Blue Economy Bulletin October 2018

Welcome to the October Blue Economy Bulletin. This is the last newsletter before the EAS Congress 2018, which takes place from 27-30 November in Iloilo City, Philippines. Next month, instead of an E-update, daily bulletins will be sent out from the EAS Congress. To those attending, we look forward to seeing you there. In conjunction with the EAS Congress, PEMSEA is releasing its 25th anniversary publication. This publication serves as a compendium of PEMSEA’s integrated coastal management (ICM) activities throughout the past 25 years. Two previews of partnership hubs at the EAS Congress are included in this bulletin: one on business opportunities in the blue economy, and one on blue carbon solutions.

Both the blue economy and blue carbon are gaining increasing global attention. The Meloy Fund is seeking investment opportunities in the coastal fisheries sectors of Indonesia and the Philippines, while a study by Plymouth Marine Laboratory (PML) has found MPAs benefit a variety of economic sectors in addition to their ecological and socioeconomic benefits. Both the Meloy Fund and PML will be attending the EAS Congress 2018. The World Bank has announced a blue economy trust fund, and a framework for ocean finance was presented at the Our Ocean summit. Blue carbon is becoming increasingly important, especially given the troubling IPCC report on 1.5°C warming, although action is being taken as the GCF approved 19 new projects in developing countries and the IMO rejected attempts to soften upcoming sulfur content limits for marine fuel.

As overwhelming plastic waste flows resulted in Malaysia following China in announcing a future ban on plastic waste imports, international focus on the issue is being visited in forums such as the New Plastics Economy Global Commitment and the Platform for Accelerating the Circular Economy. The value fish and other vertebrates play in sequestering carbon in the ocean is being seen in the concept of “fish carbon“. Despite this, overfishing continues to shrink fish populations, for example in Myanmar and the Philippines.

PEMSEA’s thoughts go out to the thousands affected by the earthquake and tsunami in the city of Palu and nearby areas of Indonesia. Such events highlight the vulnerability of many living in coastal communities throughout the region and the world.

Follow the latest updates on blue economy and coastal sustainable development in East Asia on Facebook and Twitter (@PEMSEA). We welcome your feedback, and please let us know if there are other blue economy topics you would like to see in future newsletters and programs.


PEMSEA’s 25th anniversary publication

The much-awaited PEMSEA’s 25th year anniversary publication, Local Contributions to Global Sustainable Development Agenda: Case Studies in Integrated Coastal Management in the East Asian Seas Region, will be launched at the EAS Congress 2018. This publication serves as a compendium of PEMSEA’s integrated coastal management (ICM) activities throughout the past 25 years. Avail of a special introductory price during the EAS Congress 2018. To obtain the order form, click here.

Experts Convene on Ocean Investment and Business Partnership at EAS Congress

Reports estimate a USD 2.5 trillion gap in investments required to fully realize the SDGs. Private sector partnerships and investments have a critical role to play in achieving these targets. Join global and regional experts at the EAS Congress 2018 as they explore emerging investment models and opportunities to catalyze both public and private financing to build a pipeline of opportunities unlocking the ocean investment potential in the region, while examining the role of business and its needs and expectations for collaborative coastal and ocean management. Read more on the EAS Congress 2018 website.

Let’s talk about blue carbon solutions

Often underappreciated, blue carbon ecosystems carry out hundreds of billions of dollars of value in ecosystem services. Mangroves and seagrasses can hold 3-5 more carbon than tropical forests. Ocean leaders and experts will explore the value of blue carbon, especially in the context of climate change, at the EAS Congress 2018. Read more on the EAS Congress 2018 website.

Towards integrated and sustainable development in Sukabumi Regency, Indonesia: establishment of the Ciletuh-Palabuhanratu Geopark

The Ciletuh-Palabuhanratu Geopark developed from a long-term ICM program implemented by the Sukabumi Regency. Its boundaries include a diverse range of important geological, biological, and cultural sites. The geopark’s management involves representatives from government, business, and civil society, and a variety of activities support the sustainable development of local communities. Read more from PEMSEA.

PEMSEA welcomes new trainees from China, Indonesia, and Lao PDR

PEMSEA is glad to welcome five trainees from China, Indonesia, and Lao PDR to the PEMSEA Resource Facility (PRF). This is part of PEMSEA’S Traineeship Programme, which supports capacity and knowledge building regarding integrated coastal management (ICM) in the region. The PEMSEA Traineeship Programme not only helps develop trainee capacity in implementing ICM, but strengthens ties within the region. Read more from PEMSEA.

Published for PEMSEA’s 25th anniversary, this publication contains lessons from ICM implementation throughout the seas of East Asia. (PEMSEA)


The earthquake and tsunami in Indonesia have killed more than 1,400

On 28 September a magnitude 7.5 earthquake struck the city of Palu and nearby areas in northwest Sulawesi. Extensive immediate damage was compounded by a tsunami minutes later. The tsunami’s large size was unexpected and is unexplained, highlighting the difficulty in predicting such disasters. Damaged infrastructure delayed aid deliveries to an already impoverished area. Since this article was published, the death toll has increased. Read more from The Economist.

MPAs can provide an economic boost

In addition to environmental, ecological, and socioeconomic benefits, MPAs also positively impact various aspects of the blue economy. Small-scale fisheries benefit from enhanced stocks within and around MPAs, while businesses involved in tourism and recreation benefit from enhanced activity. Read more from Plymouth Marine Laboratory.

Ramsar announces first 18 Wetland Cities

18 cities around the world have received the new “RAMSAR Wetland City” accreditation, designed to promote conservation and sustainable use wetlands in and around cities. Accredited cities include Changede, Changshu, Dongying, Haerbin, Haikou, and Yinchuan in China, and Changnyeong, Inje, Jeju, and Suncheon in RO Korea. Read more from WWF.

