ASEAN has a coastline of 173,000 km with marine fish production (1998) amounting to 14% of world total, has 35% of the worlds mangrove forests, and about 30% of the coral reefs. Coastal and marine resources provide essential ecological, economic and social services in the ASEAN region. Coastal and marine waters serve as sinks for wastes from land-based sources, provide livelihood directly and indirectly to millions of people in ASEAN, provide food, maintain water cycles, regulate climatic conditions, and maintain the complex ecological balance of coastal and marine ecosystems.
Recognizing the importance of coastal and marine resources for the livelihood of ASEAN people, ASEAN Leaders resolved to foster the conservation and sustainable management of coastal and marine ecosystems. The commitment of the ASEAN Leaders is reflected in the Blueprint for the ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community (ASCC Blueprint) 2025 that shall serve as the guiding mandate of ASEAN Working Group on Coastal and Marine Environment (AWGCME).
|C.1. Conservation and Sustainable Management of Biodiversity and Natural Resources
iii. Promote cooperation for the protection, restoration, and sustainable use of coastal and marine environment, respond and deal with the risk of pollution and threats to marine ecosystem and coastal environment, in particular in respect of ecologically sensitive areas;
AWGCME aims to ensure ASEANs coastal and marine environment are sustainably managed; representative ecosystems, pristine areas, and species are protected; economic activities are sustainably managed; and public awareness of the coastal and marine environment instilled.
AWGCME will also function as a consultative forum to promote coordination and collaboration among various relevant ASEAN and other regional marine-related initiatives to ensure a well-coordinated and integrated approach to the conservation and sustainable management of the coastal and marine environment.
Completed and On-Going Projects
- The ASEAN Conference on Reducing Marine Debris in ASEAN Region, organised by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment of Thailand in coordination with the ASEAN Secretariat, was held on 22-23 November 2017 in Phuket, Thailand. The Summary of the Conference can be retrieved here.
- ASEAN-ROK Training Course for the First Responders (Level 1) and Supervisor/On Scene Commanders (Level 2) on Oil Spill Response were organised by Korea Marine Environment Cooperation (KOEM) in Busan, ROK on 14 – 18 March 2016 (Level 1 Training) and 23-27 May 2016 (Level 2 Training).
- ASEAN Mechanism to ASEAN Mechanism to Enhance Surveillance Against Illegal Desludging and Disposal of Tanker Sludge at Sea was adopted by the 11th ASEAN Ministerial Meeting on the Environment held on 29 October 2009, in Singapore.
- ASEAN adopted the ASEAN Marine Water Quality Criteria (AMWQC) in 2002. Seventeen parameters based on key pollutants were adopted as AMWQC. With funding and technical support from Australia, ASEAN published the ASEAN Marine Water Quality Criteria: Management Guidelines and Monitoring Manual in 2008. The publication serves as a regional mechanism for collective and harmonised efforts at the national level to sustain the quality of marine waters by providing management guidelines, and building monitoring and analytical capability.
- Given the cross-sectoral nature of coastal and marine environment, activities that addressed coastal and marine environment are not only managed by the AWGCME but also other relevant working groups in the environment sector and beyond (e.g agriculture, transportation, marine science, and technology). Some completed and ongoing coastal marine environment related projects, include: Publication on Marine Protected Areas in Southeast Asia was developed by the ASEAN Regional Centre for Biodiversity Conservation (now ASEAN Centre for Biodiversity) to provide a reference for policymakers, planners, academia, and park managers on the management of marine protected areas in order to save, rehabilitate and safeguard the coastal and marine resources in the region. With support from ASEAN Centre for Biodiversity, AWGCME has also undertaken the development of both offline and online interfaces for encoding of (i) Species and (ii) Protected Areas. The offline and online database is expected to facilitate information sharing among AMS.
- The ASEAN-Korea Environmental Cooperation Project (AKECOP) Phase VI titled Restoration of Degraded Terrestrial and Mangrove Ecosystems and Conservation of Biodiversity in the ASEAN Region, with support from the ASEAN-ROK Special Cooperation Fund continues to be implemented for one (1) year 2013-2014. The project aims to enhance the capacity of ASEAN Member States (AMS) in managing their forest and mangrove ecosystems by providing low carbon green livelihood for the people while rehabilitating degraded areas and maintaining wood biomass to contribute for the mitigation of climate change in the region.