Partnerships in Environmental Management for the Seas of East Asia (PEMSEA)
The Partnerships in Environmental Management for the Seas of East Asia (“PEMSEA”) is a partnership arrangement involving stakeholders in the Seas of East Asia, including state and non-state parties, to address the “identified threats to the environment and sustainable development of the Seas of East Asia.”
The Sustainable Development Strategy for the Seas of East Asia (“SDS-SEA”), adopted in 2003 by the Partner States through the Putrajaya Declaration of Regional Cooperation is a non-binding informational and aspirational document, which provides a detailed shared vision for implementing sustainable development in the region. It contains information on the Seas of East Asia, including current problems and the potential impact they could have on the region and the world, and presents “A New Paradigm” for the Seas of East Asia, which focuses on an integrated strategy involving governmental partners at all levels, as well as non-governmental stakeholders. It details a framework for this strategy and methods for monitoring its implementation.
The 2006 Haikou Partnership Agreement (“Haikou Agreement”) establishes PEMSEA “as the regional coordinating mechanism for the implementation of the SDS-SEA” and “resolve[s] to transform PEMSEA from the existing project-based arrangement to a self-sustained and effective regional collaborative mechanism.” The Haikou Agreement also broadly details the operational structure of PEMSEA for implementing the SDS-SEA.
The Partnership Operating Arrangements for the Implementation of the Sustainable Development Strategy for the Seas of East Asia (“Partnership Operating Arrangements”) detail the inclusion, rights, and roles of Partners, as well as the four major PEMSEA operating mechanisms. In November 2009, the Partner States adopted the Agreement Recognizing the International Legal Personality of the Partnerships in Environmental Management for the Seas of East Asia (“PEMSEA Legal Personality Agreement”).
In November 2009, the Partner States also signed the Manila Declaration on Strengthening the Implementation of Integrated Coastal Management for Sustainable Development and Climate Change Adaptation in the Seas of East Asia Region (“Manila Declaration”). The Manila Declaration reiterated support for the SDS-SEA and the Haikou Agreement, and reaffirmed the importance of Integrated Coastal Management and set general goals for continuing progress.
The PEMSEA Partner States who signed the Putrajaya Declaration are: Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, China, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, the Philippines, the Republic of Korea, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam. The signatories of the Haikou Agreement are: Cambodia, China, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Indonesia, Japan, Laos, the Philippines, the Republic of Korea, Singapore, Timor-Leste, and Vietnam. The Manila Declaration was signed by Cambodia, China, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Indonesia, Japan, Laos, the Philippines, the Republic of Korea, Singapore, Timor-Leste, and Vietnam.
In addition to the Partner States, PEMSEA includes non-state Partners. These non-state partners include the Association of Southeast Asian Nations Centre for Biodiversity, the Coastal Management Center, Conservation International Philippines, the International Environmental Management of Enclosed Coastal Seas Center, the International Ocean Institute, the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission Sub-Commission for the Western Pacific, the International Union for the Conservation of Nature Asia Regional Office, the Korea Environment Institute, the Korea Maritime Institute, the Korea Ocean Research and Development Institute, the Northwest Pacific Action Plan, the Ocean Policy and Research Foundation, Oil Spill Response, the Plymouth Marine Laboratory, the PEMSEA Network of Local Governments for Sustainable Coastal Development, the Swedish Environmental Secretariat for Asia, the United Nations Development Programme (“UNDP”)/Global Environment Facility (“GEF”) Small Grants Programme, the United Nations Environment Programme (“UNEP”) Global Programme of Action, and the UNDP/GEF Yellow Sea Large Marine Ecosystem Project.
The SDS-SEA defines the Seas of East Asia as those bordered by China, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, the Republic of Korea, Japan, the Philippines, Indonesia, Brunei Darussalam, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Cambodia, and Vietnam. Of these, the East China Sea, the Yellow Sea, the South China Sea, the Sulu-Celebes Sea, and the Indonesian Seas are of particular economic and ecological importance.
