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Towards healthy oceans, people and economies in the region

The East Asian Seas (EAS) Congress 2018: Moving as One with the Global Ocean Agenda

Iloilo, Philippines    
27 - 30 November 2018

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Held triennially, the East Asian Seas (EAS) Congress for 2018 convened a broad range of stakeholders including national and local governments, the United Nations system, intergovernmental organisations, projects partners, international financial institutions, non-governmental organisations, civil society, academia, and others. The forum was organised by the Partnerships in Environmental Management for the Seas of East Asia (PEMSEA) in collaboration with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Philippines, UNDP and GEF. More than 900 delegates and participants from 19 countries attended.

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During the congress opening

The forum focused on aligning recent developments on the environmental fronts with the SDG 14 targets since the Declaration of Regional Cooperation for the Region was first agreed in Putrajaya, Malaysia in 2003; share experiences and assess opportunities and challenges in implementing innovative policies and technologies, good management practices, and investments; build existing partnerships and achievements, as well as promote new initiatives towards sustainable development of oceans and coasts in the region; develop blue economy and growth across the region; and contribute to the planning and development of ocean investment facilities for an ocean-based sustainable growth.       

The EAS programme featured a number of plenary and seminar sessions, dialogues with partners, a youth forum, and an international exhibition. Renowned scientists and experts, policy-makers, managers, and other stakeholders attended.

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Various programmes and activities held at the forum

Cheryl Rita Kaur represented MIMA at two of the Sessions at the Congress i.e., (i) Capitalizing upon blue economy potentials for achieving SDG 14 organised by the Ocean Policy Research Institute (OPRI) Japan and supported by the Nippon Foundation, and (ii) State of the Oceans and Coasts Reporting system relevance to blue economy innovations, emerging industries and governance organised by PEMSEA and DENR.

The discussions focused on conceptual issues of blue economy including its processes, structure and assessment as well as good practices and lessons learned from the region. The role of oceans and ecosystem services and the need to protect and conserve the natural resource to sustain blue economy were emphasised in the discussions. Cooperation among stakeholders with emphasis on good communication and capacity development, were further underscored.

As an outcome, the EAS 2018 agreed to a broad range of aspirations for the region including the reduction and prevention of marine pollution of all kinds, implement policies and programmes for the sustainable management of coastal tourism destinations, implement adaptation and mitigation strategies to respond to climate change, support transition to a sustainable blue economy at the national and regional levels, amongst others. With this in line, Cambodia will be hosting the next EAS Congress in 2021.

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