national- and local-level action, and linkages with poverty reduction-focused initiatives.

The World Bank spoke on the costs of unmet demands for clean water and sanitation in East Asia, explaining that these costs include: economic and environmental costs suffered by sectors such as health, fisheries and tourism; and the cost of infrastructure needed to meet demand. Citing a case study from the Philippines, one presenter estimated that the economic benefits of meeting the MDGs relating to water and sanitation are eight times their associated cost.

The PEMSEA Secretariat presented an overview of public and private sector capacities in environmental investments in five East Asian countries, recommending: improving institutional arrangements and structures; overcoming constraints to financing environmental infrastructure projects; and strengthening public and private sector investments through partnerships.

Participants discussed reasons for poor implementation of MDG commitments despite the clear economic benefits. One participant noted that MDG targets refer only to basic sanitation levels, and that meeting the MDGs would not eliminate all costs related to current unmet demand for clean water and adequate sanitation. Discussion on funding options considered endowments and debt-for-nature swaps.

Policies and incentives for scaling up investments for pollution reduction: Participants discussed policies and incentives to reduce coastal and marine environmental degradation, stressing the need for economic valuation of coastal and marine resources such as waterways and beaches. Policy options were also presented, including: using economic incentives; ensuring property rights; developing revolving funds; using market mechanisms; involving civil society; and securing public disclosure regarding information on water pollution.

Regarding international experience with environmental funds participants underscored the need to create conditions for sustainable financing, including through: partnerships and good public environmental expenditure management; good governance and political will to support environmental policies; strong local institutions; and public information. Examples described: a case study of a revolving fund in Slovenia that aims to facilitate cleaning up the Danube River Basin, and promote environmental investments by the private sector and municipalities; a World Bank revolving fund in Egypt that aims to provide incentives to polluters to improve their environmental management capacity and performance; and the World Bank’s Project Preparation Revolving Fund (PPRF), a mechanism to facilitate environmental investment in East Asia by improving project preparation standards in the sector and minimizing operational risks resulting from smaller investments with shorter lending periods.

Participants emphasized the importance of building the capacity of local governments to develop project proposals, as well as involving the private sector in developing and implementing PPRFs. Two Chinese participants said that PPRFs would have a limited market in China because of government policies and existing expertise. Several participants said that local expertise should be used instead of hiring foreign consultants.

Recommendations: The theme’s recommendations addressed:

  • strengthening advocacy among local executives;

  • using appropriate cost subsidy schemes;

  • ensuring independence of regulatory bodies;

  • eliminating political interference;

  • developing innovative financing schemes; and

  • engaging more effectively with youth.

APPLYING MANAGEMENT-RELATED SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY: The theme was introduced by Rudolf Wu, Centre for Marine Environmental Research and Innovative Technology, Hong Kong SAR, China, who highlighted that scientific discoveries and technological advancements have substantially changed approaches to environmental monitoring and management and improved the understanding of marine pollution. Wu emphasized that novel approaches using telemetry and remote sensing enable environmental changes to be discerned in real time and over large areas in a cost-effective way and that modern simulation-modeling techniques allow the prediction of concentrations and transfer of pollutants in the marine environment with reasonable precision, thus making it possible to estimate the carrying capacity of the receiving ecosystems.

Five thematic workshops and seminars were organized under this theme, with discussions focusing on: integrated coastal and marine information management; use of geographic information system (GIS) and database tools for natural resources management; innovative approaches and technologies in pollution assessment and monitoring; radio-isotope technology for coastal and ocean management; and a common framework for the state of the coasts reporting.

Use of GIS and database tools for natural resources management: Workshop presentations addressed: the use of GIS and information produced in promoting transparent management policy; a participatory approach to the development of a GIS for natural resource management; developing information systems and networks to facilitate better communication and management; and the use of GIS in integrated management of coastal zones. Participants also heard case studies on: the development of a web-based information system to enhance the management of Thailand’s Similan Island National Park; and a capacity-strengthening project for the management of Thailand’s Andaman Sea Coastal Zone, which produced a community-based GIS on marine and coastal resources.

Participants highlighted that the use of telemetry and remote sensing allows for developing large scale modeling to predict changes in coastal and marine ecosystems, making it possible to recommend sensible and sustainable management approaches; noting also that GIS and database tools help to identify problems at early stages and involve all stakeholders in the use and management of natural resources. 