Pursuant to the PEMSEA Legal Personality Agreement, PEMSEA has international legal personality, including the legal capacity to contract, to hold and dispose of property, and such other legal capacity as need to perform its functions. PEMSEA has its seat in Metro Manila in the Philippines.
PEMSEA’s role “as the regional coordinating mechanism for the implementation of the [SDS-SEA]” is to “facilitate the realization of the shared vision, mission, action programmes and desired changes of the SDS-SEA.” The SDS-SEA’s purpose is to set forth a “package of applicable principles, relevant existing regional and international action programmes, agreements, and instruments, as well as implementation approaches, for achieving sustainable development of the Seas of East Asia.”
The implementation of Integrated Coastal Management programs is a priority for PEMSEA, with the Partner States establishing regional targets of having Integrated Coastal Management programs in place in at least 20% of the coasts in the region and of having 70% of the countries in the region adopt national coastal and ocean policies. The signatories of the Manila Declaration also called upon PEMSEA to develop an Implementation Plan for the SDS-SEA in order to strengthen Integrated Coastal Management programs across the region and to encourage collaborative education and training activities related to Integrated Coastal Management and climate change. The Manila Declaration also established a list of priorities designed to strengthen the implementation of Integrated Coastal Management programs, including:
- Setting up sub-regional and national coordinating mechanisms for strengthening existing mechanisms to oversee and guide the implementation of [Integrated Coastal Management] programmes;
- Mainstreaming [Integrated Coastal Management] into development plans and programmes at the sub-regional, national and local levels, including the conservation, rehabilitation and management of sub-regional seas and related watershed areas;
- Delineating highly vulnerable coastal areas, coastal communities and resources and habitats, as well as vulnerable sectors of society, including the poor, women and the youth, and strengthening their capacity to respond and adapt to the impacts of climate change;
- Developing and applying land- and sea-use zoning plans and schemes;
- Implementing capacity building and technical assistance programmes to strengthen leadership capacities, skills and scientific and technical capabilities, including local governments’ capacity to develop and implement [Integrated Coastal Management] programmes;
- Applying [Integrated Coastal Management] good practices as guidance in developing and implementing [Integrated Coastal Management] programmes;
- Employing a range of new and alternative financing mechanisms to develop, implement and sustain [Integrated Coastal Management] programmes and managing available funds in a cost-effective and cost-efficient manner;
- Carrying out habitat restoration and management programmes, including coral reefs, seagrass beds, coastal wetlands and mangroves, and establishing marine protected areas, as appropriate, based on scientifically sound information, in order to improve the natural defenses on coastal and marine ecosystem[s] to the impacts of climate change and to enhance carbon sequestration capacities of relevant habitats;
- Formulating and implementing disaster risk management programmes including preparing for, responding to and recovering from natural and man-made disasters; and
- Sharing information and knowledge on the development and application of innovative policies, legislation, technologies and practices in support of [Integrated Coastal Management] programmes, as well as the social, economic and environmental benefits being derived.
At the 2009 EAS Congress, the International Conference (see Organizational Structure) concentrated on six themes – (1) coastal and ocean governance, (2) natural and man-made hazard prevention and management, (3) habitat protection, restoration and management, (4) water use and supply management, (5) food security and livelihood management, and (6) pollution reduction and waste management. In addressing these themes, the overriding objectives were to provide a venue for the exchange of information concerning ecosystem-based approaches to managing coastal and marine areas; evaluate the progress made since the last EAS Congress (including in regards to implementing international environmental instruments) and discuss new approaches to address remaining challenges at the local, national, and regional level; review experiences applying Integrated Coastal Management programs at the local level; encourage partnerships to overcome capacity barriers and to promote more effective coastal and ocean management; and provide recommendations to the PEMSEA Partners concerning the continued implementation of the SDS-SEA.
