On Tuesday morning 18th August 2020, members of ATSEA’s Regional Steering Committee (RSC) attended the Intersessional RSC Meeting via zoom video conference call. The meeting was called upon to discuss the mid-year progress of the programme in each working unit and country.

Representatives from each unit had the opportunity to present their progress on the project to date. Starting with the National Coordination Unit (NCU) of Indonesia who have been preparing towards an established National Inter-Ministerial Committee (NIMC) and carrying out studies, assessments and monitoring, which the majority should be implemented in the third quarter of 2020. Followed by the NCU of Timor-Leste who have already established an NIMC and are preparing the implementation of studies and assessments in the months to come. Finally the Regional Project Management Unit (RPMU) have been successful in keeping the work on track by hiring consultants to conduct regional profiling and assessments and establishing their online presence.

In lieu of ATSEA-2’s project implementation in Papua New Guinea, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Bangkok Regional Hub (BRH) will organise a meeting with UNDP Indonesia, UNDP Papua New Guinea, Partnerships in Environmental Management for the Seas of East Asia (PEMSEA) and National Fisheries Authority (NFA) of Papua New Guinea to discuss the most viable option to move the programme forward.

Meeting participants commended the success of the event and the progress of the project as a whole despite the social hindrance caused by the Covid-19 global pandemic. In light of this situation, the annual RSC Meeting scheduled for November 2020 would be held virtually instead of the initial location in Dili, Timor-Leste.

The 3-hour meeting concluded with an understanding that all working units would continue to work closely, to share knowledge and information to ensure a continued success in implementing the programme objectives.

ATSEA-2’s Intersessional RSC Meeting was attended by Dr. Andrew Check as Assistant Director of the Government of Australia – Department of Agriculture, Water, and Environment, Prof. Sjarief Widjaja as Chairman of the Agency for Marine and Fisheries Research and Human Resource, Ministry of Marine Affairs and Fisheries (MMAF) of Indonesia, Mr. Celestino da Cunha Baretto as National Project Director of ATSEA-2 Timor-Leste, as well as government and ministry representatives from the ATS countries. Other participants were implementing partners UNDP (also representing the Global Environmental Facility), PEMSEA and the working units of ATSEA-2.