Integrating science into coastal and ocean management: Presentations focused on the application of Integrated Information Management Systems (IIMS) in coastal and marine environmental management, with case studies on the Philippines’ Manila Bay and China’s Bohai Sea. Participants also heard presentations on the findings of studies on: the development of simulation models to study the impacts of overfishing on ecosystems in China’s Pearl River Delta coastal sea; experimentation of effects of “ocean fertilizer” use on seaweed growth in the Philippines; and monitoring the environmental impacts of cassava shipping through Thailand’s Sriracha Bay and Sichange Island.

Discussion focused on a holistic approach to integrating IIMS into coastal and ocean management, emphasizing that clearly-defined scientific techniques and approaches allow for monitoring changes and trends in ecosystems, and can be used for the development of databases and models for managing coastal ecosystems sustainably.

Recommendations: The theme’s conclusions highlighted that greater emphasis needs to be placed on integrating science and modern technologies into the sustainable use and protection of coastal and marine resources, underscoring that:

  • developing GIS databases and maps encourages a consensus approach and a shared vision;

  • use of GIS and IIMS facilitates transparent decision-making and enhances management;

  • applying innovative approaches and technologies in environment and natural resource management has proven to be successful and practical; and

  • new approaches and technologies should be adopted and adapted for specific regional needs.

CLOSING OF THE CONFERENCE: On Thursday, 14 December, Arthur Hanson, IISD, summarized the outcomes of the Conference. He noted that to arrest the decline in ocean health, it is crucial to: focus on marine biodiversity “hotspots”; promote regional agreements on issues such as the prevention of IUU fishing; reduce land-based pollution; and promote ICRM and MPAs. He also highlighted collaborative governance, co-learning and decentralization as strategies to improve coastal and ocean governance. Hanson noted that new global standards relating to safety and certification should be applied regionally, and that “scaling up” was the key term used at the Conference in reference to partnerships, leadership, funding, knowledge, and benefits. In closing, he said that PEMSEA and the EAS Congress 2006 were a success, and paid tribute to Chua Thia-Eng’s “inspired leadership.”

Cris Evert Lato, a Youth Leaders Forum participant from the Philippines, made an emotional statement on behalf of East Asian youth, saying that young people bridge present and future generations and must empower themselves to contribute to the sustainability of oceans and coasts.

It was also noted that the next EAS Congress will be held in Manila, the Philippines, in 2009.

Chair Alfred Duda thanked the Government and people of China for hosting the Congress and closed the International Conference at 4:25 pm.

MINISTERIAL FORUM

The two-day Ministerial Forum opened on Thursday, 14 December with statements by PEMSEA member countries and partners, as well as the Secretariat, and three parallel side events. Many spoke in support of the Haikou Partnership Agreement and outlined progress in sustainable management of coasts and oceans. The Forum culminated in the signing of the Haikou Partnership Agreement and accompanying Partnership Operating Arrangements on Friday, 15 December.

MINISTERIAL AND PARTNER STATEMENTS: Cambodia stressed that regional issues such as marine environmental degradation and resource depletion cannot be solved by any country alone, but require actions in partnership.

China emphasized the importance of consensus and cooperation in addressing marine issues in East Asian seas, and explained that, inter alia, the Haikou Partnership Agreement proposes a three-year cycle for EAS congresses and ministerial meetings to ensure continuity.

The DPRK highlighted new national laws, establishment of protected areas and capacity building. Indonesia noted PEMSEA workshops on habitat restoration, sanitation for fishing communities, safety and environmental protection in the Straits of Malacca, and integrated river basin management, calling for scaling-up successful demonstration projects at the national level.

Japan highlighted its assistance to SDS-SEA implementation through supporting initiatives such as the International Coral Reef Initiative, the ASEAN Oil Spill Preparedness and Response Project, and the Southeast Asia Fisheries Development Centre.

Lao PDR highlighted the transboundary work of the Mekong River Commission and emphasized the links between upstream, coastal and offshore development.

The Philippines underscored the importance of goods and services provided by coastal and marine ecosystems, and said that East Asian countries have a “fighting chance” to collectively address threats to oceans and coasts.

The Republic of Korea advocated international and regional action to achieve the protection of the marine environment, and announced that his country is in the process of establishing a trust fund to support the PEMSEA Secretariat.