PEMSEA has four main operating mechanisms: the East Asian Seas (“EAS”) Congress, the EAS Partnership Council, the PEMSEA Resource Facility, and the Regional Partnership Fund.
The EAS Congress is held every three years and consists of a Ministerial Forum and an International Conference. The Ministerial Forum is responsible for proving policy direction and commitments intended to improve and strengthen the implementation of the SDS-SEA. The International Conference, which is designed to serve as a large forum, is charged with:
- Monitoring and evaluating the implementation of the SDS-SEA;
- Facilitating knowledge exchange, advocacy and multi-stakeholder participation, through sessions, workshops, side events and exhibitions, etc.;
- Promoting the ocean agenda as a priority programme in international and regional forums;
- Promoting the development of financing mechanisms and investment opportunities for sustainable coastal and marine development;
- Encouraging corporate responsibility and accountability in the business community; and
- Discussing specific sectoral and cross-sectoral issues and concerns, as well as partnership arrangements for the subregional seas or environmentally sensitive areas, for the implementation of the SDS-SEA.
The EAS Congress’ conclusions and recommendations are then presented to the EAS Partnership Council for implementation.
The EAS Partnership Council (“Council”) is a regular body composed of all PEMSEA Partners (both state and non-state parties) that “formulates both program and operational policy in support of the implementation of the SDS-SEA, based on policy direction, recommendations and commitments of the Ministerial Forum, the EAS Congress and other Partners.” The Council consists of an Executive Committee and Intergovernmental and Technical Sessions. The Council elects a Chair, who serves a three year term and also acts as Chair of the Executive Committee and sits in the Intergovernmental and Technical Sessions. In addition, the Intergovernmental and Technical Sessions each elect (for a three-year term) a Chair for their respective Sessions. The Session Chairs also sit on the Executive Committee.
The Executive Committee operates between meetings of the Council and addresses pressing business issues. The Executive Committee is also responsible for overseeing the implementation of the Council’s decisions and submitting reports to the Council. It is comprised of the Council Chair, the Chairs of the Intergovernmental Session and the Technical Session, and the Executive Director of the PEMSEA Resources Facility (who serves as Secretary to both the Council and the Executive Committee). The members of the Executive Committee also serve as the officers of the Council.
The Intergovernmental Session, which consists of representatives from the Partner States, “considers and decides on the recommendations of the Technical Session, and provides policy guidance, coordination and evaluation of the progress of the SDS-SEA implementation.” The Technical Session, which consists of representatives from the Partner States as well as other parties to PEMSEA, “discusses matters related to the scientific, technical and financial aspects of SDS-SEA implementation and makes appropriate recommendation to the Intergovernmental Session.”
The PEMSEA Resource Facility (“PRF”) is responsible for providing Secretariat and Technical Services related to the implementation of the SDS-SEA. Secretariat Service includes: providing support to the Council, the Executive Committee, the Ministerial Forum, the Regional Partnership Fund and the EAS Congress; assisting in knowledge transfer and capacity building; compiling proposals for new initiatives and gathering resources for the proposals’ implementation; reporting to the Council on program development and implementation (including submitting financial statements); monitoring the implementation of the SDS-SEA; overseeing the updating of the SDS-SEA; and performing any other tasks as may be required by the Council. In terms of Technical Service, the PRF is tasked with: developing and enacting (in cooperation with the Secretariat Service) a business plan and marketing strategy concerning the implementation of the SDS-SEA; providing technical, financial, investment, and management assistance for specific projects; developing a certification for good practices regarding the implementation of the SDS-SEA; submitting operation and management recommendations for the Regional Partnership Fund to the Council; and implementing decisions and projects approved by the Council. An Executive Director is in charge of the PRF and is responsible for coordinating the Secretariat and Technical Services (especially in regards to program development and implementation).
