The International Conference of the 5th East Asian Seas (EAS) Congress closed in the central city of Da Nang in the morning of November 20 after three days of working.
The closing ceremony saw chairs of the sessions presenting workshop conclusions and recommendations regarding the management, exploitation and use of natural resources, and the protection of the marine environment, ecological systems, biodiversity, coastal areas and islands for further study and expanded application.
Vietnamese Vice Minister of Natural Resources and Environment Chu Pham Ngoc Hien, who chaired Session 1 on “A decade of partnerships in sustainable development of the seas of East Asia: Synergies and achievements”, said the UN conventions on the law of the sea and protection of the marine environment and other documents served as major principles in guiding the implementation of ocean-related policies at national and regional levels.
According to the Vice Minister and many delegates, expanding integrated coastal management (ICM) and improving coastal and ocean governance are essential ways to respond to climate change and mitigate disaster risks.
The Sustainable Development Strategy for the Seas of East Asia 2015 provides a proper framework and infrastructure to implement regional and international commitments and strengthen internal resources in coordinating national and regional programmes.
The delegates also emphasised the need to enhance partnerships, including inter-sector links, in response to climate change and mitigation of disaster risks.
Based on the conclusions, Vice Minister Hien put forth recommendations, including the early approval and implementation of international tools such as the UN Convention on Climate Change, and the institutionalisation of international commitments, regional strategies and programmes, and national action plans.
He called on countries strengthen cooperation in large-scale marine ecological programmes and continue perfecting laws, polices and mechanisms in the field.
Prof. Wong Poh Poh , Chair of Session 2 and Dr. Zhanhai Zhang, Chair of Session 3, and presented their session conclusions and recommendations, confirming that ICM is an effective coastal management mechanism to mitigate environmental pollution and protect biodiversity.
However, to effectively apply this mechanism, nations should have their own visions and draw the participation of all related parties, their governments and private sectors, particularly communities, they stressed.
Besides, nations and regions should publish handbooks to guide public actions, establish mechanisms to manage funds and incorporate ICM into the management of water resources and river valleys.
Following the presentations of the session chairs, leaders of the Ministries of Natural Resources and Environment of Vietnam, Cambodia, the Philippines and related parties attended discussions on building a sustainable sea- and coast-based economy, sustainable use of natural resources and coasts, and challenges posed by marine pollution to the building of blue economy.
Vietnam handed over the flag of the EAS Congress to Cambodia – the host of the 6th EAS Congress and Ministerial Forum in 2018.
The 5th EAS Congress will continue with the 5th Ministerial Forum in the afternoon of November 20 and a field-trip to Da Nang city’s coastal areas on November 21.