MPAs provide benefits to various blue economy sectors, including small-scale fisheries. (PEMSEA / Jarrett Laabs)


UN shipping agency pushes ahead with tougher marine fuel rules

The IMO has rejected attempts to phase in expected restrictions on fuel sulfur content due to come into force in 2020. Furthermore, an additional ban on carrying high-sulfur fuel was adopted, which will also come into effect in 2020. Read more from Reuters.

Little-noticed treaty could help delay climate catastrophe

The 2016 Kigali amendment to the Montreal Protocol comes into force next year, reducing hydrofluorocarbon (HFC) usage. As HFCs are a short-lived climate pollutant, this amendment could have a significant impact on short-term climate change. Read more from The Guardian.

A global ban on fishing on the high seas? The time is now

The global fishing industry is unsustainable. While fishing fleets can access waters throughout the world, overall catch has been decreasing throughout the 21st century. International waters produce only 10% of global catch, and banning fishing there would provide a global refugia that would support fish populations in national waters. Read more from GreenBiz.

New limits on maritime fuel sulfur content are set to come into force in 2020. (Unsplash / Kinsey)


IPCC Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5ºC approved by governments

The IPCC released a special report into the impact of 1.5°C of global warming. It warns of potentially catastrophic changes as warming increases, and calls for 1.5°C to be the targeted limit for warming, rather than something closer to 2°C. To achieve this, “far-reaching” and “unprecedented” changes need to occur across the world in the next few years. Read more from the IPCC.

Philippine fish now more expensive, smaller

A survey of 1500 Filipino shoppers shows that they believe fish available in the market are getting smaller yet more expensive. This “fish inflation“ reflects trends in fishing catch, which decreased from 5.1 million tons in 2010 to 4.3 million tons in 2017. Read more from Rappler.

Business unusual: how “fish carbon” stabilizes our climate

The novel concept of “fish carbon” describes the interaction of marine vertebrates with the carbon system. This builds on other concepts such as “whale carbon”. These natural processes increase the removal of carbon from the atmosphere and its sequestration in the ocean. Read more from UN Environment.

Electrofishing threatens a rare dolphin-human partnership

The Irrawaddy dolphin’s of the Ayeyarwaddy River hunt cooperatively with local fisherfolk, with fisherfolk catching up to 3 times more with the dolphin’s help. However, this relationship is under threat due to illegal electrofishing, which is depleting fish populations and killing dolphins. Only 76 dolphins remain in the river, and only 65 fisherfolk know how to communicate with the dolphins. Read more from Nature.

Carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere continue to rapidly increase. (NASA)


Malaysia to curb imports of plastic waste

Malaysia’s government has announced that all plastic imports will be phased out over the next 3 years. Since China’s ban on plastic waste imports, Malaysia became the new top destination, spurring the development of an illegal waste disposal industry. Read more from Reuters.

Why China is a hub for building offshore aquaculture pens

Offshore aquaculture is a growing industry, promising a more sustainable and environmentally friendly method of aquaculture. Offshore aquaculture installations are complex structures, which need to withstand difficult environmental conditions while providing a suitable habitat for fish. China’s shipbuilding yards provide a useful location to build these structures. Read more from Undercurrent News.

Global commitment to eliminate plastic pollution at the source

The New Plastics Economy Global Commitment, signed by over 250 organizations, was unveiled at the Our Ocean Conference in Bali. The commitment includes many large multinationals as signatories, which together produce over 20% of the world’s plastic. Read more from UN Environment.

Fast-tracking a zero waste economy: more governments and business leaders commit to circular economy action

Japan, which has just hosted the second World Circular Economy Forum, has joined over 50 governments and businesses in the Platform for Accelerating the Circular Economy. Recent circular economy initiatives in Japan include the 4th Fundamental Plan for Establishing a Sound Material-Cycle Society a public-private Plastics Smart campaign. Read more from The GEF.

The global movement against plastic waste continues to gather momentum. (PEMSEA / Gaea Lei Osilao)


World Bank announces trust fund to support healthy, productive ocean

A multi-donor trust fund dedicated to the principles of SDG 14 (life below water) has been unveiled by the World Bank. Named PROBLUE, it will tackle challenges such as marine pollution, fisheries management, and coastal erosion. It is part of the World Bank’s Blue Economy program. Read more from IISD.

$22m impact fund readies for dealmaking in Indonesia, Philippines

The Meloy Fund is looking to make a series of investments in the coastal fisheries of Indonesia and the Philippines. The fund is looking to find business opportunities in sustainable fishing, and has created its own evaluation platform to track the environmental, social, and governance characteristics of companies it invests in. Read more from Undercurrent News.

Green Climate Fund invests USD 1 billion for developing country climate action, launches first replenishment

19 new projects in developing countries were approved for investment by the Green Climate Fund. These projects will receive USD 1.038 billion from the fund, which will with co-financing reach over USD 4.244 billion. This brings total approved projects in 2018 to 42, with over USD 8 billion mobilized. Read more from the Green Climate Fund.

Pioneering global framework for sustainable ocean finance launched at Our Ocean global summit

In order to support the development of the blue economy, the European Commission, WWF, the World Resources Institute, and the European Investment Bank have launched the Sustainable Blue Economy Finance Principles. These principles will create a framework for sustainable blue investment, and will become part of a sustainable blue finance initiative as part of the UN Environment Finance Initiative. Read more from UN Environment.

Investment in the sustainable blue economy is rapidly gaining traction. (PEMSEA / Gregorio B. Dantes Jr.)


EAS Congress 2018

27-30 November, Iloilo City

Fifth EAS Youth Forum

26-30 November, Iloilo City