Blue Economy Bulletin August 2019

Welcome to PEMSEA’s August Blue Economy Bulletin. This month PEMSEA looks at two coastal jurisdictions which lie along the seas of East Asia and are facing the challenge of ensuring development and growth occurs in a sustainable manner. Preah Sihanouk in Cambodia uses integrated coastal management (ICM) to conserve its environment and develop alternative livelihoods. Indonesia’s Surabaya undertook a variety of complementary measures on waste management to tackle a daunting waste overload.

Other examples of sustainable coastal development can be found throughout the seas of East Asia. Kitakyushu in Japan faced development challenges half a century ago, and is now considered an eco city. The Philippine island of Samal has turned clams from a food source to an ecotourism attraction. Ca Mau in Viet Nam has seen the growth of organic farms that alternate between shrimp and rice in a manner that needs few potentially harmful chemicals. Singapore is preparing for a future with higher sea levels, expecting to spend over SGD 100 billion over the next century.

Climate change and the resultant rise in sea levels will mean that adaptation and mitigation will be needed on coasts around the world. Another consideration for coastal planning is land tenure, which can have significant impacts on how a community changes as it switches between economic models. Away from the coasts, ongoing negotiations look to establish regulations for managing international waters and for mining on the ocean floor.

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.


ICM in Preah Sihanouk Province, Cambodia, a member of the PEMSEA Network of Local Governments

Preah Sihanouk Province’s diverse coastline and islands include both the country’s only deep-sea port and the country’s first marine natural reserve. To ensure development is sustainable as the economy of the province grows, the Provincial Government of Preah Sihanouk implements the ICM framework for the sustainable development of the province’s coastal and marine areas. Read more from PEMSEA.

Transforming a city: Surabaya’s innovations in waste management

Indonesia’s second largest city, Surabaya, faced a number of challenges and threats to the environment and public health brought about by rapid urbanization with economic and population growth outstripping the development of waste management infrastructure. Answers involving innovative waste management and ecological restoration solutions have reshaped the city. Read more from PEMSEA.

Recruiting: Regional Project Manager and Regional Biodiversity Specialist

PEMSEA is looking for a Regional Project Manager and a Regional Biodiversity Specialist for the ATSEA-2 project. This project is the second phase of the GEF-financed, UNDP-supported ATSEA program, and is designed to enhance regional collaboration and coordination in the Arafura and Timor Seas (ATS) region. Both positions will be based in Bali, Indonesia. The deadline for applications is 6 September 2019. Read more from PEMSEA.

Preah Sihanouk is using integrated coastal management (ICM) to, among other aims, ensure fishing is sustainable. (PEMSEA)


A model city in Japan is helping Asian cities go green

Japan’s city of Kitakyushu faced critical pollution problems in the mid-20th century, with the waters of Dokai Bay being almost completely deoxygenated. Cooperation between government, industry, academe, and civil society transformed the city into a model “eco city”. It now cooperates with other cities to share its expertise. Read more from UN Environment.

The role of land tenure in livelihood transitions from fishing to tourism

Transitioning from fishing to ecotourism is a common aim for vulnerable coastal communities. However, such a shift could have unintended consequences for vulnerable individuals. Land tenure in local communities should be an important consideration during economic transition. Read more from Maritime Studies.

Kitakyushu’s Dokai Bay was at one point so polluted it was linked to the health problems of local residents. (Historian~commonswiki / Wikimedia Commons)


the Twenty-fifth Annual Session of the International Seabed Authority

The International Seabed Authority is currently drafting regulations for deep sea mining. In its most recent session, calls for strong environmental protections and greater transparency were advanced. A strategic plan covering 2019-2023 is under consideration. Read more from IISD.

High Hopes for the High Seas: beyond the package deal towards an ambitious treaty

The United Nations is currently undertaking negotiations covering marine areas beyond national jurisdiction (ABNJ). Aspects under consideration include genetic resources, area-based management, environmental impact assessments, capacity building, and technology transfer. The negotiations present an important opportunity to ensure the sustainable use of the world’s oceans. Read more from IDDRI.

Negotiations are ongoing about managing the resources within both international waters and the seabed below. (Ilyuza Mingazova / Unsplash)


A Philippine community that once ate giant clams now works to protect them

Giant clams were once a source of food for the communities on the island of Samal. With their numbers declining, a clam sanctuary aimed at restoring the population was established in 2001. Although there was initial resistance in local communities, the sanctuary is now an ecotourism site supporting local livelihoods. Read more from Mongabay.

Climate change is a remorseless threat to the world’s coasts

Global sea levels have increased by around 3mm per year since 1993. They are expected to rise at least 40cm this century. With some of this rise set to happen even if all greenhouse gas emissions cease, there is a critical need to develop mitigation and adaptation measures in coastal areas around the world. Read more from The Economist.

Giant clams can serve as tourist attractions. (Nhobgood / Wikimedia Commons)


Ca Mau expands use of advanced farming techniques

Farmers in Ca Mau, Viet Nam, have been using new farming methods to produce shrimp and rice that meet organic standards. The same fields are used to produce rice in the rainy season and shrimp in the dry season, improving output for each region. Rice varieties chosen are salt resistant, to protect against increasing salinity in coastal areas. Read more from Vietnam Plus.

Japanese seafood industry turns to AI in response to labor shortage

New artificial intelligence systems have been developed to enhance the efficiency of fishing. In aquaculture, one new system can use camera footage to determine the weight of fish, while another monitors the environment to optimize feed delivery. In wild fisheries, a new system helps fishing boats maximize yield while avoiding overfishing. Read more from Undercurrent News.

Inaugural inclusive business forum in Cambodia develops strategy to strengthen policy environment

An inaugural business forum in Phnom Penh brought together government, industry, and other stakeholders. It aimed to promote inclusive business, combining economic growth with poverty alleviation and other aspects of the sustainable development goals. Cambodia has a number of businesses with innovative inclusive models, and is the 3rd ASEAN country to develop a strategic framework to promote inclusive business. Read more from UNESCAP.

Ca Mau lies on the southern side of the Mekong River delta. (Genghiskhanviet / Wikimedia Commons)


Protecting Singapore from rising sea levels could cost S$100 billion

The Singaporean Prime Minister estimates that securing Singapore against rising sea levels could cost over SGD 100 billion (USD 72 billion) over the next century. Singapore has already changed its planning regulations to require critical infrastructure to be built further above sea level. It is also increasing investment in flood resilience. Read more from Reuters.

How Climate Change Could Trigger the Next Global Financial Crisis

Climate change is expected to have wide-reaching effects across a range of industries. An estimated one-third of equity and fixed-income assets globally relate to resource extraction or carbon intensive industries. A strong link between carbon emissions and GDP growth leaves economies exposed to shocks relating to decarbonization. Read more from The Atlantic.

Singapore is highly vulnerable to sea level rise. (Peter Nguyen / Unsplash)



24-25 October, Oslo, Norway


11-12 November, Tokyo, Japan


20-22 November, Paris, France