As part of a commitment to SDS-SEA implementation, Singapore expressed willingness to continue its contribution to capacity building in areas including wastewater management, accession to international instruments, and preparedness and response to hazardous waste incidents.

Timor-Leste, a new PEMSEA member, emphasized that sustainable management of water resources and oceans is vital for food security, and expressed the hope of learning from others and working cooperatively to benefit the region’s people and environment.

Vietnam said environmental management and protection were “hot issues,” and encouraged multi-stakeholder participation in SDS-SEA implementation.

FAO recognized PEMSEA as one of the most important strategic partners in the region, and suggested cooperation with PEMSEA in: applying the FAO Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries; strengthening coastal environmental management and control of pollution from land-based sources; and promoting prevention and response to natural disasters such as tsunamis.

The World Bank noted coherence among the objectives and strategy of the partnership for implementing SDS-SEA and those of the Bank, and expressed its commitment to supporting the partnership.

PEMSEA Secretariat outlined the structure and operating arrangements under the proposed Haikou Partnership Agreement. He also outlined the programme’s transformation over the next 10 years, which includes: a transitional phase (2007-2010) to develop and commence the implementation of a 10-year framework of partnership programmes under SDS-SEA; a transformation phase (2010-2013), in which national policies, legislation and programmes in coastal and ocean governance and ICRM will be fully implemented; and a sustainable operation phase (2013-2017), in which countries and their partners will take full responsibility for SDS-SEA implementation and long-term sustainability of the regional mechanism.

SIGNING OF THE HAIKOU PARTNERSHIP AGREEMENT AND CLOSING OF THE FORUM: The Forum concluded following the signing of the Haikou Partnership Agreement and accompanying Partnership Operating Arrangements by ministers and high-level officials from 11 countries (Cambodia, China, DPRK, Indonesia, Japan, Lao PDR, the Philippines, the Republic of Korea, Singapore, Timor-Leste, and Vietnam) aboard a marine surveillance vessel.

Haikou Partnership Agreement: The Agreement sets the following priority targets for SDS-SEA implementation:

  • mobilization of resources, capacity and services, and legal and financial arrangements necessary for implementation, including a rolling 10-year partnership arrangement and the production of a regional “State of the Coasts” report by 2009;

  • formulation and implementation of national policies and action plans on sustainable ocean and coastal development in 70% of participating countries by 2015; and

  • implementation of integrated coastal management programmes covering 20% of the region’s coasts by 2015.

Follow-up actions to be carried out in the next three years and reported to EAS Congress 2009 include:

  • developing work plans, mobilizing resources and taking action to achieve the priority targets and implement the Partnership Operating Arrangements;

  • enhancing efforts on marine and coastal water pollution reduction, and achieving time-bound wastewater emission targets and sustainable access to safe drinking water and sanitation in pollution “hotspots”;

  • fostering collaboration and partnerships between PEMSEA and other relevant regional and international organizations and initiatives in order to reduce duplication and enhance synergies; and

  • promoting public awareness and stakeholder involvement to ensure broad participation in SDS-SEA implementation at all levels.

The Agreement also sets out a regional implementing mechanism for SDS-SEA, including Partnership Operating Arrangements.

Partnership Operating Arrangements: The Partnership Operating Arrangements for the Implementation of SDS-SEA, adopted under the Haikou Partnership Agreement, have the following objectives:

  • strengthening consensus among partners on approaches and strategies to address threats to the environment and sustainable development in the seas of East Asia;

  • building confidence among partners through collaborative projects and programmes;

  • achieving synergies and linkages in implementing SDS-SEA; and

  • reducing national and regional disparities in capacities for sustainable coastal and ocean development and management.

The Arrangements also define the scope of the partnership and the eligibility, rights and roles of partners, and set forth four major operating mechanisms:

  • a triennial EAS Congress of SDS-SEA stakeholders and partners to share knowledge and monitor the progress in SDS-SEA implementation;

  • an EAS Partnership Council with participation by all country and stakeholder partners and observers, to provide policy and operational guidance for SDS-SEA implementation;

  • a PEMSEA Resource Facility to serve as the Partnership’s secretariat and provide technical support services to PEMSEA countries, including advice and capacity building for sustainable oceans and coastal governance; and

  • a Regional Partnership Fund to channel and ensure the best use of voluntary contributions from interested countries, donor agencies, institutions and individuals.

