PEMSEA E-Update for May 2018

Welcome to the May edition of PEMSEA’s E-Update! During a month of important environmental occasions, we’re happy to announce that the official website for the EAS Congress 2018 is now available, providing more information about our event this November. For the International Day for Biological Diversity we cover the work of Enggar Wardani, a previous EAS Youth Forum participant who has been planting mangroves and educating school children in Indonesia. Also covered in this newsletter is the establishment of the Romblon Sustainable Development Council, a provincial body in the Philippines dedicated to overseeing ICM. In between newsletters, follow us on Facebook and Twitter (@PEMSEA) for the latest updates.

http://bbn.firetrench.com

The East Asian Seas (EAS) Congress 2018 website is now live!

Carrying the theme, “25 Years of Partnerships for Healthy Oceans, People and Economies: Moving as One with the Global Ocean Agenda”, the EAS Congress 2018 brings together a broad range of stakeholders including national and local governments, the United Nations system, intergovernmental organizations, bilateral and multilateral projects, international financial institutions, non-governmental organizations, civil society organizations, academic institutions, the scientific community, the private sector, and other stakeholders. Visit http://eascongress2018.pemsea.org/ to register, find more details about the event, and stay updated on the latest announcements!

d3f345ca-7b72-4e01-bc27-dfd065828781.png


International Day for Biological Diversity 2018: Youth in Action

“Celebrating 25 Years of Action for Biodiversity” was the theme of the 25th International Day for Biological Diversity. An example of such action can be seen in Enggar Yulia Wardani, a young environmental advocate from Bogor Agricultural University in Indonesia. Ms. Wardarni, a participant in the EAS Youth Forum 2015,  initiated two programs: restoring mangroves along the coasts of Subang on the island of Java, and developing environmental educational programs for elementary schools in Jakarta, Bogor, Depok, Tangerang, and Bekasi. Since these projects launched in 2017, planted mangroves have shown strong survivability due in part to the support of locals, and children from 14 elementary schools have benefitted from further knowledge of the importance of their environment.

d3f345ca-7b72-4e01-bc27-dfd065828781.png


Iloilo City to host the East Asian Seas Congress this November

Iloilo City has been chosen as the venue of the upcoming 2018 East Asian Seas Congress, to be held on November 27 to 30 at the Iloilo Convention Center (ICC). Iloilo Governor Arthur Defensor Sr. said that it is a great privilege to be the host city for the upcoming Congress. Similarly, Iloilo Mayor Jose Espinosa III expressed that they are “deeply honored that our beloved city has been chosen as the venue for this momentous event”, adding “aside from the different Congress events, get ready to be welcomed with warm Ilonggo hospitality, to indulge in our delicious cuisine, and to immerse in our rich culture.” Known as the “Heart of the Philippines,” Iloilo City has successfully hosted international assemblies such as the 2015 APEC High-Level Policy Dialogue on Food Security and the Blue Economy and the 2017 ASEAN Summit meetings in the past.

d3f345ca-7b72-4e01-bc27-dfd065828781.png


Celebrating the oceans of the Philippines this May

This May was the Philippines’ 19th annual Month of the Ocean, an occasion started in 1999 following the UN’s International Year of the Ocean in 1998. The event is held to promote awareness and sustainability of the ecological and economic benefits of a healthy ocean. During this month, Philippine government agencies are tasked with implementing activities that highlight the importance of the conservation, protection, and sustainable management of the rich coastal and ocean resources of the Philippines. The theme for this May was “Together for Our Reefs”.

d3f345ca-7b72-4e01-bc27-dfd065828781.png


Creation of the Romblon Sustainable Development Council

The Provincial Council of the Philippines’ archipelagic province of Romblon passed the rigorous Romblon Environment Code in 2013, aimed at ensuring the preservation of Romblon’s diverse environment. Among other stipulations, this legislation called for the establishment of a body to oversee integrated coastal management (ICM) efforts across the province. To meet this aim, an inter-agency multi-sectoral coordinating mechanism called the Romblon Sustainable Development Council (RSDC) was created to coordinate action between municipalities, consolidate data, support MPA management, assess biodiversity and promote ecotourism development.