The PEMSEA Regional Partnership Fund manages contributions from multiple sources, with a focus on promoting the self-sustainability of PEMSEA as a regional mechanism. See Funding and Financing.
According to the Partnership Operating Arrangements, Partners to PEMSEA include: “a) Countries of the Seas of East Asia region; b) Other countries using the Seas of East Asia region; c) Local governments in the region; d) Communities in the region; e) Non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and other members of civil society in the region; f) Research and educational institutions; g) The private sector; h) UN and international agencies that support or sponsor the implementation of the SDS-SEA; i) Financial institutions that support or sponsor the implementation of the SDS-SEA; and j) Other Concerned regional and global entities and programmes.” See also Member States.
In addition, participants in the EAS Congress have included representatives from national and local governments, the private sector, scientific organizations, academic institutions, non-governmental organization and community organizations. For example, the 2009 EAS Congress had almost 1,500 participants.
Decision making in PEMSEA is done by the Council. The Council, which meets every eighteen months, makes decisions by consensus.
No specific provision.
One of the objectives of the SDS-SEA is to mobilize governments, civil society and the private sector to use innovative communication methods. To achieve this aim and to enhance the dissemination of data related to coastal and marine environmental and resource management, the SDS-SEA encourages the use of local, national and regional networks to distribute information, the creation of online resource centers, the establishment of a news monitoring and quick response systems, and the establishment of partnerships with international agencies in order to strengthen technical skills related to information sharing.
In addition, the Partnership Operating Arrangements call upon the Partners to “[s]trengthen communication and dialogue with each other regarding activities affecting the implementation of the SDS-SEA,” and indicate that the Partners have the right “[t]o participate in PEMSEA’s knowledge sharing network.” Additionally, the International Conference of the EAS Congress serves as a forum to “[f]acilitat[e] knowledge exchange, advocacy and multi-stakeholder participation, through sessions, workshops, side events and exhibitions, etc.”
In the Manila Declaration, the Partner States agreed to report, every three years, on their progress in implementing Integrated Coastal Managements programs, including measures undertaken in regards to climate change adaptation.
The Regional Partnership Fund, which was set up by the Council, “receives voluntary financial contributions from countries, international agencies, donors, institutions, individuals and any other entity for the implementation of the SDS-SEA.” The depositary of this money is to be a sponsoring United Nations agency. In addition, the Council is authorized to hold fund-raising events (such as meetings of donors) in order to supplement the funds.
The Executive Committee manages the Regional Partnership Fund and its distribution, including through developing policies and operations guidelines for funding, disbursement, management, and audit, issuing guidance on voluntary contributions received from Partner States, ensuring earmarked funds are properly managed, and appointing a Regional Partnership Fund manager.
Article I(2) of the PEMSEA Legal Personality Agreement specifies that “this Agreement imposes no obligation on any of the Parties, and in particular, imposes no obligation to provide any form of financial contribution or support to PEMSEA or to guarantee any of the liabilities, debts and other financial obligations incurred by PEMSEA.” But, the PRF does receive financial support from China, Japan, the Republic of Korea, and the Philippines.
Some of the objectives and action programs described in the SDS-SEA discuss benefit sharing. For example, in terms of the SDS-SEA objective of safeguarding rare, threatened and endangered species and genetic resources, the SDS calls for the development of benefit-sharing arrangement for bioprospecting activities (i.e., performing scientific research that is focused on discovering a useful application, process, or product in nature), based on the prior informed consents from the government and local communities.
There are several informal PEMSEA monitoring mechanisms. The International Conference of the EAS Congress is a forum that is intended to monitor and evaluate the implementation of the SDS-SEA; the Secretariat Service of the PRF is tasked with monitoring and reporting on the implementation of the SDS•SEA; and the Council receives reports and monitors the progress of SDS-SEA implementation and the status of work programs.