MULTI-DISCIPLINARY EXPERTS GROUP MEETING: Held in parallel with the Ministerial meeting, this side event discussed the development of a framework for a simple, efficient, cost-effective and regular reporting system for the state of the coasts at the national and regional levels to monitor progress in SDS-SEA implementation.

Participants were briefed on results and recommendations of the Seminar on the Common Framework for State of the Coasts Reporting in East Asia, held during the EAS Congress 2006, which highlighted that the reporting system should: identify a clear purpose and target audience; use simple messages that lead to action; and develop templates that work at different scales. They also heard PEMSEA’s proposal on the reporting framework, which stated that the report is intended to be released on a triennial basis to provide information to policymakers, environment and natural resources managers and other stakeholders on: conditions of and trends and changes in the marine and coastal environment; driving forces for the changes; social, economic and environmental implications; and responses to SDS-SEA implementation.

Discussion focused on: the purpose of the report; the appropriate level and target audience; the possibility of creating a web-based interactive database; availability of baseline and monitoring data; timeframes; and simplification of scientific and technical terms in the report. Many underscored that the report should trigger concrete action by policymakers and include case studies, rather than collating only statistical data. One participant highlighted the need for local capacity building for reporting. Some cautioned against duplication of already existing reports.

CAPACITY BUILDING FOR COASTAL AND OCEAN GOVERNANCE SIDE EVENT: The side event addressed East Asian countries’ capacity-building needs in ocean and coastal governance to assist the development of strategies to implement SDS-SEA. Two key issues were highlighted: identifying capacity development gaps that require national and international efforts; and exploring the possibilities for a common postgraduate curriculum in ICRM and ocean affairs in the region.

Participants identified short- and long-term capacity-building needs. Regarding short-term needs, participants highlighted: developing a consortium to identify strengths and weaknesses in capacity building in ocean and coastal governance; and “on-the-job” coaching and training of local governments and ICRM practitioners in order to update their skills and knowledge. On long-term capacity building, participants noted the lack of mid-level coastal managers who can bridge local government knowledge and that of academic institutions. Creating a demand for such skills and garnering student interest, were also recognized as challenges.

Participants discussed formal training on ICRM to strengthen skills and capacity at the postgraduate level across the region, with several highlighting existing courses such as Master’s degree programmes on marine affairs and environmental management and their adaptability to ICRM. Participants identified elements of training courses and competencies of graduates, including: knowledge of ICRM and broader environmental and natural resource management concepts; planning and monitoring; knowledge of key international legal instruments related to the marine environment, such as UNCLOS; familiarity with socioeconomic issues, particularly livelihoods; and communications, negotiation and leadership skills.

Participants further made a number of recommendations for PEMSEA, including: creating a web-based repository of “ICRM knowledge products”; organizing national and regional training courses, including on-site courses for local governments and practitioners, as well as “training of trainers”; scaling up efforts for degree training through a consortium; supporting a training network linking academia, NGOs and practitioners; developing guidelines for ICRM managers; and conducting an analysis of supply and demand for ICRM practitioners.

EAS PARTNERSHIP COUNCIL MEETING

On Saturday, December 16, PEMSEA sponsoring agencies, stakeholder partners and observers participated in the inaugural meeting of the EAS Partnership Council, a new regional mechanism established under the Haikou Partnership Agreement and Partnership Operating Arrangements for the Implementation of SDS-SEA.

Li Haiqing, SOA, welcomed participants to the Council’s inaugural meeting, noting that the signing of the Haikou Partnership Agreement begins a new phase in SDS-SEA implementation.

Alfred Duda, GEF, said his organization was pleased to see that its investment in PEMSEA was showing long-term returns. He emphasized the Council’s role in monitoring progress towards the implementation of SDS-SEA commitments on the ground.

Amelia Dulce Supetran, UNDP, said the establishment of the Council signifies the “coming of age” of SDS-SEA, and encouraged more countries and stakeholders to join the partnership. Noting that UNDP is the “core keeper” of the MDGs, she said environmental degradation and pollution aggravate poverty and that existing barriers for investment flows hinder improvement of environmental quality in the region.

Jean-Claude Sainlos, IMO, emphasized countries’ ownership of the Partnership Operating Arrangements and encouraged partners to ensure the sustainability of the system through strengthened decision-making and financial mechanisms. He announced that IMO would cease to act as PEMSEA’s executing agency in June 2007, as countries in the region take over the on-the-ground implementation.

