A Vietnamese government leader has called for joint efforts to maintain the seas of East Asia as an environment of peace and stability, promote the enforcement of international laws, and ensure maritime and air transportation and safety.
Addressing the opening ceremony of the 5th East Asian Seas (EAS) Congress themed “Global targets, local benefits – Setting the Sustainable Development Agenda for the Seas of East Asia beyond 2015” in the central city of Danang on November 16, Deputy Prime Minister Hoang Trung Hai affirmed that Vietnam will cooperate with related countries and organisations to maintain the blue colour of the seas and the blue colour of peace for an East Asian region of peace, stability, cooperation and development.
Related parties must strengthen bilateral and multilateral cooperation in the seas as well as in the field of environmental protection, biodiversity and fishery resources for the sustainable development of marine, coastal and island economy, he said.
The Vietnamese government leader also stressed the need to successfully implement the Sustainable Development Strategy for the Seas of East Asia (SDS-SEA) and other international commitments related to the sustainable development of seas, coasts and islands, and strengthen cooperation between countries in addressing regional issues.
Developing the blue economy with the blue ocean and blue planet standards based on the rational use of all marine potentials and sustainably developing the seas are other important tasks, he noted.
According to the leader, Vietnam has achieved progress in reducing marine pollution, preventing the degradation trend of mangrove forests, recovering marine biodiversity and fishery resources, and begins to reduce the degradation of coral and other ecological systems.
Under its sustainable development goal until 2020, Vietnam will try to become a strong country by the sea, rich from the sea and marine economy contributes about 55% of its GDP and 60% of export revenue.
In his speech, Minister of Natural Resources and Environment Nguyen Minh Quang said, in recent years, Vietnam has spared no efforts to implement the Agenda 21 on sustainable development, with a focus placed on the sustainable development of its sea.
With assistance from international organisations, especially the Partnerships in Environmental Management for the Seas of East Asia (PEMSEA), Vietnam has actively implemented integrated coastal management in provinces across the country and reaped encouraging results.
Meanwhile, Pratibha Mehta, UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative in Vietnam affirmed the UN’s support for PEMSEA’s initiative to hold East Asian Seas Congresses with the aim of maintaining the sustainable development of the regional seas. She expressed her hope that PEMSEA will become an independent organisation so as to further advance the sustainable development of the seas in East Asia.
Within the framework of the triennial congress, a series of seminars, forums and roundtable talks will be held, serving as platforms for scientists and managers to share experience, initiatives and achievements in the management and sustainable development of natural resources and maritime environment protection, especially in the East Asian seas.
The congress and related events are also seen as chances for organisations and concerned parties in the region to define the key targets, schedule and opportunities for cooperation, thereby setting the sustainable development agenda for the seas of East Asia beyond 2015.
As an international cooperation mechanism, PEMSEA was established in 1994 on the basis of agreement between parties regarding the East Asian seas, including 12 countries, private sectors, research and education institutes, international and financial organisations, and donors. PEMSEA is also a regional coordination mechanism to implement the SDS-SEA.
The nations involved in PEMSEA comprise Cambodia, China, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Indonesia, Japan, Laos, the Philippines, the Republic of Korea, Singapore, Timor Leste, Thailand and Vietnam.