Ochheuteal Beach, Sihanoukville, Cambodia. Photo credit: Sihanoukville PMO
Preparations for the 2021 East Asian Seas (EAS) Congress are now in full swing as Partnerships in Environmental Management for the Seas of East Asia (PEMSEA), the Royal Government of Cambodia and the Ministry of Environment, Province of Preah Sihanouk, have unveiled the line-up of activities for this year’s highly anticipated event. The 2021 EAS Congress, the seventh in a series of triennial ocean conferences, will be held on December 1-2 virtually, and onsite in Sihanoukville, Cambodia.
Themed “Charting a New Decade of H.O.P.E. (Healthy Oceans, People and Economies),” the EAS Congress aims to usher in better, stronger and smarter regional actions that are strategically aligned with the key principles and targets of the global ocean agenda. The event is open to a broad range of stakeholders, including national and local governments, the United Nations system, other intergovernmental organizations, bilateral and multi-lateral projects, international financial institutions, non-government and civil society organizations, academic institutions, the scientific community, and the private sector.
On December 1, Deputy Prime Minister Chea Sophara of the Royal Government of Cambodia will deliver the keynote address. He will be joined by Minister Say Samal of the Ministry of Environment and overall Chair of the EAS Congress 2021, and Governor Kuoch Chamroeun of the Provincial Administration of Preah Sihanouk, host of the PEMSEA Network of Local Governments. Mr. Arief Yuwono, EAS Partnership Council Chair, will be delivering remarks on behalf of PEMSEA.
The conference will feature a plenary session focusing on the future of the coasts and ocean in the region with global experts such as: Dr. Andrew Hudson, Head, Water and Ocean Governance Programme, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP); Sir Danny Alexander, Vice President for Policy and Strategy, Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB); and Dr. Gil Jacinto, Philippine National Focal Person for the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission.
INAUGURATION OF PEMSEA NETWORK OF LEARNING CENTERS (PNLC)
Also happening on December 1 is the inauguration of the PNLC, which will feature the approval of the network’s Charter formalizing the PNLC which will implement the PEMSEA Training and Capacity Development Plan for the next 5 years.
Launched in 2015, the PNLC is a forum for information exchange, networking and sharing of expertise and experience on Integrated Coastal Management (ICM) across countries in the EAS region. It is comprised of professionals and scientific experts from several universities and scientific institutes that include PEMSEA’s Regional Centers of Excellence (RCOE) and ICM Learning Centers. Currently, the network has 18 members from nine countries in Asia.
ANNUAL FORUM OF PEMSEA NETWORK OF LOCAL GOVERNMENTS (PNLG)
The PNLG is a self-sustaining network of local governments implementing ICM programs with a view to pursuing blue economy pathway. On December 1, PNLG members will convene a General Assembly focused on the approval of the 2022-2030 PNLG Strategic Action Plan (SAP) which will feature strengthening governance and partnerships, implementation of management programs related to the four UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs 6, 11, 13, 14), and enhancing monitoring, evaluation and reporting; agreement on the PNLG Declaration entitled “PNLG Leadership for the Decade of Action for Sustainable Development of the Coasts and Oceans through Integrated Coastal Management”; election of new PNLG officers; induction of Busan as the 55th PNLG member; and announcement of Tangerang regency (Indonesia) as the local government host of the 2022 PNLG Annual Forum.
Capping the events on Day 1 is PEMSEA’s Partnership Night, a homecoming segment featuring former and current partners, staff, sponsors and stakeholders. A key feature of the celebration is the launching of The PEMSEA Story, a coffee table book and online publication that chronicles PEMSEA’s journey from its early days as a regional marine pollution project to becoming a regional coordinating mechanism for the implementation of the Sustainable Development Strategy for the Seas of East Asia (SDS-SEA).
On December 2, 2021, the EAS Congress will culminate with the signing of the 7th EAS Ministerial Declaration during the 7th Ministerial Forum. Senior government officials from PEMSEA’s 11 Country Partners will be signing the declaration that features action points towards the fulfillment of PEMSEA’s Roadmap to 2030.
The two-day 2021 EAS Congress will be hosted by CNN Philippines news anchor and correspondent Ms. Mitzi Borromeo.
(Ms) Reggie U. Olalia
PEMSEA Communications Specialist