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[The East Asian Seas Congress 2006]

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The East Asian Seas Congress
Haikou, China | 12-16 December, 2006

East Asian Seas Ministerial Forum Opens

On Thursday morning, participants at the East Asian Seas (EAS) Congress convened in plenary to hear keynote presentations, followed by thematic workshops on, inter alia: securing the oceans; communities in sustainable development; and safer shipping and cleaner oceans. Three special seminars were also held on ecosystem-based management, integrating science into coastal and ocean management, and pollution management. In the afternoon, delegates convened in plenary for the closing ceremony of the International Conference and the opening of the Ministerial Forum.

Thursday, 14 December

Paul van Hofwegen, World Water Council, spoke on linkages between water, environment and development. Stressing that 1.1 billion people still lack access to clean drinking water and 2.4 billion - to sanitation, he stressed the need to step up efforts to provide basic sanitation. On achieving the MDG targets on water and sanitation, 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 resources management. Hofwegen concluded that: implementation of the water agenda and management of water resources and services is carried out primarily at the local level; decentralized processes allow for better participation by local stakeholders; institutional capacity depends on adequate infrastructures; and migration and urbanization are essential elements in the planning and development of water services and infrastructure
Su Jilan, Honorary Director, China's State Oceanic Administration (SOA), presented on applying the ecosystem approach to integrated ocean and coastal management, focusing on ecosystem-based management of China's seas. Stressing increasing fish catches from China's seas to meet the food demand of the country's increasing population, he expressed concern regarding "fishing-down" the food web, which may result in ecological extinction of some fish species, and the impacts of bycatch on marine ecosystems. Noting the impracticality of applying the catch-quota management approach to ensure sustainability of Chinese fisheries, Jilan said that China has adopted the fishing-closure management approach and that its strategy for sustainable fisheries is based on the catch-target shift and poly-mariculture. He concluded that challenges for sustainability of marine and coastal ecosystems remain an important area for research and science.
Thematic Workshops

Suprayoga Hadi, Bapenas, Indonesia, spoke on implementing the master plan for post-tsunami rehabilitation and reconstruction in Aceh, stating that using a master plan causes some initial delay in recovery but leads to better long-term results.

Gil Jacinto, University of the Philippines, presented on the marine emergency response system for mariculture areas in Pangasin, the Philippines.

Zou Keyuan, National University of Singapore, presented on the Chinese approach to addressing waste dumping at sea, including recent regulations for prevention of pollution from construction waste.

Carlos Libosada, Sustainable Tourism Consultant, discussed the concepts and practices of sustainable eco-tourism that provide both local economic development and resource protection.

Makamas Suthacheep, Ramkhamhaeng University, Thailand, highlighted lessons learned through coral reef management at the Koh Nanh Yuan Resort.

Hernani Braganza, Mayor, Municipality of Alaminos, Pangasinan, the Philippines, said that uncontrolled fishing had contributed to the degradation of ecosystems in the city's coastal areas.

Duan Lijie, Sun Yatsen University, China, presented results of the application of static and dynamic models using the "Ecopath with Ecosim" simulation method to study the biomass flow in the Pearl River Delta Coastal Sea's ecosystem and the impacts of fishing.

Kenji Hotta, Nihon University, Japan, outlined results of an experimental study on the effect of ocean fertilizer on the growth of seaweeds in the Philippines.

Grace Favila, Sustainable Coastal Tourism in Asia Project, the Philippines, said the Project builds local capability in solid waste management and sanitation systems in prime tourist areas as a way to protect the water quality of beaches and coastal areas and ensure tourism.

Tony Oposa, Philippines Ecological Network, said effective marine conservation depends on three key elements, namely: education; engineering; and enforcement.

Fu Yu, China Institute for Marine Affairs, presented an overview of maritime legislation in China, noting that the first law for the protection of the marine environment was adopted in 1982.

Heidi Schuttenberg, James Cook University, Australia, stressed that mass coral bleaching is taking place in marine ecosystems.

Delfin Ganapin, UNDP, reported on the outcomes of the theme "Communities in Sustainable Development," highlighting the need for: policies to mainstream civil society participation; taking into consideration the carrying capacity of ecosystems when developing aquaculture policies; fisheries co-management; and capacity building, local governance, financing, and partnerships for sustainable eco-tourism development.

Biliana Cicin-Sain, University of Delaware, US, reported on the outcomes of the theme "Securing the Oceans." Noting that ICRM is well-developed in the EAS region, she said recommendations focused on: scaling up ICRM to achieve full coastal coverage; achieving effective compliance and enforcement; establishing national ICRM policies; and strengthening performance indicators.

Jean-Claude Sainlos, IMO, said the "Safer Shipping and Cleaner Oceans" theme addressed IMO conventions and their implementation; regional initiatives on maritime safety and environmental protection; and implementation of effective regional agreements for preparedness and response to marine pollution in East Asia.

Diane James summarized the "Ecosystem-Based Management" theme, which she reiterated is "a way of doing business" - a holistic approach providing an effective basis for decision making.

Hugh Kirkman presented the recommendations on "Certifying Sustainability," highlighted 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.

Cielito Habito reported on the "Local Government Financing for Water, Sewage and Sanitation" theme's outcomes, noting that: water may become the next source of crises in the region; access to sanitation services remains low and privatization record for water and sanitation services is mixed.

Russell Reichelt, Reef and Rainforest Research Centre, Australia, presented the conclusions of the theme "Applying Management-Related Science and Technology," noting that developing GIS databases and maps encourages a consensus approach and a shared vision for conservation and practical measures to achieve sustainable resource use and management.

Cris Evert Lato, 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.

Arthur Hanson, International Institute for Sustainable Development, summarized the outcomes of the International Conference. In closing, he said that PEMSEA and the EAS Congress 2006 have been a success, and paid tribute to Chua Thia-Eng's inspired leadership.
International Conference Closing Ceremony

Panelists applauded Chua Thia-Eng during the closing ceremony.

The co-conveners and Chinese hosts of the East Asian Seas Congress were called to the stage for recognition.
Around the Congress

Student volunteers from the Haikou Vocational Tourism School helped with registration, documents and logistics throughout the week.

Related Coverage

Third GEF Assembly
3rd Global Forum on Oceans, Coasts and Islands
Global Conference on Oceans, Coasts and Islands, 2003
Global Conference on Oceans and Coasts at Rio+10, 2001

Related Links

EAS Congress Partner Organizations
UNEP Global Programme of Action
Global Forum on Oceans, Coasts and Islands
World Ocean Network
Xiamen International Forum for Coastal Cities 2006 (XIFCC 2006)


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