TO build commitments in the conservation and sustainable use of marine resources, seas and oceans in the East Asian region, environment ministers, marine experts, ocean advocates, regional partners and other stakeholders will be converging in Iloilo City for the East Asian Seas Congress 2018.
The congress, which will be held from Nov. 27 to 30 at the Iloilo International Convention Center, will be the second for the Philippines to host such conference.
The expected commitment to be gained in the EAS Congress is mandated under the United Nations.
Sustainable Development Goals where East Asian countries play a crucial role in meeting the global ocean agenda: Goal No. 14 or Life Below Water, which targets the conservation and sustainable use of marine resources, seas and oceans.
Over 900 participants from across Asia, Europe, North America and Australia are expected to attend the conference.
Environment and Natural Resources Secretary Roy A. Cimatu is expected to open the congress on Nov. 27 with a welcome remarks. As host province, Iloilo Gov. Arthur D. Defensor Sr. is also set to welcome the delegates.
Dr. Antonio La Viña, chair of EAS Partnership Council, will give the opening remarks, to be followed by a message from UN Resident Coordinator Ola Almgren. PEMSEA Chair Emeritus Dr. Chua Thla-Eng will officially declare the opening of the 2018 EAS Congress.
Organizers of the event -- the DENR and the Partnerships in Environmental Management for Seas of East Asia (PEMSEA) -- said delegates from government agencies, civil society, academe, business, NGOs, international agencies, funding institutions and media have confirmed their attendance to the conference.
They said that around 63% or majority of the participants are foreign delegates from PEMSEA partner countries Cambodia, China, Indonesia, Japan, North Korea, Laos, South Korea, Singapore, Timor Leste and Vietnam; and non-member countries Malaysia, Thailand, United States, United Kingdom, Sweden, Switzerland, France and Australia. The rest of the participants or around 37% are local delegates, they added.
Ministers, vice ministers, director generals and other senior government officials from the 11 PEMSEA partner nations are attending the EAS Congress in full force.
The highlight of the conference is the 6th Ministerial Forum where PEMSEA member countries are expected to come up with the “Iloilo Ministerial Declaration on East Asian Region, Moving as One to Secure Healthy Oceans, People and Economies.”
This year’s EAS Congress is also a celebration of 25 years of partnerships for healthy oceans, people and economies.
The four-day conference will feature interactive sessions and dialogues called “Ocean Talk and Sea Exchange,” the PEMSEA Network of Local Governments Forum, and presentation of regional and national State of Oceans and Coasts Reports.