Chua Thia-Eng, PEMSEA Regional Programme Director, introduced the EAS Partnership Council and its objectives, functions and organizational arrangements. Thia-Eng said that the Council is a regional mechanism dedicated to the achievement of the shared vision and objectives of SDS-SEA, and consists of: the countries of the EAS region; other countries using East Asian seas; local governments, communities, NGOs, research and education institutions; UN and international agencies; financial institutions; and other concerned entities. He said its mission is to provide policy and operational guidance to SDS-SEA implementation, drawing upon the recommendations of the EAS Congress, and to steer and monitor SDS-SEA implementation.

Letters of Cooperation were signed with the Coastal Management Center (CMC), Conservation International, Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) Regional Office for the Western Pacific, and UNDP/GEF Yellow Sea Project, with the latter three being new PEMSEA partners.

Twelve stakeholder partners signed the Partnership Operating Arrangements, which had been adopted by ministers under the Haikou Partnership Agreement on Friday, 15 December: CMC, Conservation International, IOC Regional Office for the Western Pacific, Korea Environment Institute, Korea Maritime Institute, Korea Ocean Research and Development Institute, OPRF, Oil Spill Response Limited and East Asia Response Limited (OSRL/EARL), Plymouth Marine Laboratory, UNEP/GPA, UNDP/GEF Small Grants Programme (SGP), and UNDP/GEF Yellow Sea Project.

Following nominations by Singapore and Vietnam, Li Haiqing, SOA, was elected as Chair of the meeting. The meeting agenda (EPC/06/DOC/03) was also adopted.

ADOPTION OF THE DRAFT GUIDELINES FOR THE CONDUCT OF MEETINGS: Huming Yu, PEMSEA Secretariat, introduced draft guidelines for the conduct of meetings (EPC/06/DOC/05), noting that they reflect consensus among the countries in the region, which had been reached during the preparatory process. He outlined the elements of the guidelines, which include: schedule and venue of meetings; representation; order of business; committees and working groups function; qualification of officers; election procedures; and amendment of guidelines.

Noting that consensus has already been reached during the drafting process, China advocated for the adoption of the guidelines. Singapore suggested textual changes regarding the distribution of Council meetings’ minutes to participants for further amendments, if necessary. UNEP/GEF South China Sea Project, an observer, suggested adding paragraphs on consensus and quorum to ensure that Council meetings take valid decisions. The guidelines were adopted following amendment to reflect Singapore’s suggestion.

STATEMENTS BY PARTNERS AND OBSERVERS: UNEP/GPA noted the links between PEMSEA and the partnership elements of the Beijing Declaration from the second GPA Intergovernmental Review meeting. UNDP/GEF SGP said the partnership will enable both PEMSEA and SGP to strengthen community-based approaches to the conservation of marine and coastal resources. Korea Environment Institute stressed that marine issues cannot be solved without participation of relevant stakeholders, such as research institutions.

FAO expressed its willingness to assist PEMSEA’s efforts to achieve food security and halve hunger in the region, and offered its support and expertise in areas such as reducing coastal areas’ pollution from agricultural runoff, sustainable management of forests and mangroves, and sustainable fisheries and agriculture. Conservation International called for linking human wellbeing with biodiversity, advocating the expansion of MPA networks, improving communication and awareness, and strengthening compliance and enforcement.

NOAA said the EAS Partnership Council is the key to SDS-SEA implementation, pledging support to achieving the goals of the partnership. OSRL/EARL recognized the value of the EAS Partnership Council and committed to work together with governments and industries to contribute to the achievement of SDS-SEA goals. OPRF highlighted its long-lasting cooperation with PEMSEA and advocated the “Securing the Oceans” concept, announcing the convening of an international conference on ocean issues in 2007.

PARTNERS DIALOGUE: Thia-Eng opened the partners dialogue, encouraging better sharing of information, experiences and knowledge as the first step of enhanced cooperation.

UNEP/GPA urged mainstreaming the implementation of SDS-SEA at the national and sub-regional levels, in particular in ICRM and sustainable fisheries. Referring to the ongoing UN reform, the IMO underscored the objective of UN agencies “delivering as one” at the national level. Chair Li Haiqing urged improved interaction and coordination among various organizations at national and regional levels, and suggested that the Secretariat undertake further studies to develop a strategy on this issue.