d3f345ca-7b72-4e01-bc27-dfd065828781.png

aefb2146-2dbc-458a-8ad3-493c8b537e20.png
Biodiversity

First increase in Mekong River Irrawaddy dolphins in 20 years
A survey of Irrawaddy dolphins in the Mekong River has shown an increase in the population for the first time since surveys began in 1997, going from 80 in 2015 to 92 in 2017. This reversal of a long decline is attributed to improved enforcement against illegal fishing and growing awareness in riverside communities.

d3f345ca-7b72-4e01-bc27-dfd065828781.png

Mother of cod: we’re fishing exactly the wrong fish, scientists warn
Current fisheries models usually assume fish reproductive output scales isometrically with size (eg. a fish twice as large as another will produce twice the eggs). However, fish reproductive output scales allometrically, meaning catching one large fish will have a disproportionate impact compared to catching two half the size. Any fishing regimes using isometric assumptions will grossly overestimate sustainability, putting all fisheries at risk of overexploitation.

d3f345ca-7b72-4e01-bc27-dfd065828781.png

Scientists highlight 9 potentially new reef fish species off West Papua
Surveys in protected MPAs within Berau Bay and Nusalasi Van den Bosch Bay, in the Indonesian district of Fakfak, revealed a possible 9 new species of fish. These findings highlight the diversity of the area. However, the surveys also found evidence of dynamite fishing, which damaged the coral reefs that cover half these MPAs.

d3f345ca-7b72-4e01-bc27-dfd065828781.png

Wildly optimistic: report predicts a healthy future for biodiversity
A recent paper, From Bottleneck to Breakthrough: Urbanization and the Future of Biodiversity Conservation, presents a possible positive outlook for conservation. It suggests that global demographic and economic trends are, for the first time, moving in a direction that would allow not just preventing further loss, but also facilitating environmental recovery.

d3f345ca-7b72-4e01-bc27-dfd065828781.png

Climate Change

New study reveals that mangrove soils hold 6.4 billion tons of carbon globally
At 6.5 billion tons, carbon stored in the soil of mangrove forests demonstrates their importance as a carbon sink. Unfortunately, mangrove deforestation, predominantly in Southeast Asia, causes an estimated 122 million tons of carbon emissions annually. Protecting and restoring mangroves is an extremely viable component of future carbon management.

d3f345ca-7b72-4e01-bc27-dfd065828781.png

Climate change could destroy even the ocean’s most pristine parks
Most tropical Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) could become thermally unsustainable within three decades. MPAs elsewhere are at risk of become increasingly anoxic. Only 3.5% of current MPAs are expected to avoid overheating and anoxia under currently climate trends.

d3f345ca-7b72-4e01-bc27-dfd065828781.png

What went down at 2018 Bonn climate talks
The two week long 2018 Bonn Climate Change Conference highlighted international disagreement in the attempt to create rules for the implementation of the Paris Agreement by 2020. Contentious issues include whether developed and developing countries should be differentiated, and how developed countries will finance aid to developing countries.

d3f345ca-7b72-4e01-bc27-dfd065828781.png

Marine Pollution

Another way to recycle plastic
It has been discovered that mealworms, already known to be able to digest polystyrene, are even more comfortable eating the more common polyethylene. Mealworms that are kept on a plastic diet have different gut microbiomes than mealworms on more traditional diets, suggesting bacteria enabling them to digest plastic could adapt to make the mealworms specialized plastic eaters.

d3f345ca-7b72-4e01-bc27-dfd065828781.png

Action needed to reduce toxic contamination from ocean plastics
In addition to harming marine life directly, plastics carry toxic contaminants that are a danger to wildlife and humans after they enter the food chain. Of particular concern are chemicals that disrupt endocrine systems, which damages thyroid function and increases cancer incidence. Changing plastic production to remove such contamination is a critical need in waste management.