In addition, a series of indicators have been developed to monitor the status of the implementation of the SDS-SEA. These indicators are intended to measure: (a) institutional activities (i.e., “the individual and collective policy, legal, and administrative actions of countries, in accordance with the [SDS-SEA]”), (b) operational activities (“measures taken by countries to halt, mitigate, adapt to, or prevent damage to the environment caused by natural processes and human activities, as defined in the [SDS-SEA]”), and (c) environmental state (“quality and quantity of natural resources, and the state of human and ecological health.”)
Stakeholders are eligible to be Partners in PEMSEA. See Relationships and Member States.
As described in the Haikou Agreement:
We consider partnership as an effective mechanism to facilitate concerted actions in our common endeavour to implement the SDS-SEA as it gives due consideration to the initiatives, shared responsibilities, desired outcomes, mutually supportive roles and the need to address disparities in capacity among the concerned countries and other stakeholders, including national and local governments, international agencies, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), the private sector, academic and scientific institutions, communities, financial institutions and donor agencies.
The PEMSEA Legal Personality Agreement provides that a party may withdraw from the Agreement by submitting a written notice of withdrawal to the Executive Director of the PRF. The party’s withdrawal will become effective one year from the date the notice was received.
- PEMSEA, available at http://www.pemsea.org.
- Partnership in Environmental Management for the Seas of East Asia (1994-2010) – A Regional Mechanism Facilitating Sustainable Environmental Benefits in River Basins, Coasts, Islands and Seas, 2007, available at http://pemsea.org/about-pemsea/PEMSEA-Portfolio.pdf.
- The East Asian Seas Congress 2009 – Proceedings of the International Conference on Sustainable Coastal and Ocean Development, 23-26 Nov. 2009, available at http://pemsea.org/pdf-documents/pemsea-documents/easc2009-proceedings.pdf.
- PEMSEA Accomplishment Report 2008-2010, 2010, available at http://www.pemsea.org/pdf-documents/publications-1/accomplishment-report-08-10.pdf.
- Putrajaya Declaration of Regional Cooperation for the Sustainable Development of the Seas of East Asia and Sustainable Development Strategy for the Seas of East Asia – Regional Implementation of the World Summit on Sustainable Development Requirements for the Coasts and Oceans, 12 Dec. 2003, available at http://pemsea.org/pdf-documents/sds-sea/SDSSEA-Full.pdf.
- Raphael Lotilla (PEMSEA), Phillipines — by Christian Ledermann — last modified Oct 27, 2013 09:06 AM
Depending on the project scope the treaty may not be applicable to all projects
- Preparation of A Strategic Action Programme (SAP) and Transboundary Diagnostic Analysis (TDA) for the Tumen River Area, Its Coastal Regions and Related Northeast Asian Environs
- Livestock Waste Management in East Asia
- East Asian Seas Region: Development and Implementation of Public Private Partnerships in Environmental Investments
- Ningbo Water and Environment Project - under WB/GEF Partnership Investment Fund for Pollution Reduction in the LME of East Asia
- CTI Integrated Natural Resources and Environmental Management Sector
- Coastal Cities Environment and Sanitation Project - under WB/GEF Partnership Investment Fund for Pollution Reduction in the LME of East Asia
- Huai River Basin Marine Pollution Reduction
- Prevention and Management of Marine Pollution in the East Asian Seas
- CTI GEF IW: LEARN: Portfolio Learning in International Waters with a Focus on Oceans, Coasts, and Islands and Regional Asia/Pacific and Coral Triangle Learning Processes - under the Coral Triangle Initiative
- Reducing Pollution and Rebuilding Degraded Marine Resources in the East Asian Seas through Implementation of Intergovernmental Agreements and Catalyzed Investments (PROGRAM)