The GEF prioritized tracking progress towards the implementation of SDS-SEA targets, which build upon the MDGs and WSSD targets. UNDP proposed that the MDG reporting framework be used for reporting progress in SDS-SEA implementation, with Thia-Eng highlighting joint reporting by PEMSEA and COBSEA on land-based pollution.

CLOSING OF THE MEETING: Thia-Eng concluded that EAS Congress 2006 and the Inaugural Meeting of the EAS Partnership Council have set up a good model for working together, suggesting that further improvement would result from EAS Congress 2009. He then outlined the immediate steps for setting up the PEMSEA Resource Facility and the transition to its new Executive Director. Participants agreed tentatively to hold the next EAS Partnership Council meeting in Indonesia in the third quarter of 2007. Chair Li Haiqing declared the meeting closed at 12:45 pm.

UPCOMING MEETINGS

JOINT MEETING OF REGIONAL TUNA FISHERIES MANAGEMENT ORGANIZATIONS: This meeting, to be held from 22-26 January 2007, in Kobe, Japan will bring together tuna regional fisheries management organizations. For more information, contact: Akihiro Mae, Japanese Fisheries Agency; tel: +81-3-3502-8459; fax: +81-3-3502-0571; e-mail: tuna_rfmos@nm.maff.go.jp; internet: http://www.iotc.org/files/proceedings/2006/s/IOTC-2006-S10-03%5BEN%5D.pdf.

24TH SESSION OF THE UNEP GOVERNING COUNCIL/GLOBAL MINISTERIAL ENVIRONMENT FORUM: The meeting will take place from 5-9 February 2007, in Nairobi, Kenya. For more information, contact: Beverly Miller, Secretary for the UNEP Governing Council; tel: +254-20-7621-234; fax: +254-20-7624-489; e-mail: beverly.miller@unep.org; internet: http://www.unep.org.

INTERNATIONAL FORUM ON WATER ENVIRONMENTAL GOVERNANCE IN ASIA: The meeting will be held from 14-15 March 2007 in Bangkok, Thailand, focusing on technologies and institutional systems for water environmental governance. For more information, contact: Secretariat of Water Environment Partnership in Asia (WEPA), c/o Freshwater Resources Management Project, Institute for Global Environmental Strategies; tel: +81-46-855-3730; fax: +81-46-855-3709; e-mail: contact@wepa-db.net; internet: http://www.iges.or.jp.

INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ON COASTAL CONSERVATION AND MANAGEMENT IN THE ATLANTIC AND MEDITERRANEAN 2007: ICCCM07 is scheduled for 22-26 March 2007, in Hammamet, Tunisia. Conference themes include: strategic environmental assessment in coastal areas; integrated coastal zone management; living with erosion; and sustainable coastal tourism. For more information, contact: Mohammed Choura, ICCCM Secretariat; tel: +216-98-414118; fax: +216-74-298053; e-mail: contact@ait.org.tn; internet: http://webpages.fe.up.pt/ihrh/icccm07/.

THE EIGHTH MEETING OF THE UN OPEN-ENDED INFORMAL CONSULTATIVE PROCESS ON OCEANS AND THE LAW OF THE SEA: UNICPOLOS-8 will take place from 25-29 June 2007, at UN headquarters in New York. For more information, contact: UN Division on Ocean Affairs and the Law of the Sea; tel: +1-212-963-3962; fax: +1-212-963-2811; e-mail: doalos@un.org; internet: http://www.un.org/Depts/los/consultative_process/consultative_process.htm.

GEF COUNCIL MEETING: The meeting is scheduled for 4-8 June 2007, in Washington, D.C., US. For more information, contact: GEF Secretariat; tel: +1-202-473-0508; fax: +1-202-522-3240/3245; e-mail: gef@gefweb.org; internet: http://www.gefweb.org.

56TH SESSION OF THE MARINE ENVIRONMENT PROTECTION COMMITTEE OF IMO: The meeting will be held from 9-13 July 2007, in London, UK. For more information, contact: Jean-Claude Sainlos, IMO Secretariat; tel: +44-207-587-3142; fax: +44-207-587-3210; email: jcsainlos@imo.org; internet: http://www.imo.org.

FIRST MEETING OF THE EAS PARTNERSHIP COUNCIL: The meeting will take place in Indonesia in the third quarter of 2007 (venue and time to be confirmed). Its purpose is to provide policy and operational guidance to the implementation of SDS-SEA and to steer and monitor its implementation. For more information, contact: PEMSEA Secretariat; tel: +632-920-2211; fax: +632-926-9712; e-mail: info@permsea.org; internet: http://www.pemsea.org.