d3f345ca-7b72-4e01-bc27-dfd065828781.png

The challenges of going zero waste in the Philippines
The zero waste movement is growing in the Philippines. This is despite difficulty caused by the ubiquity of plastics in Philippine life. While national laws to regulate plastic have been proposed, none have been approved by the legislature. In a culture where single-use plastic is normalized, zero waste practitioners see improved education as the key requirement for a waste-free Philippines.

d3f345ca-7b72-4e01-bc27-dfd065828781.png

Ocean Governance

UN analyzes ocean conference commitments
Voluntary commitments made during and after the UN Ocean Conference last year number over 1400. They include financial pledges totalling US$25.5 billion and promises to protect another 2.85% of the ocean with MPAs. Topics needing more engagement include fisheries, ocean acidification, and new technology.

d3f345ca-7b72-4e01-bc27-dfd065828781.png

How to save the high seas
International waters, which lie outside of national jurisdiction, cover two thirds of the oceans. Negotiations are ongoing to develop a treaty for biodiversity conservation in these globally shared areas. Experts say that to ensure the sustainability of vulnerable ecosystems in these waters, 30% of the high seas will need to be designated as no-take MPAs, a system of environmental assessments is needed, and a robust monitoring and enforcement mechanism is required.

d3f345ca-7b72-4e01-bc27-dfd065828781.png

A boon for birds: once overlooked, China’s mudflats gain protections
Intertidal mudflats around the yellow sea are crucial habitats for migrating birds, yet as much as two-thirds of this habitat has been lost to development. This has caused a corresponding drop in migratory bird populations. Under the policy of developing an “ecological civilization”, China recently instituted reforms to protect these habitats, and has nominated 14 shorebird hotspots as world heritage sites.

d3f345ca-7b72-4e01-bc27-dfd065828781.png

Blue Economy

It pays to invest in biodiversity
The Aichi Biodiversity targets, established as part of the Convention on Biological Diversity, aim to halt biodiversity loss by 2020. In 2014 the estimated cost to achieve these was US$150-440 billion per year, which is only US$20 to US$60 per person, or less than 0.01% of global GDP. Furthermore, doing so preserves the US$140 billion annual value of ecosystem services.

d3f345ca-7b72-4e01-bc27-dfd065828781.png

The “Blue Economy”: a sustainable future for the ocean
A holistic picture of how human economies interact with the ocean is necessary to ensure a sustainable future for the oceans. Long-term impact investing, through means such as green bonds, is needed for the global economy to transition to more sustainable models. Such investment holds great promise, as the blue economy is predicted to grow faster than the economy at a whole.

d3f345ca-7b72-4e01-bc27-dfd065828781.png

Urgent need for better assessment of risk to human wellbeing posed by ocean change
The global insurance sector is unprepared to deal with the effects of climate change on the oceans. Changes to both the environment and to industry bring new challenges and opportunities. Existing instances of creative insurance, such as coral reef insurance in Mexico, provide examples of the positive possibilities better risk management could bring.

d3f345ca-7b72-4e01-bc27-dfd065828781.png

EVENTS

SeaWeb Seafood Summit

18-21 June, Barcelona, Spain

WORLD CONGRESS OF ENVIRONMENTAL AND RESOURCE ECONOMISTS

25-29 June, Gothenburg, Sweden

ICLEI World Congress 2018

19-22 June, Montréal, Canada

WORLD CITIES SUMMIT

8-12 July, Singapore

International Marine Conservation Congress

24-29 June, Kuching, Malaysia

Singapore International Water Week

8-12 July, Singapore

events2.pnghttps://www.facebook.com/pemsea/ events1.pnghttps://www.twitter.com/pemsea/ events1.pnghttps://linkedin.com/company/pemsea