PEMSEA E-Update for January 2019

Welcome to the first e-update of 2019! Towards the end of 2018 our Sixth East Asian Seas Congress saw delegates from throughout the region and the world congregate in Iloilo City to discuss how to secure healthy and sustainable oceans, people, and economies, and how to move as one with the global ocean agenda. Many of the proceedings from that event are now available.

Officially released during the Congress was our book Local Contributions to Global Sustainable Development Agenda: Case Studies in Integrated Coastal Management in the East Asian Seas Region. This contains case studies from throughout PEMSEA’s 25 years. Read how two cases have improved ecosystem health.

Following cleanup and rehabilitation efforts in Boracay, an ambitious attempt to clean Manila Bay was launched late this month by the Philippine Government, led by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources. Internationally, efforts to reduce pollution spurred the creation of the Alliance to End Plastic Waste, whose members are global companies from throughout the plastic supply chain.

The importance of ensuring ocean use is sustainable was highlighted by China’s huge increase in seafood consumption during 2018. Actions in the region to tackle illegal threats to biodiversity are having an impact, as China cracks a totoaba smuggling ring, while Indonesia looks to extend its anti-IUU fishing enforcement capabilities, and the Marine Stewardship Council works on potential changes to its fisheries evaluation such as taking into account shark finning.

Research on the impact of climate change continues, with new research suggesting that as the oceans reach the end of its thermal buffering warming will increase and sea level will rise 30cm this century. Current pledges fall short of what is needed to meet the Paris Agreement. In light of the growing impact of climate change, the World Bank is increasing finance for climate resilience. Lessons can be learned from the Indonesian response to the Sunda Strait tsunami, which was carried out through pre-existing capacity.

In between newsletters, we welcome you to follow us on Facebook and Twitter for the latest updates.

PEMSEA supports Manila Bay cleanup and rehabilitation

Led by PEMSEA Executive Director Aimee Gonzales, PEMSEA staff joined the solidarity walk held 27 January to support the launch of the Manila Bay Clean-up, Rehabilitation and Preservation Program (MBCRPP). In light of the Supreme Court mandamus to clean up Manila Bay, the MMCRPP aims ultimately to restore Manila Bay as a healthy and productive body of water, to the point where it is fit for use for recreational activities.

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Biodiversity Conservation through ICM

The recently PEMSEA publication Local Contributions to Global Sustainable Development Agenda: Case Studies in Integrated Coastal Management in the East Asian Seas Region contains numerous case studies showing how ICM benefits coastal and marine areas. Read about two case studies where ICM enhanced biodiversity conservation and led to an increase in ecosystem health.

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Circulate Capital calls for proposals

Circulate Capital is looking for financing opportunities in the solid waste management and recycling sectors for 2019. In particular, they are looking to increase the efficiency of collection and aggregation, galvanizing underutilized assets, and developing new technologies to aid in these activities.

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From the News section

‘Everything’s moving’: Indonesia seeks global pushback on illegal fishing
Indonesia is calling for IUU fishing to be designated as a transnational crime, to aid in efforts to combat such activities. Fishing ships used for illegal activities are often registered through complex mechanisms obscuring the identity of owners and thus reducing accountability. While Indonesia has become more active in combatting IUU fishing in its waters, which has coincided with a replenishment of fish stocks in its waters, punishments extend only to IUU fishing boat crews rather than to the ultimate beneficiaries.

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China cracks totoaba smuggling ring, hope rises for saving vaquita porpoise
China has seized over 444kg of totoaba swim bladders in a crackdown on totoaba trafficking, arresting 16 individuals in the process. Totoaba is listed under CITES Appendix I, which prohibits international trade. Black market smuggling threatens the critically endangered vaquita, of which it is thought only 12 remain. In addition to combatting smuggling, the Chinese Government is also undertaking an education campaign to reduce demand in the country.

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Climate change

World to miss 2020 climate ‘turning point’
Current attempts to combat climate change fall short of what is needed to limit global temperature rise to the 1.5°C aim given in the Paris Agreement, for which greenhouse gas emissions should peak in 2020. With current commitments the world will even exceed the Agreement’s 2°C limit. Targets likely to be missed include that of phasing out fossil fuels: in 2018 energy generated from coal burning increased, and fossil fuel subsidies remain in place in many parts of the world.