 FIFTH INTERNATIONAL COASTAL AND MARINE TOURISM CONGRESS: This event is scheduled for 11-14 September 2007, in Auckland, New Zealand. The theme is “Balancing Marine Tourism, Development, and Sustainability.” For more information, contact: Michael Lück, Congress Secretariat; tel: +64-9-921-9999 ext. 5833; fax: +64-9-921-9975; e-mail: michael.lueck@aut.ac.nz; internet: http://nztri.aut.ac.nz/cmt2007.

FOURTH GLOBAL CONFERENCE ON OCEANS, COASTS AND ISLANDS: This meeting will take place from 7-11 April 2008, at a location to be determined, under the theme “Advancing ecosystem management by 2010 and integrated coastal and ocean management.” For more information, contact: Miriam Balgos, Global Forum Secretariat; tel: +1-302-831-8086; fax: +1-302-831-3668; e-mail: mbalgos@udel.edu; internet: http://www.globaloceans.org.

SECOND MEETING OF THE EAS PARTNERSHIP COUNCIL: The meeting will take place in the third quarter of 2008 (venue and time to be determined). For more information, contact: PEMSEA Secretariat; tel: +632-920-2211; fax: +632-926-9712; e-mail: info@permsea.org; internet: http://www.pemsea.org.

EAST ASIAN SEAS CONGRESS 2009: The congress is scheduled for 2009 in Manila, the Philippines. Its purpose is to monitor and evaluate the implementation of the SDS-SEA, and to provide further policy directions and commitments. For more information, contact: PEMSEA Secretariat; tel: +632-920-2211; fax: +632-926-9712; e-mail: info@permsea.org; internet: http://www.pemsea.org.

GLOSSARY
 

ASEAN-OSPAR
CMC
COBSEA
EAS
EEZ
GIS
GPA
HNS
ICRM
IIMS
IMO
IOC
IUU fishing
LME
MPA
NOAA
OPRF
OSRL/EARL
PEMSEA
PPRF
SDS-SEA
SOA

Association of Southeast Asian Nations’ Oil Spill Preparedness and Response Project
Coastal Management Center
Coordinating Body on the Seas of East Asia
East Asian Seas
Exclusive Economic Zone
Geographic Information System
Global Programme of Action for the Protection of the Marine Environment from Land-based Activities
Hazardous and Noxious Substance
Integrated Coastal Resources Management
Integrated Information Management System
International Maritime Organization
Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission
Illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing
Large Marine Ecosystem
Marine Protected Area
US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
Japan’s Ocean Policy Research Foundation
Oil Spill Response Limited and East Asia Response Limited
Partnerships in Environmental Management for the Seas of East Asia
Project Preparation Revolving Fund
Sustainable Development Strategy for the Seas of East Asia
China’s State Oceanic Administration
The EAS Congress 2006 Bulletin is a publication of the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) <info@iisd.ca>, publishers of the Earth Negotiations Bulletin © <enb@iisd.org>. This issue was written and edited by Robynne Boyd, Andrew Brooke, Xenya Cherny Scanlon, Kunbao Xia and Sarantuyaa Zandaryaa, Ph.D. The Digital Editor is Dan Birchall. The Editor is Soledad Aguilar <soledad@iisd.org>. The Director of IISD Reporting Services is Langston James "Kimo" Goree VI <kimo@iisd.org>. Funding for coverage of this meeting has been provided by the GEF/UNDP/IMO Partnerships in Environmental Management for the Seas of East Asia. IISD can be contacted at 161 Portage Avenue East, 6th Floor, Winnipeg, Manitoba R3B 0Y4, Canada; tel: +1-204-958-7700; fax: +1-204-958-7710. The opinions expressed in the Bulletin are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of IISD. Excerpts from the Bulletin may be used in other publications with appropriate academic citation. Electronic versions of the Bulletin are sent to e-mail distribution lists (HTML and PDF format) and can be found on the IISD RS Linkages WWW-server at <http://www.iisd.ca/>. For information on the Bulletin, including requests to provide reporting services, contact the Director of IISD Reporting Services at <kimo@iisd.org>, +1-646-536-7556 or 212 East 47th St. #21F, New York, NY 10017, USA.