MANILA, PHILIPPINES – The ASEAN Centre for Biodiversity (ACB) and Partnerships in Environmental Management for the Seas of East Asia (PEMSEA) resource facility jointly organised a virtual session on 21 October 2021, from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. to discuss the status and progress of conservation and transboundary management of coastal and marine biodiversity in the region. Entitled “Managing Networks and Transboundary Cooperation on Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) in the ASEAN Region”, the session was one of the pre-congress events of the 2021 East Asian Seas (EAS) Congress, which was subsequently hosted by the Royal Government of Cambodia from 1-2 December 2021.

Participants included the national focal points of the ASEAN Working Group on Nature Conservation and Biodiversity (AWGNCB) and ASEAN Working Group on Coastal and Marine Environment (AWGCME), as well as local, national, regional and international stakeholders and development partners working on coastal and marine conservation.

Speakers included Dr. Theresa Mundita Lim, ACB Executive Director; Dr. Ca Vu Thanh, PEMSEA Executive Committee Member; Dr. Leah Bunce Karrer, GEF Secretariat Senior Project Manager; Mr. Sopon Thongdee, AWGCME Chairperson and Director-General of Thailand’s Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment; Dr. Jose Padilla, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Regional Technical Advisor; Ms. Clarissa Arida, ACB Programme Development and Implementation Director; and Dr. Handoko Adi Susanto, UNDP/GEF Arafura and Timor Seas Ecosystem Action Phase II (ATSEA-2) Regional Project Manager.

The session underscored the various initiatives and collaborative actions on sustaining healthy coastal and marine ecosystems through transboundary cooperation. Among the topics discussed were effective management practices, capacity development tools, communication, education and public awareness, and possible collaborations among the ASEAN Member States.

Dr. Handoko Adi Susanto from ATSEA-2 Programme presenting MPA Network Design for the ATS Region during the Webinar on Managing Networks and Transboundary Cooperation on Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) in the ASEAN Region

Virtual Poster Presentations

Visual presentation on Managing Networks and Transboundary Cooperation on Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) in the ASEAN Region

Among the unique features of the session were the virtual posters presented by the proponents of various projects involved in transboundary resource management. The posters provided insights into implementing cross-border cooperation efforts and how threats concerning the management effectiveness of these MPAs have been addressed. Additionally, the virtual posters showed approaches, tools and technologies being implemented in their respective projects.

Dr. Arvin Diesmos, Director of the ACB’s Biodiversity Information Management (BIM) Unit, presented the ASEAN Biodiversity Dashboard. Presentations from ASEAN Member States on transboundary park initiatives featured virtual posters from selected ASEAN Heritage Parks (AHP), and ASEAN-Norwegian Cooperation Project on Local Capacity Building for Reducing Plastic Pollution in the ASEAN Region (ASEANO).

Original article by PEMSEA.