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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

Inaugural EAS Partnership Council Meeting

On Saturday, representatives of PEMSEA country partners, sponsoring agencies, stakeholder partners and observers participated in the inaugural meeting of the East Asian Seas Partnership Council, a new regional mechanism established under the Haikou Partnership Agreement and Partnership Operating Arrangements for the Implementation of the SDS-SEA, signed Friday in Haikou by ministers from 11 countries in the PEMSEA region.

After opening remarks, four letters of cooperation were signed between PEMSEA and partner organizations, and the Partnership Operating Arrangements for the Implementation of the Sustainable Development Strategy for the Seas of East Asia were signed by 12 partner organizations.

Participants then discussed organizational matters, adopted Council Guidelines on the Conduct of Future Council Meetings, and heard statements from partners and observers. After a partner dialogue, discussion turned to the next meeting of the EAS Partnership Council, with Indonesia offering to host the meeting, and Chua Thia-Eng proposing it be held in the third quarter of 2007. Chair Li Haiqing, China, declared the meeting closed at 12:45 pm.

Saturday, 16 December
Opening Ceremony

Li Haiqing, Director General, Department of International Cooperation, State Oceanic Administration, China, said that the signing of the Haikou Partnership Agreement ushers in the implementation phase of the SDS-SEA, noting that this should be applauded.

Alfred Duda, GEF, said the GEF is encouraged to see that its investment in PEMSEA efforts is showing long-term returns. He emphasized that SDS-SEA commitments need progress on the ground by 2009 and highlighted the Council's important role in monitoring progress in implementation.

Jean-Claude Sainlos, IMO, emphasized countries' ownership of the EAS Partnership Council and other partnership operating arrangements to ensure the sustainability of the system through strengthened decision-making and financial mechanisms.

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.

Chua Thia-Eng, PEMSEA, provided an introduction to the EAS Partnership Council.

Stella Regina Bernad, PEMSEA, served as Master of Ceremonies.
Signing Ceremony
Letters of cooperation (LOC) were signed with the Coastal Management Center (CMC), Conservation International (CI); Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission Regional Office for the Western Pacific (IOC/WESTPAC), and UNDP/GEF Yellow Sea Project, with the latter three being new PEMSEA partners.

Twelve stakeholder partners signed the Partnership Operating Arrangements: CMC, CI, IOC/WESTPAC, Korea Environment Institute (KEI), Korea Maritime Institute (KMI), Korea Ocean Research and Development Institute (KORDI), Ocean Policy Research Foundation, Japan (OPRF), Oil Spill Response Limited and East Asia Response Limited (OSRL/EARL), Plymouth Marine Laboratory, UNEP Global Programme of Action for the Protection of the Marine Environment from Land-based Activities (UNEP/GPA), UNDP/GEF Small Grants Programme (SGP), and UNDP/GEF Yellow Sea Project.

Rogelio Juliano, Coastal Management Center, and Chua Thia-Eng, PEMSEA, after signing an LOC.

Romeo Trono, Conservation International, and Chua Thia-Eng, PEMSEA, after signing an LOC.

Wenxi Zhu, IOC/WESTPAC, and Chua Thia-Eng, PEMSEA, after signing an LOC.
Council Meeting

Alam Syah Mapparessa, Indonesia, endorsed adoption of the Guidelines for Future Council Meetings.

John Pernetta, UNEP/GEF South China Sea Project, as an observer, suggested adding paragraphs on consensus and quorum to ensure Council meetings take valid decisions.

Hazri bin Abu Hassan, Singapore, suggested textual changes regarding the distribution of Council meetings' minutes to participants for further amendments, if necessary.

Suh Sung Yoon, Korea Environment Institute, stressed that marine issues cannot be solved without participation of relevant stakeholders, such as research institutions.

Angelita Cunanan, UNDP/GEF Small Grants Programme, said a partnership will enable both PEMSEA and SGP to strengthen community-based approaches to the conservation and protection of marine and coastal resources.

Anjan Datta, UNEP/GPA Coordination Office, noted the links between PEMSEA and the partnership elements of the Beijing Declaration from the second GPA Intergovernmental Review meeting.

Ayako Okubo, Ocean Policy Research Foundation, highlighted OPRF's long-lasting cooperation with PEMSEA and advocated the "Securing the Oceans" concept. She also announced the convening of an international conference on ocean issues in 2007.

Elaine Denning, NOAA, said the EAS Partnership Council is the key to SDS-SEA implementation, pledging support to achieving the goals of the partnership.

Daniel Chan Kok Peng, 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.
Around the EAS Partnership Council

Participants in the inaugural meeting of the EAS Partnership Council posed for a group photo.

EAS Congress 2006 Bulletin IISD reporting team members: Sarantuyaa Zandaryaa, writer, Mongolia; Dan Birchall, digital editor, United States; Robynne Boyd, writer, United States; Andrew Brooke, writer, Australia; Xenya Cherny Scanlon, team leader, Russia; Kunbao Xia, writer, China.

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)