- Building Partnerships for the Environmental Protection and Management of the East Asian Seas
- Reducing Environmental Stress in the Yellow Sea Large Marine Ecosystem (YSLME)
- Shanghai Agricultural and Non-Point Pollution Reduction project (SANPR) - under WB/GEF Strategic Partnership Investment Fund for Pollution Reduction in the LME of East Asia
- Implementation of the Arafura and Timor Seas Regional and National Strategic Action Programs
- Reduction of Environmental Impact from Tropical Shrimp Trawling Through the Introduction of By-Catch Reduction Technologies and Change of Management
- CTI Arafura and Timor Seas Ecosystem Action Programme (ATSEA) - under the Coral Triangle Initiative
- Removal of Barriers to the Effective Implementation of Ballast Water Control and Management Measures in Developing Countries (GloBallast)
- Nature Conservation and Flood Control in the Yangtze River Basin
- Guangdong-Pearl River Delta Urban Environment
- Coastal Resources for Sustainable Development: Mainstreaming the Application of Marine Spatial Planning Strategies, Biodiversity Conservation and Sustainable Use
- Enabling Transboundary Cooperation for Sustainable Management of the Indonesian Seas
- Implementing the Strategic Action Programme for the South China Sea
- Mainstreaming Integrated Water and Environment Management
- CTI Strategies for Fisheries Bycatch Management
- Reversing Environmental Degradation Trends in the South China Sea and Gulf of Thailand (SCS)
- Marine Electronic Highway Demonstration
- Building Partnerships to Assist Developing Countries to Reduce the Transfer of Harmful Aquatic Organisms in Ships' Ballast Water (GloBallast Partnerships)
- LME-EA Scaling Up Partnership Investments for Sustainable Development of the Large Marine Ecosystems of East Asia and their Coasts (PROGRAM)
- EAS Implementation of the Yellow Sea LME Strategic Action Programme for Adaptive Ecosystem-Based Management
- Global Sustainable Supply Chains for Marine Commodities
- Implementation of Sustainable Development Strategy for the Seas of East Asia
- Coastal and Marine Resources Management in the Coral Triangle-Southeast Asia (CTI-SEA)
- CTI Sulu-Celebes Sea Sustainable Fisheries Management Project (SCS)
- CTI West Pacific-East Asia Oceanic Fisheries Management Project - under the Coral Triangle Initiative
- Manila Third Sewerage Project (MTSP) - under WB/GEF Partnership Investment Fund for Pollution Reduction in the LME of East Asia
- Liaoning Medium Cities Infrastructure - under WB/GEF Partnership Investment Fund for Pollution Reduction in the LME of East Asia
- Second Shandong Environment - under WB/GEF Partnership Investment Fund for Pollution Reduction in the LME of East Asia
- Mekong River Basin Water Utilization Project
- Ship Waste Disposal
- Hai River Basin Integrated Water Resources Management
- Bay of Bengal Large Marine Ecosystem
- EAS Sustainable Management of Highly Migratory Fish Stocks in the West Pacific and East Asian Seas
- Establishment and Operation of a Regional System of Fisheries Refugia in the South China Sea and Gulf of Thailand
- EAS Scaling up the Implementation of the Sustainable Development Strategy for the Seas of East Asia
- Guangdong Agricultural Pollution Control
- Agusan River Basin Integrated Water Resources Management
- Participatory Planning and Implementation in the Management of Shantou Intertidal Wetland
- Demonstration of Community-based Mgt of Seagrass Habitats in Trikora Beach East Bintan, Riau Archipelago Province, Indonesia
- PAS Strengthening Coastal and Marine Resources Management in the Coral Triangle of the Pacific - under the Pacific Alliance for Sustainability Program
- World Bank/GEF Partnership Investment Fund for Pollution Reduction in the Large Marine Ecosystems of East Asia (Tranche 1, Installment 2) (from November 05 WP)
- Demonstration of Sustainable Management of Coral Reef Resources in the Coastal Waters of Ninh Hai District, Ninh Thuan Province, Viet Nam
- Removal of Barriers to the Introduction of Cleaner Artisanal Mining and Extraction Technologies