PH to host East Asian Sea meet amid Boracay crisis

As the government tackles the Boracay crisis, the Philippines will play host to a regional conference that aims to address ocean and coastal area degradation through the sustainable management and use of marine resources, seas and oceans.

The East Asian Sea (EAS) Congress is slated for Nov. 27-23 at the Iloilo International Convention Center, with the theme: “25 years of Partnership for Healthy Oceans, People and Economies: Moving as One with the Global Ocean Agenda.”

The event is co-organized by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and the Partnerships in Environmental Management of the Seas of East Asia (PEMSEA).

“True to its commitment to conserve and protect the marine and coastal resources of the country and the region, the Philippines is honored to host the East Asian Seas (EAS) Congress 2018 through the DENR and the Provincial Government of Iloilo,” said DENR Secretary Roy A. Cimatu.

He said the country looks forward to a “very dynamic exchange of knowledge, commitments to partnerships and joint action among all participants” to the regional meeting.

Cimatu said the issue of protecting the ocean’s health has brought in deeper meaning to the country with the closure of Boracay to pave the way for its rehabilitation from environmental degradation.

“Boracay is a case in point of how neglect and blatant disregard of environmental laws lead to destruction of our land and seas and all the natural resources and biodiversity in them,” Cimatu pointed out.

The 2018 EAS Congress seeks to align the implementation of the Sustainable Development Strategy for the SEA and other sub-regional and regional strategies and action plans with Sustainable Development Goal No. 14 on life below water, which targets the conservation and sustainable use of marine resources, seas and oceans.

The conference draws from the commitments and calls for action of last year’s United Nations Ocean Conference held in New York, USA where 193 countries unanimously agreed on measures to reverse the decline of ocean’s health.

One of the calls for action is the implementation of strategies to reduce the use of plastic bags and single-use plastic.

Expected to attend the event are stakeholders from national and local governments, the UN system, intergovernmental organizations, bilateral and multi-lateral projects, and international financial institutions. Representatives of non-government and civil society organizations, academic institutions, the scientific community and the private sector are also invited to take part in the event.

An initiative of PEMSEA, the 2018 EAS Congress is the sixth in a series of triennial ocean conferences in the region.

PEMSEA is a pioneering region-wide platform for capacity-building, strategic action and cooperation for the sustainable development of the SEA.

It has been described as an intellectual marketplace where various groups all across the globe come together to share knowledge and experiences and engage in dynamic discussions on trends, issues and concerns related to coastal and ocean governance. ###