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Warming oceans likely to raise sea levels 30cm by end of century
The oceans have long moderated climate change by absorbing excess CO2, but as this buffer reaches its limits, the oceans will warm much faster than previously thought. With ocean temperatures at historical highs and expected to go higher, extreme weather, sea level rise, and changes to ocean currents will all worsen.

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GCF supports Indonesia’s energy transition with de-risking geothermal development
Indonesia relies on fossil fuels for its energy production, despite holding an estimated 40% of global geothermal energy reserves. The Indonesia Government plans to use these reserves to increase the proportion of energy produced by renewables. The GCF has released $100 million to support public and private geothermal developments in the country.

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Marine Pollution

The Alliance to End Plastic Waste launches today
30 companies have joined together to tackle plastic pollution, forming the Alliance to End Plastic Waste (APEW). These companies come from throughout the plastics supply chain, from production to recycling. The alliance aims to invest $1.5 billion over the next five years, promoting new solutions and scaling existing ones that minimize plastic use and improve the circular economy.

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DENR sets record-breaking accomplishment in SWM program
The Philippine Department of Environment and Natural Resources’ Solid Waste Management (SWM) Program exceeded its targets in 2018, with 308 out of 259 SWM plans approved by the National Solid Waste Management Commission (NSWMC). Prior years saw an average of only 46 approved annually. Other DENR actions include technical assistance regarding closure and rehabilitation of dumpsites.

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Bali plans tourist tax to tackle plastic pollution
A new $10 tax for overseas visitors to Bali has been proposed to help tackle the 3,500 tonnes of rubbish produced in Bali each day. Overseas visitors numbered nearly 5.7 million in 2017, and that figure is expected to rise. How the tax will be charged, and what programs it will support, remain under discussion.

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Ocean Governance

Responding to the Sunda Strait tsunami
The recent Sunda Strait tsunami was devastating to coastal communities there. Nonetheless, despite the damage, the Indonesian Government has been able to use existing resources and partnerships to carry out the immediate and long-term responses, and has not needed to request international support. Investments in the future should focus on resilience and preparedness, not just response.

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MSC to include ghost gear, shark finning, endangered species in standard review
The Marine Stewardship Council is reviewing its guidelines for a number of topics, including ghost fishing gear, effects on endangered and threatened species, and accessibility to small-scale fisheries. The aim is to ensure that the MSC continues to represent the best practices in sustainable fishing. Those with knowledge or interest are asked to get in touch.

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Dramatic growth in laws to protect environment, but widespread failure to enforce, finds report
A report from UN Environment looking into global changes in environmental rule of law finds that while environmental laws have spread and become entrenched in countries around the world, the effectiveness and capability of environmental agencies to enforce these laws has not risen at a commensurate rate.

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Blue economy

New Climate Bonds reports: ASEAN Green Finance State of the Market 2018 & ASEAN Green Financial Instruments Guide
Climate Bonds has released two publications into ASEAN Green Finance, a State of the Market report and a Green Financial Instruments guide. The State of the Market reports looks specifically at Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand, and Viet Nam, while the Green Financial Instruments guide highlights instruments and mechanisms available to both public and private actors in ASEAN.

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China’s seafood imports balloon by 44% to $12bn in 2018
In 2018 the increase of seafood imports to China outstripped the growth of any other food communities. Exports have increased only 3%, implying consumption is domestic. This reflects a long-standing boom in seafood purchasing among China’s growing middle class.

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World Bank Group announces $50 billion over five years for climate adaptation and resilience
The World Bank has acted to put climate resilience on the same funding footing as investment into reducing carbon emissions, reflecting the reality of a changing climate. It is intended to provide an average of $10 billion per year from 2021 to 2025. In addition to finance, support will also be provided for mainstreaming systematic management of climate risks in national policy.

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Seafood and Fisheries Emerging Technologies Conference

13-16 February, Bangkok, Thailand

Sixth World Ocean Summit

5-7 March, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates

12th Asian Fisheries and Aquaculture Forum

8-12 April, Iloilo City, Philippines

4th Global Ocean Acidification Observing Network International Workshop

14-17 April, Hangzhou, China