The Partnerships in Environmental Management for the Seas of East Asia (PEMSEA) recently inked an agreement with the Philippine government formalizing the location of its international headquarters in the country, specifically at the compound of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) in Quezon City.
The headquarters agreement (HQA) was signed between Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) Secretary Albert del Rosario and PEMSEA Executive Director Raphael Lotilla at the DFA in Pasay City. The signing was witnessed by officials of the DFA and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), led by Undersecretary Analiza Teh and representing DENR Secretary Ramon J. P. Paje, as well as other PEMSEA officials.
Paje said that the DENR welcomed the agreement and committed the agency’s continued support to PEMSEA. “PEMSEA’s operations within the DENR compound allows not only us but the Philippine government in general, to continue working closely with the PEMSEA and all its partners in ensuring the protection and development of our marine and coastal resources within the East Asian region,” he said.
The collaboration with the PEMSEA shall also ensure the continued implementation of DENR programs geared towards the long-term social and economic development of the country’s coastal and marine areas, he added.
PEMSEA is a partnership arrangement among 11 country and 20 non-country partners, starting out as project-based but transformed in 2006 as a regional mechanism to implement the Sustainable Development Strategy for the Seas of East Asia (SDS-SEA). It operates mainly through the PEMSEA Resource Facility, which provides secretariat and technical services to the partnership council.
The HQA affirms the 2007 pact between the DENR and the PEMSEA on the provision of office facilities within the DENR compound, where it had been housed since 1993.
The agreement also affirms another agreement in 2009 among eight of the PEMSEA country partners including the Philippines, which recognized the partnership’s international legal personality. The other countries that signed the agreement were Cambodia, China, North and South Koreas, Indonesia, Laos, and Timor-Leste.
In the Philippines, the PEMSEA and the DENR have been implementing integrated coastal management programs to address the challenges of governance of coastal areas. Its project demonstration areas are located in Batangas, Balayan and Tayabas Bays in Batangas; Guimaras Island in Western Visayas; and in Bataan.
Along with the Global Environment Fund, the United Nations Development Programme, and the International Maritime Organization or GEF//UNDP/IMO, the PEMSEA and the Philippine Government also launched the Manila Bay Environmental Management Project in 2000 to plan, develop and manage the Bay’s marine and coastal resources.
The PEMSEA hosts the East Asian Seas Congress, a ministerial forum and an international conference held every three years to track the progress of the SDS-SEA implementation. The last congress was held in 2009 in the Philippines, while the next would be this August in Korea.