The World Bank and the Partnerships in Environmental Management for the Seas of East Asia (PEMSEA), a multi-country, multi-partners agency for sustainable development, have signed an agreement to address challenges posed by growing populations and continued rural migration to coastal cities in East Asia that are threatening the quality and sustainability of coastal and marine life in one of the world’s most significant oceans.
The partnership will complement the efforts of 11 East Asian countries, the United Nations, the Global Environment Facility and 19 regional partners on protecting mangroves and coral reefs, preventing overfishing, improving water quality, and creating greater preparedness to natural disasters and the effects of climate change, particularly sea level rise.
“The rapidity with which East Asia is urbanizing and the scale of ongoing coastal development is unprecedented and calls for joint action by multi- and bilateral development partners to sustain the life-cycle in and around East Asian Seas for this and future generations,” said Magda Lovei, Sector Manager for social, environmental, and rural issues in the World Bank’s East Asia and Pacific Region. Former Philippine Energy Secretary Raphael Lotilla signed the Memorandum of Understanding as Regional Executive Director of PEMSEA.
The East Asian Seas extend from China, the Korean Peninsula and Japan in the north to Indonesia and Timor Leste in the south. Its shores are home to two billion people and its waters sustain 30% of the world’s coral reefs and 40% of the global fish catch. Sustaining marine and coastal life in the face of rapid development and the threat of climate change has become one of the development priorities for East Asian Countries.
PEMSEA originated as a program of the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) in 1994. Its relationship with the World Bank dates back to 2005, when both parties established an Investment Fund to control pollution. The World Bank and GEF finance projects that control pollution, and respond to the challenges posed by climate change and natural disasters.
The partnership will operate under the Sustainable Development Strategy for the Seas of East Asia (SDS-SEA), PEMSEA’s regional framework for action. The partnership will increase national and regional capacity for sustainable coastal management enabling effective and direct response mechanism onshore.
The World Bank will also use the opportunity of the 2009 East Asian Seas Congress to take stock with partners, share lessons learned from projects, and manage a workshop with PEMSEA on November 24 on "Pollution Reduction, Innovative Policies and Practices" with representation from projects under the Investment Fund for pollution reduction.
Discussions will also be initiated on the best avenues available to scale up programs that would impact policies, institution and investments in support of water quality in countries in the Coral Triangle (Indonesia, Philippines, Pacific Islands).
Contact in Washington DC:
Florian Kitt (1-202) 458-9736
Mohamad Al-Arief (1-202) 458-5964
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